In-fighting in the bitcoin land continues as the ecosystem remains unable to reach a decision on scalability with the two options on the table staying at an unchanged level of support.
Segregated Witnesses (Segwit), a proposal by Blockstream that is mainly intended to facilitate ripple like second layers, stands at around 30% while Bitcoin Unlimited, which just increases maxblocksize as suggested by Nakamoto, stands at around 40%.
The stalemate, thus, remains a stalemate, with the latest intervention being by Gavin Andresen, one of – if not perhaps the – first bitcoin developer after Nakamoto who gave Andresen responsibility over the project prior to suddenly leaving.
Andresen publicly stated that “Making Greg a committer was a huge mistake.” A committer being one of the five bitcoin developers who can send code to the main, live, client, and signifies some level of seniority or greater experience/knowledge.
At the beginning, only Nakamoto was a committer. Once he left, only Andresen was a committer. Andresen, however, was never asked whether he wanted the leadership, according to Mike Hear, a former bitcoin developer. So he spread out responsibility by giving commit access to four other individuals.
They being Jeff Garzik, Pieter Wuille, Gregory Maxwell and the current maintainer Wladimir Van der Laan, as well as Andresen himself who back then was the maintainer, the individual who is ultimately responsible for sending code to live production.
Andresen’s comment was made in response to a statement by Maxwell who said that Mike Hearn “was never significantly involved with the project.” Maxwell further says “it is a flat out lie to suggest that today’s major contributors weren’t here more or less all along doing the bulk of the work and setting the bulk of the direction.”
In reply, Andresen stated that “Greg is wrong about Mike’s role. I invited him to be a committer before Greg; Mike declined. Making Greg a committer was a huge mistake.”
Mike Hear was one of the earliest bitcoin developer, along with Andresen and Garzik. He developed a method for users to connect to the network without requiring a full node, but only a simple wallet software, after he left Google to work on bitcoin.
He was smeared by, mainly, Peter Todd, who often took his statements out of context, probably in preparation for the scalability debate. Todd’s tactics were successful. Hearn left to work for one of the first blockchain consortiums, R3, where Todd was a consultant before Hearn joined.
Andresen was next to be forced out, with his commit removed. It remains unclear who exactly removed it, but it was Peter Todd who made the announcement that bitcoin’s first maintainer no longer has commit access.
Garzik has been shunned out too, with his commit also removed without any public reason given nor any public statement of who exactly removed it.
Thus, some suggest bitcoin has been hijacked by new developers who largely became active after Andresen, Garzik and Hearn steered bitcoin to its first great success in 2013 when most became aware of the currency following its price rise to around $1,000.
Maxwell, in particular, who became active around June 2012, has stated he proved decentralized consensus is impossible. Luke Dashjr, who became active around January 2011, has stated he believes in absolute monarchy, the kind we had 500 years ago. Peter Todd, who became active around May 2012, is a History of Arts graduate.
The three probably led what some believe was a hijacking of the bitcoin project with the aim of completely transforming the protocol from peer to peer into peer to bitbanks, or as they now call them to centralized hubs.
Their attempt has met huge resistance, with the majority of the decided mining hashrate suggesting they are strongly against segwit and in favor of Bitcoin Unlimited.
However, two miners in particular, Bitfury and BTCC, are supporting segwit. A former employee of BTCC, Samson Mow, who loudly supported segwit while he was working there, has been hired by Blockstream. The relationship between Bitfury and Blockstream is not clear.
As these two miners continue to support segwit, despite wide objection, the protocol stalemate continues with fees now rising to $5. The debate, therefore, consumes much of bitcoin’s community, but many have just left for Ethereum, which has added smart contracts and largely follows Nakamoto’s vision.