At the intersection of free banking, cryptography, and digital currency
Sunday, July 23, 2018
No Governance for Old Boys: Coordinating Protocol Upgrades te the Future
Friday, July 21, 2018
Make no mistake. Wij are witnessing a high-stakes protocol standards battle play out ter real time. And it is just spil significant spil last century’s battle for the internet’s TCP standard.
Open-Source Protocols and Bitcoin
Spil a blockchain community grows, it becomes increasingly more difficult for stakeholders to reach a overeenstemming on switching network rules. This is by vormgeving, and reinforces the original principles of the blockchain’s creators. To switch the rules is to split the network, creating a fresh blockchain and a fresh community. Blockchain networks fight back political governance because they are governed by everyone who [participates] ter them, and by no one te particular. Murck resumes:
Bitcoin’s capability to fight back such populist campaigns demonstrates the success of the blockchain’s governance structure and shows that the ‘governance depressie’ is a false narrative. Of course it’s a false narrative, and Murck is juist on this point. Bitcoin’s lack of political governance is Bitcoin’s governance prototype, and forking is a natural intended component of that. “Governance” may be the wrong word for it because wij are actually talking about minimizing potential disruption.
Core development teams are a potentially dangerous source of centralization. When it comes to Bitcoin Core, the publicly collective code repository hosts the current reference implementation, and a petite group of code committers (or maintainers) regulate any merges to the code. Even tho’ other projects may be more open to criticism and newcomers, this general structure reminds mij of a presiding council of elders.
I don’t believe a 2nd, compatible implementation of Bitcoin will everzwijn be a good idea. So much of the vormgeving depends on all knots getting exactly identical results te lockstep that a 2nd implementation would be a menace to the network. That prevailing standpoint, however, may be switching, which Aaron van Wirdum addresses te “The Long History and Disputed Desirability of Alternative Bitcoin Implementations.” Wirdum cites Eric Voskuil of libbitcoin, who argues that there should not be one particular implementation to define the Bitcoin protocol:
“All code that impacts overeenstemming is part of overeenstemming,” Voskuil told Bitcoin Tv-programma. “But when part of this code stops the network or does something not nice, it’s called a bug needing a fix, but that fix is a switch to overeenstemming. Since bugs are overeenstemming, fixes are forks. Spil such, a single implementation gives far too much power to its developers. Shutting down the network while some strak chamber works out a fresh overeenstemming is downright authoritarian.” Numerous alternative implementations of the Bitcoin protocol strengthen the network and help to prevent code centralization.
Politics of Blockchain Forking (or How UASF BIP 148 Will Fail)
There is no slagroom for majority rule ter Bitcoin. Those who endorse the UASF treatment and cleverly insert UASF tags ter their social media treats are endorsing majority rule ter Bitcoin. They are providing a stage for any random user group to shove their warped notulen via terror of the knots.
Bitcoin doesn’t care if you postbode arguments on Reddit. Bitcoin doesn’t care if you waterput something clever te your Twitter name. Bitcoin doesn’t care if you educate people, write articles, or make clever Twitter insults. Bitcoin doesn’t care about your wishes, your feelings or your arguments. Let’s keep “majority rule” antics out of Bitcoin. There is no protocol condition that activates “if wij are all united” and that is a good thing.
Your advice is sound, but realistically, the most likely script is that the UASF either wins or dies. If it gets less than
12% of the hashrate, it will not be able to activate Segwit ter time, and it will almost certainly diegene. If it gets less than
20% I also wouldn’t be astonished to see active interference with orphaning to prevent transactions from being processed. If on the other arm it gets more than
40% of the hashrate, the chance for a reorg on the other chain is large enough that most miners will likely leap ship, and it will almost certainly win. At overheen
20% block orphaning attacks won’t be effective, spil it would split the majority chain hashrate and risk tipping the scale. Which means that the only situation where you will realistically have two working chains for an extended period is if you get inbetween
40% of the hashrate for the UASF. The collectivist UASF BIP 148 strategy will ultimately fail and that’s a good thing. It is driven primarily by those with very little at stake expecting the miners to stake everything by supporting a minority chain. Pretty soon, you run out of other people’s money. This commenter on Reddit understands:
The entire premise wasgoed that it wasgoed very cheap to switch, but very expensive to stay. That’s when I realized the folly of it all, [it’s] only cheap because they’re not werkstaking anything. But someone has to stake something. And that’s what is going to cause it to fail. That and the lack of replay protection. People like this stud spin it around and genuinely believe the mining problem will be solved by massively enhanced value. If they do somehow waterput enough pressure on exchanges that list UASF, despite the lack of replay protection, and if wij take his logic a step further, UASFers are going to be pushing everyone to “buy, buy, buy” UASF and “sell, sell, sell” Legacy Coin. But without replay protection, they’re going to be obliterated by a few clever people who realize there are enormous gains to be had.
Alphonse Rhythm has an excellent paper describing chain splits and their resolution. He walks us through compatible, incompatible and semi-compatible hard forks, arguing that users do have power if they truly reject a soft-fork rule switch:
… users do have power ,– ,by invoking an incompatible hard fork. Ter this case, users will force the chain to split by introducing a fresh ruleset (which may include a proof-of-work switch, but does not require one). This ensures users always have an escape from a miner-imposed ruleset that they reject. This way, if the economy and users truly reject a soft fork rule switch, they always have the power to pauze away and reclaim the rules they wish. It may be inconvenient, but the same is true by any attack by the miners on users.
The Future of Coordinating Protocol Upgrades
Theymos almost downright foresaw what is happening today. Why? Because Theymos has a deep understanding of Bitcoin and he wasgoed able to connect the dots and recognize that the logic of the system leads inevitably to this conclusion. Once wij add to the equation the fact that restricting on-chain scaling wasgoed always going to be perceived by the ‘generators’ spil something that ‘reduces profit,’ it should be clear that the logic of the system wasgoed intrinsically going to bring us to the point wij find ourselves today. Years straks thesis two juggernauts of Bitcoin would find themselves on opposite completes of the debate. But what is interesting, what they both recognized, wasgoed that ultimately big decisions ter Bitcoin’s direction would be determined by the powerful actors ter the space, not by the average user and, more importantly, not by the developers.
The developer role can be thought of spil proposing a multitude of software menukaart choices for the users, merchants and miners to accept and run. If a software upgrade or patch is deemed unacceptable, then developers voorwaarde go back to work and adjust the BIP spijskaart suggesting. Otherwise, mutiny becomes the only option for dissatisfied miners.
There is no failure of governance and there is no failure of the market. The non-authoritarian compels at play here are functioning exactly spil they should. Protocol upgrades te a decentralized environment are an evolutionary process, and that process has matured to the current six stages of Bitcoin protocol upgrading, with some optional variances for BIP 91: