Bitcoin’s biggest challenges

I have been participating in the Bitcoin ecosystem for the past 2.5 years, and it has become clear to me that there are several persistent and serious issues with Bitcoin from an organizational perspective. While many people are not familiar with who I am, they may be familiar with the btcsuite project, which I finance entirely by myself and contribute to via the developers I work with. In early 2013, after one of my developers had a less-than-pleasant interaction with the Core developers regarding porting bitcoind to OpenBSD, I decided that making an alternative from-scratch implementation of Bitcoin would be an interesting project and benefit the Bitcoin community by offering an alternative to the Bitcoin Core (BC) monoculture. Having rebuilt the Bitcoin infrastructure from the ground up on my own dime, I have a rather unique perspective on Bitcoin despite being late to the game. I have identified what I consider to be several persistent and severe problem areas with Bitcoin: project governance, funding development and proof-of-work miners having too much power.bitcoin biggest challenges

Project governance

As many of you are well aware, Bitcoin has been suffering from a long-running clash of views about whether to increase the maximum block size or not. Informal surveys and content on twitter indicate the majority of businesses and miners support increasing the block size, but a majority of BC developers oppose this increase. There are at least 2 less-than-ideal resolutions to this argument:

  • Allow BC developers to force the maximum block size to stay at 1 MB, effectively vetoing the community.
  • Create a fork of BC that allows larger blocks, and have enough miners and businesses switch to force the block size increase, effectively vetoing the BC developers.

Neither of these options are very appealing, and more importantly than any resolution that is eventually reached, it reflects a very real crisis in governance. In order to better understand the current crisis, it is worthwhile to quickly recap the history of Bitcoin governance since it was introduced in 2009.
Continue reading

Btcsuite: Announcing Btcd 0.12.0 Release



We’ve just released btcd version 0.12.0 beta! It is a highly recommended updated since it contains code to ensure new upcoming network rules are properly enforced (CLTV), new protocol enhancements, various optimizations, and several other enhancements.


In addition to announcing the new release, the purpose of this blog is to discuss a few points of the release in more detail. For those of you who are simply looking for the release notes and updated Windows binaries, they are located here.

The most important changes this post will cover are:

  • Enforce LowS signatures for transaction relay
  • New flag for controlling the minimum relay fee
  • Bloom filter service bit support (BIP0111)
  • New signature validation cache
  • Developer-centric changes:
    • Refactored peer package
    • New options when querying address index
  • Under development

Continue reading