At CoinSpice.io, we vowed internally not to give the idiotic, wasteful Hash War any more coverage. It’s weirdly divisive, and there hasn’t been any light. Until now. The anonymous developer _unwriter shocked the broader Bitcoin Cash community by posting a long, very detailed near manifesto about choosing to build atop Bitcoin Satoshi’s Vision (BSV). In response, well-respected dev Jonald Fyookball wrote an open letter to _unwriter, explaining why Bitcoin ABC’s implementation should be preferred. It’s impossible to reprint them both in their entirety, and we encourage you to read both for better context. But here are a few salient passages.
Bitcoin Devs Debate Merits of Chains, Coins, Personalities
“The resolution of the Bitcoin Cash experiment,” is the post title _unwriter of 21 Century Motor Company used to convey a bit of bombshell. First, he offered a preface.
“Disclaimer: Before I go in, I want to say, if you are a Bitcoin application developer who happen to belong to any of the groups or organizations I am about to criticize here, I have nothing personal against you. I know all your hearts are in the right place. It’s your group that’s messed up, not you personally. Remember, you have choice. You can get out. I actually would like for you to read my post, step back, and think about why you are here. I would love to be on the same team as you, collaborating. What we have created so far with Bitcoin Cash is too precious to throw away. And this is why I speak. From November 15 to 26 the Bitcoin Cash network went through its most important experiment since the inception of Bitcoin itself.
“The so-called ‘Bitcoin Hash War’ lasted about two weeks and moved in a direction that many people didn’t expect — Many people expected Bitcoin SV to make an aggressive re-org attack but that never happened. However what came out of the other side is the problem I will discuss in this post.
“Bitcoin ABC was so afraid of an imaginary attack from SV that they made all kinds of mistakes, writing permanent code in rapid fire releases to the point where what they stand for is no longer recognizable.
“And THIS — ABC’s self-inflicted scars that will forever exist immutably on the blockchain — has led to a blockchain I can no longer build on.
“I normally dislike writing because I would rather spend time building, and I prefer showing by doing, but at this time I realize I am in a very unique position of being the ONLY developer in the entire Bitcoin Cash ecosystem who has deliberately stayed politically unbiased, so I decided to contribute to the next phase,” _unwriter began.
Jonald Fyookball of Electron Wallet responded with his, “An Open Letter to Unwriter.”
“I am disappointed to see that you are leaving the Bitcoin Cash community. You are a talented developer. I’ve enjoyed working with you and appreciate your contributions to the Simple Ledger Protocol and other projects we worked together on.
“It is of course your decision to make, but your explanations do not make sense to me, so I would like to publicly respond to some of the points you made.
Electron Cash Substantially Funded by CoinGeek
“And by the way, the Electron Cash project was a direct benefactor of substantial CoinGeek funding. That I chose to relinquish that funding and support Bitcoin Cash gives me at least as much claim to purity of motives as you.
“The fact of the matter is that Bitcoin Cash was attacked. You seem to not like the manner in which it defended itself, and therefore conclude that the attackers are the group we should support.
“Needless to say that there’s something fundamentally wrong with that conclusion.
Bitcoin Cash Attacked
“How was Bitcoin Cash attacked? From several angles: First, an attempted takeover of protocol development. nChain sabotaged the upgrade schedule with last-minute contention, even going back on what they agreed to publicly a year earlier. They lied repeatedly and tried anything to put themselves in power.
“Secondly, Bitcoin Cash community was also attacked through censorship of bchchat and other channels. And thirdly, and most importantly, the threat of the hash war — threatening to double spend exchanges and make the BCH chain unusable.
“These people said that ‘Winning will now be defined by who can take long term pain in protection of your values,’ along with ‘In the war, no coin can trade… welcome to bankruptcy,’” Fyookball explained.
Is Bitcoin Cash the Real Bitcoin?
“There is something very wrong with Bitcoin Cash ABC and its ‘community’ today,” _unwriter continued. “There is too much misinformation out there, and people seem too willing to believe anything if it comes from some influencer guy who they see as ‘respected by the community,’ even when they have no idea why they are ‘respected by the community’ in the first place.
“In this article I will explain what ABC has irreversibly turned itself into:
“Censorable, Centralized, Unstable, Death of ‘Permissionless Innovation,’ Anti Bitcoin Maximalist.
Rid Yourself from Social Obligations
“I hope my perspective will be helpful for many application developers out there who are still confused about what they should do going forward.
“Rid yourself from social obligations and social pressure. If your ideas are influenced by your employer, social clique, or by your past behaviors, try to be aware of this and think independently. You have choice. You can even leave your job and get a new one if you realize your employer doesn’t stand for what you signed up for when you got into Bitcoin.
“Just think about WHY you are here in the first place,” _unwriter insisted.
Peer to Peer Cash and Proof of Work
Fyookball continued, “The purpose and goal of Bitcoin is to be permissionless peer to peer cash. The proof-of-work consensus mechanism is a means to that end. It’s part of what enables that; it’s not the goal itself.
“The Bitcoin whitepaper tells us the limitations of the proof-of-work security model: we need at least 50% of the hashing power to be “honest”. In other words, committed to allowing the network to function as intended — as permissionless peer to peer cash.
“When you have a malicious entity that is explicitly threatening to disrupt the functioning of the network as intended, the security assumptions now become unmet requirements. Extraordinary measures need to be taken to continue ensuring the original goal can be achieved.”
