With IFP Defeated, Bitcoin ABC, ViaBTC & CoinEX CEO Publicly Consider a Bitcoin Cash Foundation

TL;DR: The Bitcoin Cash (BCH) community rejected the controversial Infrastructure Funding Plan for Bitcoin Cash (IFP) recently, but sustainable funding and roadmap consensus problems remain for BCH, according to a recent panel livestream AMA hosted by reference implementation team Bitcoin ABC. Representatives from ABC and Haipo Yang (CEO of mining pool ViaBTC and exchange CoinEx) seriously mused about a foundation model, complete with a voting board, to address ongoing concerns.

Bitcoin ABC, ViaBTC & CoinEX CEO Publicly Consider Bitcoin Cash Foundation

Bitcoin Cash should build a better platform for decision-making, funding, and marketing. That’s the conclusion of ViaBTC mining pool operator and CoinEx exchange CEO/founder Haipo Yang. He made comments to that effect and elaborated over a 3 and a half-hour panel livestream on May 14, 2020. Yang was joined by influential mining pool operator Jiang Zhuoer of BTC.TOP, who participated relatively briefly, but managed to affirm his belief in and support for some kind of sustainable funding mechanism for BCH protocol development going forward.

Zhuoer riffed about a Nobel Prize-like approach before begging off, with precious few details. Zhuoer’s rhetorical contribution is noteworthy, even if slim on specifics, due to his authorship of the IFP in late January of this year. The IFP was a controversial, bold step toward addressing development funding in a consistent manner. It at first appeared to designate a Hong Kong corporation along with redirecting 12.5% of the BCH block reward toward that organization to then distribute (the IFP was amended a few times).

The IFP was immediately praised by some for its innovative solution, as miners across the proof-of-work spectrum would be opted-in to contribute toward Bitcoin Cash development. The IFP carried signatures from the likes of Roger Ver of Bitcoin.com, Jihan Wu of Bitmain, Haipo Yang of ViaBTC and CoinEx, and Zhuoer himself, all respected BCH influencers. Ver has since disavowed having signed the IFP, and Bitcoin.com claimed to have never overtly supported it in any formal way. Wu has yet to make a public comment on the IFP. Neither Ver nor Wu was present during the May 14, 2020 Bitcoin ABC livestream.

Decentralization is a Tool, Not a Result

At about the stream’s 1 hour and 29-minute mark, Haipo Yang of ViaBTC and CoinEx explained he has been thinking about decentralization for the last couple of years as it relates to the software or protocol layer. He believes decentralization is not necessary for the network’s development and that Bitcoin ABC should continue to lead the Bitcoin Cash project. The community focus has been too much on decentralization, Yang repeated throughout his comments which stretched over two hours of the stream.

He seized upon the possibility of what he called a Bitcoin Cash Foundation, which, he ruminated, had such a structure in the form of Linux or Wikipedia been in place back when BCH was created in mid-2017, more on the public relations front to promote Bitcoin Cash to the world could have been done. Yang then contrasted that hypothetical scenario to what he views as a present-day reality for BCH: outsiders looking-in view the community as “too messy” with “too many different opinions around,” causing them to be unsure about Bitcoin Cash altogether, hampering investment and adoption.

At 1 hour and 42 minutes, Jiang Zhuoer reentered the discussion and picked up on the theme of decentralization as introduced by Yang. “I think decentralization is a tool, not a result,” the IFP author stressed. “What we want to achieve is to survive.” The most important aspect of decentralization, Zhuoer explained, was “censorship resistance, especially censorship from the government,” and he pointed to the number of nodes as being “important” in slowing or stopping governments from destroying the project. For development, he added, however, “decentralization is not the goal.” The goal for development is delivery, … is a good product for end-users. He seemed to imply code and coders should be subject to a quality control entity of a kind, a filter, which to Zhuoer means a “more organized way” in the future to direct and deliver code for users.

Board With Voting Members

Five minutes later, Yang clarified Zhuoer’s remarks to say Zhuoer agreed with Yang on centralizing development for better project continuity. “Every blockchain project is centralized,” Yang insisted, “and that includes Bitcoin Cash. We should take advantage of that.” Continuing on the Bitcoin Cash Foundation idea, Yang pointed to what he considers three distinct positives for its potential existence: 1, take decision making out of the hands of developers (BCH’s biggest problem, to Yang), 2. code development, and 3. marketing.

Yang said a Bitcoin Cash Foundation would not suffer from a lack of funding. “Many people are willing to donate,” he noted. “The problem is if they have already donated and cannot be involved in decision-making. If I give out a large amount of money, I want to know things, I want to be involved.” Building a foundation means decision making can be made through board voting, Yank expanded, deciding which issue is to be prioritized along with a timeline for delivery. Yang emphasized Telegram debate and its variants is “useless,” and urged a streamlined approach through voting by board members instead.

Sounding as if a Bitcoin Cash Foundation was a foregone conclusion, Yang began to ruminate about the selection of board members. He suggested himself, Amaury Séchet, and Jiang Zhuoer (who was no longer present on the stream by this point) could “start the board.” If someone wants to join the board, Yang offered, they would need to “pay a certain amount as an entry price” and that the original three members would then vote on future board member prospects. If people want their voice to be heard they should pay, have skin in the game, Yang said. Yang ended his board voting musings by affirming the need to tighten decision making and to improve Bitcoin Cash’s image to the world.

Yang’s comments were the most expansive in the wake of the IFP by a signatory and might constitute something of a future funding effort plan. It’s important to point out nothing was formally decided and though the ABC team appeared to be in eager agreement, full fleshy details remained elusive (no mention of a block reward redirection was proposed to fund the theoretical foundation). Yang went on to urge how the community is more than miners and developers, and also that popular, headline-grabbing BCH-centric projects like SLP tokens were not where they should be in the scheme of things. He emphasized a foundation of the sort he was considering should have the “hacker’s spirit” of “open-source” and of “changing the world,” and not necessarily be so profit-driven. With regard to a Bitcoin Cash Foundation timeline or startup capital, Yang at the 2 hour and 59-minute mark flinched, citing the building of his own pool and exchange as taking up the bulk of his personal resources at the moment. But, once those are doing well and there is a firm proposal in place, Yang said he would be willing to donate toward a Bitcoin Cash Foundation.


Bitcoin Cash

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