A new client for Bitcoin Cash has been launched to thunderous applause with it announced by an anonymous coder that goes by Freetrader who decided to call the client Bitcoin Cash Node.
There are no differences whatever between this BCN client and the current main BCH client, ABC, except that it removes the code that funds devs from 5% of block rewards.
“We commit to maintaining the alternate client for at least one year and cooperating with the wider ecosystem in a transparent process,” Freetrader says.
It’s not clear who is funding this client for one year, but an interesting new player has donated 100 BCH, worth a variable rate but currently $36,000, to this new BCN client.
ASICseer lists Alexander Levin, Jr as Chief Executive Officer. This name you might perhaps know from the ProgPow saga as it was Levin who first raised allegations of the ProgPow team being in cahoots with Nvidia.
The Github of another listed name by Asicseer – Yann St. Arnaud – shows focus on eth, with this being more a kind of software for asics miners.
“ASICseer.com renews its continued support of Bitcoin.com as the default pool in our software and pledges 100 BCH to the Bitcoin Cash Node developers,” someone purportedly from this company publicly said.
That was in reply to Roger Ver stating: “Looks like we now have the right software to run for the May 15th upgrade!”
The BTC.TOP miner, a competitor to Ver, listed Ver as one of the miners agreeing to fund devs through the then 12.5% of the block reward.
Ver’s employees however almost immediately expressed either doubt or opposition to the proposal, with Ver then stating he did not “sign” the original proposal which might technically be correct but perhaps not in spirit.
At first appearance, and on the surface, it seems Ver is basically funding this client which, if that is the case, creates a considerable danger for BCH.
That’s because Ver owns a BCH wallet, prominent website, mining pool, its main public discussion space, and even an exchange if we’re not mistaken in addition to a “news” arm.
If, even in appearance, he is now to basically own development, then BCH becomes more a one man project.
Freetrader is perhaps best known for his work on a btcfork client that aimed to chain-split bitcoin many months before August 1st 2017.
That client didn’t quite launch, with Amaury Sechet of ABC eventually coming along and so forking. Freetrader joined him.
From his github it seems he was fairly active during that 2017 period, but then drifts off code wise, while still participating in the Gold Collapsing, Bitcoin Up discussion space, the then nucleus of grassroots big blockers who launched a somewhat amateur Bitcoin Unlimited client that never took off where miners are concerned, in part because of numerous bug exploits, but got close to being adopted at the time.
Quite interestingly some accuse Freetrader of being Gregory Maxwell, the chief politician of Bitcoin Core.
We won’t pass any judgment on those accusations because we don’t quite know on what basis they are made, but on the surface it is perhaps best to classify Freetrader as a mercantilist.
Ver, The Power Hungry?
It is also perhaps best to see Freetrader as a minor player, with what is occurring currently in BCH seemingly created or led by Roger Ver.
Ver’s failure to step in after BCH’s “traditional” financial support collapsed with the temporary ousting of Bitmain’s Jihan Wu appears to have led to a situation where BCH devs basically had to “beg” Ver to provide the necessary funding.
Not least because Ver does not miss the slightest of opportunity to propagate his companies in every two words he utters, or to plaster the public discussion space, that he somehow took over, with his own businesses.
Yet Ver’s response to the dev funding problem appears to have been an F U, in addition to now with this new client raising two fingers in what one should think is considerable naivety at best.
Because few have forgotten that time when Ver made one of the chief opponents of onchain scaling, Btcdrake, as close to top mod of r/btc. A mod that briefly went into a censorship rampage until the backlash reached the level where the sub was almost no more.
Nor have they forgotten that time when Ver stood with Craig Wright up to the very last minute, until his position became completely untenable and so he switched sides.
Now he wants to give BCH to amateur coders, some of who with him backed Craig Wright to the last minute, presumably because of utter naivety.
And when one looks at the root of contention – the decision of the then all BCH supporting miners to fund devs – and sees the opposition, one does have to wonder what on earth happened to this community that seems unable to circle the wagon.
Not necessarily because one can’t see legitimate criticisms or disagreements, but because one can’t see engagement in solving problems.
What we can see instead is an existential crisis for Bitcoin Cash, and as unpopular as what follows might be, we have the privilege of not being VC funded or under any orders, so can say sufficient evidence has seemingly accumulated to prove these words correct:
“I don’t believe a second, compatible implementation of Bitcoin will ever be a good idea. So much of the design depends on all nodes getting exactly identical results in lockstep that a second implementation would be a menace to the network.”
That’s not to say different clients can not co-exist and even prosper together, but to do so they might need to appreciate a certain understanding whereby there is effectively no competition between the clients.
That is to say if two clients provide an identical function, and if either of them gains an advantage by being used more – such as power through dictating to miners and businesses – then as far as experience tells so far, it will end up being one client due to natural competition.
If however these two clients do not quite gain an advantage by being used more, as conceptually in eth 2.0 where you gain a disadvantage as a client if you are used more, then perhaps this natural competition is removed from the equation, with the word “perhaps” used here because we don’t quite yet have the data from experience.
In BCH it is more like the former than the latter. Two or more clients providing identical code from experience will necessarily lead to non-arguments arguments which are not necessary and that they are not necessary is clearly shown by the fact a client can be copy pasted and newly launched at the point of irreconcilability.
That is what has been shown here, but in a way that betrays the lack of solution to the fundamental problem of how to fund devs.
That you can fund development in a spur of donations – here peanuts really as $36,000 is pennies when compared to Blockstream’s millions or eth’s incentive aligned hundreds of million – was never in question.
What was and is in question is whether begging as a developer is a sustainable model especially when someone like Ver can say not only F U, but can raise two fingers too.