The young ones. Bitcoin went mainstream this May 2017. It was during that month that for the first time ever, bitcoin trended in top ten both on twitter and google searches.
Ethereum had reached all time high. Bitcoin too. Artists, and some coders, were at the Ethereal Summit. Businesses and some coders were at Consensus 2017.
It is at the latter conference were businesses and miners met to try again what they had tried before and failed.
Small blockers had risen, threatening a chain-split. Big blockers had risen, threatening their own chain-split. A campaign was on. UASF, UAHF.
Bitcoin CEOs replied to the masses by telling them they will have both, segwit and a base blocksize increase. In effect repeating what they had tried before and failed just a year earlier.
Yet, while they gave small blockers exactly what they wanted, big blockers had to gamble because segregated witnesses (segwit) would activate first. Then, three months later, the base blocksize increase was planed to perhaps activate.
The big blocker CEOs, which really amounted to most of the CEOs in attendance, agreed to it. Just as they agreed to the same exact “consensus” a year earlier and had seen the big block aspect reneged upon.
The grassroots were convinced the base blocksize increase would not go ahead, with Amaury Séchet, a bitcoin developer, proclaiming a chain-split this summer.
“My feeling was we reached the point of being confident enough maybe 2-4 weeks before Aug 1,” Freetrader, a bitcoin developer who had been working on a chain-split for a year or more, told Trustnodes.
“The UAHF effort had gained visibility, and we were sort of on track with development. I don’t think the thought of stopping crossed anyone’s mind anymore then, and there were no signals from miners that they were going to be unsupportive of the fork,” he added.
And yet, at the time, almost all CEOs were taken by surprise. The chain-split hardfork was a contingency plan by Bitmain in reply to the User Activated Soft Fork (UASF) of segwit. It would go ahead only if UASF did.
Now they had reached an agreement. Segwit was to activate, then the blocksize three months after. Thus, in their mind, the User Activated Hard Fork (UAHF) had been called off.
The problem was, no one believed them. They had failed so many times before to increase capacity, making promises and promises which they had not kept, users had simply lost trust and confidence. Moreover, that question of why not segwit with a base blocksize increase at the same time kept coming up.
“We did not see any compromise from Core on the issue of block size increase during the last several years, and wanted to do something constructive to overcome our frustration with the capacity limits and forced fee market policy applied to Bitcoin by the Core side,” Freetrader said. So a project Séchet had been working on for quite some time was to go ahead.
“BTCfork started out developing one MVF (minimal viable fork) based on a fork of BU code. So-called MVF-BU,” Freetrader says, before adding:
“I later started developing a MVF-Core version with exact same forking functionality, but based on Core. The thought behind this was initially that it might be safer (BU has a lot of new code that wasn’t so mature at the time) and also attractive to Core node operators to run a fork version derived and closely aligned with “their” preferred client flavor.
While MVF development happened, BU started to get a shot at doing its majority (EB/AD) fork, which maxed out at about 45% hashpower I think.
During the late phases, it got network attacked, which just showed that having a big block client based closely on Core would have been good to defend the big block network.
However, as BU got its chance, I shifted my development efforts to it, stalling the MVF development (which was really just me and another volunteer dev).
After BU’s majority fork attempt essentially didn’t pan out, the whole Extension Blocks thing came up. At the time Amaury had already started ABC based on a more modern version of Core (0.14 instead of 0.12 for the MVF). So the MVF’s were outdated a bit.
I liked the concept of an Adjustable Blocksize Cap better than the fixed 2MB increase proposed for the MVFs. So I decided to join up with Amaury and switch my dev efforts to ABC.”
Séchet, a former Facebook developer, received funding from Bitmain, but in the run-up to the August 1st chain-split fork, Bitmain was cold.
They were not an exception. Coinbase, a long standing supporter of bigger blocks, proclaimed at first they would not distribute the chain-split coins at all. After accusations of theft, they changed their tune, but still have not distributed Bitcoin Cash, with it expected sometime in January 2018.
We now know that likely wasn’t due to any operational matters. Regarding the upcoming segwit2x fork this November 16th, they stated they will distribute both segwit2x coins and segwit1x coins instantly.
Their lack of equal courtesy to Bitcoin Cash, therefore, may suggest it had less to do with mechanics and more to do with their own views.
Nor were these two the exception. Bitcoin Cash found a cold reception among most CEOs, but it had the people, and some in a position to have strong influence supported it.
Just days after bitcoin developers declared in no uncertain terms the Bitcoin Cash fork, through the Bitcoin ABC client, was to go ahead, ViaBTC announced bitcoin futures.
BCH futures reached a high of $900. The news reached almost all bitcoiners. The first chain-split fork of the oldest digital currency was underway and this was the first time most of the CEOs, influencers, movers and shakers, had heard about it.
They were stunned. All the big blocker opponents could do was try and cause confusion by calling it bcash instead of Bitcoin Cash and by trying to change the then ticker of BCC to BCH.
The more astute big blockers even then argued that the ticker naming should be conceded, while retaining the Bitcoin Cash aspect. It’s exactly what happened, and with hindsight, the small blockers might have even aided. Because they were getting Bitcoin Cash too.
“We (ABC devs and the devs from other non-Core clients) stand united behind an effort to preserve the original vision laid out in the Bitcoin whitepaper, and to take steps to scale Bitcoin so that it can be used by many people,” Freetrader says.
They now have the opportunity to do so. Forged under fire, like bitcoin itself, with no permission from anyone else, guided instead by that intellectual desire to provide direct peer-t0-peer value exchange, Bitcoin Cash was born.
And with it, the bitcoin rebels. The soft spoken thinkers who disusage hats for words and code. Who can see transparent glass in mirror halls. Who wear that proclamation of vives in numeris and in maths alone we place our trust.
Not meetings of CEOs, nor PR parlors, but the bible of Hayek and Nakamoto’s words.