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No Governance for Old Men: Coordinating Protocol Upgrades in the Future

Sun, 23 Jul 2017 09:21:26 GMT

By Jon MatonisBitcoin Magazine Friday, July 21, 2017 https://bitcoinmagazine.com/articles/op-ed-no-governance-old-men-coordinating-protocol-upgrades-future/ Let’s not deploy the nuclear option for every protocol upgrade. Make no mistake. We are witnessing a high-stakes protocol standards battle play out in real time. And it is just as important as last century’s battle for the internet’s TCP standard. Current capacity constraints on the Bitcoin blockchain have brought us to this impasse. The Bitcoin protocol, as the dominant value transfer “network effect” leader, battles against upstart cryptocurrency protocols like Ethereum and Monero. But it also battles with itself as divergent forces push for either on-chain scaling or off-chain scaling, hard fork or soft fork, SegWit transaction format or original transaction format. The so-called nuclear option is a prolonged, contested hard fork of the Bitcoin blockchain because it risks splitting the network into two competing chains, which is to no one’s benefit. Therefore, it should be reserved as a planned formality or a last resort for extreme situations rather than a perpetual form of “live” dispute resolution. With so much individual and institutional wealth essentially stored on the Bitcoin blockchain, it can be extremely disconcerting when others try to “fork” around with your money. Chronic forking is not synonymous with wealth management and prudent capital accumulation, which require ...