“Here’s a serious issue most ABC supporters seem to deliberately ignore out of cognitive dissonance, or because of misinformation,” _unwriter noted.
“Bitcoin Cash ABC has effectively become censorable. Yes, the very quality Bitcoin stands for — ’censorship resistant money’— is dead on the ABC chain. you just can’t see it yet.
“The manner in which the centralized checkpointing was executed throughout the ‘war’ should be a serious risk to any developer considering building on top of Bitcoin ABC.
Cartel of Crypto Exchanges
“This whole scheme of centralized checkpointing was powered by a cartel of crypto exchanges behind closed doors. This is not only immoral (in terms of Bitcoin’s morality), but potentially illegal AND makes the coin vulnerable even in the real world sense. And it is this ‘real world’ aspect I would like to discuss, since this is a very real risk. Morality is subjective, but risk is real.
“Here’s a recorded livestream [(recorded and coordinated by CoinSpice.io — Editor)] video where they explain, step by step, how this ‘capture the ticker mission’ was accomplished by a cartel of ABC developers and crypto exchanges (instead of through Proof of Work).
“What’s interesting about this centralized checkpoint is that it provides both the reason AND the means for a powerful adversary to take down the network in the future. They simply need to attack the associated ABC cartel, leveraging the centralized checkpoint to do whatever they want to the chain once compromised. And you wouldn’t even know what went on as a user.
Shut Up You Shill
“Of course I can already hear many people saying ‘Shut up you shill, that’s all just theory and is unlikely to happen!,’ but if you know anything about crypto or security, the rule of thumb is to be always paranoid than sorry, because crypto never forgets. And blockchain never forgets. A vulnerability once created never goes away.
“Another rule is, where there is vulnerability there will be exploit. This is inevitable. It’s just a matter of when. If you don’t believe me, just ask Ethereum, their infamous DAO hack vulnerability had been known for a while but nobody thought it would actually happen for whatever reason.
“Until it did.
If it Can Happen it Will Happen
“Remember, if it can happen, it WILL happen, especially if it’s related to money and security.
“Another lesson we can learn from Ethereum’s DAO hack is how the Ethereum team handled the hack afterwards.
“Instead of moving on without messing with the economy, the core Ethereum team and the insiders decided to ‘bail out’ the casualties of the hack, thereby saving some of the ‘important early members’ of the Ethereum community.
People Who Have Made a Compromise
“This is why ETH and ETC (Ethereum Classic) split into two. ETC made up of people who believed in the principle, and ETH made up of people who have made a compromise. This demonstrated how a centralized protocol development team can play Keynes and roll back the ledger through powerful oligarchic actors conspiring with one another. And this is where a lot of early Ethereum investors lost faith in the project. It had turned into crony capitalism, as can be seen in the excerpt below:
“https://www.coindesk.com/understanding-dao-hack-journalists . I hope some of you are starting to see the parallels by now.
“So, after all this, obviously I don’t feel comfortable building my entire infrastructure empire on top of something that can be seized by various unknown gatekeeper adversaries without me even realizing what’s going on.
Maybe Not Today, Maybe Not Tomorrow
“Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but if it can happen, it WILL happen, even if it’s after decades. It’s just a matter of time. That’s NOT sound money. It’s money with insecurities.
“Ask yourself: Why would I want to build on something that can go down or be manipulated just like that one day? I am building something that will last forever, so this is already game over in my eyes.”
Read the rest of _unwriters post here.
Confusion About Checkpoints
Fyookball explains, “There is no ‘scheme of centralized checkpointing.’ There was a single checkpoint added post fork which is not uncommon.
“Subsequently, code with reorg protection was released to further mitigate the credible threats from a well-funded attacker. This was responsible and not an impulsive move prompted by an ‘imaginary attack.’
“Bitcoin ABC can be fairly criticized for having too much influence over the Bitcoin Cash roadmap. However, it’s clearly hypocritical to make that criticism when nChain shows way less willingness to collaborate or compromise and much more eagerness to be a dictator.
“Plus, Bitcoin ABC is a developer group. But Bitcoin depends on users, miners, developers, wallets, businesses, investors, exchanges and other ecosystem actors.
“The nChain/CoinGeek conglomerate represents far more centralization.
“Your theory that Bitcoin Cash doesn’t have a stable protocol is full of incorrect facts (0.18.6 is not out or finished, 0.18.2 was released before the war).
“You’re correct that the releases were rushed. Considering the circumstances, I think the ABC team performed well.
Response to Specific Points
Fyookball, keeping it brief, wrote, “I’ll just respond to a few additional points you made and wrap this up:
“‘For example, if you happen to build anything that competes with wormhole, expect it to get sidelined in various subtle ways.’ It’s sad to see you buy into this nonsensical conspiracy. Wormhole is a permissionless innovation that didn’t require any protocol changes, just like your work on BitDB.
“Bitmain and others have wanted token development for a long time which is why there are 7 or 8 different token schemes on Bitcoin Cash. nChain is the one fighting that, picking winners and losers. They are much more likely to be the ones getting in the way than Bitcoin ABC, which actually isn’t involved in Wormhole at all. (Btw, Wormhole exists on BitcoinSV, despite all the propaganda),” Fyookball insisted.
Read the rest of Jonald Fyookball’s response here.
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