Bitcoin Cash Node Team Releases General Roadmap Through November: AMA, Disclosures, Research

TL;DR: Bitcoin Cash Node (BCHN), the “drop-in replacement for miners and businesses already running the ABC client,” version 0.21.0, was formally released on February 27, 2020. BCHN is the work of a dozen developers who oppose the controversial Infrastructure Funding Plan for Bitcoin Cash (IFP), and the team recently announced its general roadmap through November of this year.  

Bitcoin Cash Node Team Releases General Roadmap

Calling it a “first of a series of Bitcoin Cash Node project announcement posts that will outline our plans for 2020,” both in the short term (May) and looking ahead a bit further (November), Bitcoin Cash Node 2020: plans for May upgrade and beyond, published on March 2, 2020, gives a more detailed peek inside an implementation competing to effectively replace Bitcoin ABC as reference client.

Bitcoin Cash Node

Describing BCHN as “intended for professional use by mining pools, exchanges and other businesses with mission-critical infrastructure building on Bitcoin Cash (BCH),” the team noted their intent to “release a series of further announcements with more focused information aimed specifically at these key user groups.”

In the middle of last month, the reference client team from Bitcoin ABC announced it “will be including [elements of Zhuoer’s updated IFP] in the upcoming 0.21.0 release,” scheduled as part of the May 15, 2020 BCH upgrade. It includes a 5% redirection of the Bitcoin Cash coinbase block reward to whitelisted addresses.

Readying for May

BCHN, however, leaves out the IFP on purpose and retains the OP_REVERSEBYTES and SigChecks features for the May 15, 2020 upgrade. “Our node is constructed to safely follow the longest chain during the upgrade, by accepting blocks regardless of whether they vote for the IFP or not,” the team explained. “The client does not include any rule activation based on BIP9 or similar voting. Re-org protection remains included and configured with the same default values as the ABC client.”

On the organizational and management side, BCHN prizes ‘an accountable and transparent process for funding continued maintenance and development,’ which involves a multisig wallet and plans for future crowd-funding and sponsorships.

Of the dozen or so members, the BCHN general roadmap stressed they include “a number of seasoned Bitcoin professionals, including software developers with many years of experience, who are committed to delivering a C++ node software that is suitable for the most demanding business environments (mining, pools, exchanges) yet can also be set up with minimal effort by novice Bitcoin Cash users.”

They also hinted at a subreddit Ask-Me-Anything (AMA) this week, and will continue to review the existing code, ensure documentation is correct, completing what they characterize as a “missing specification of the automatic finalization feature (aka ‘rolling checkpoints’) introduced by Bitcoin ABC,” and generally promised an opening up the development process as a rule.

Toward November and Less Upgrade Frequency

On the organizational and management side, BCHN prizes “an accountable and transparent process for funding continued maintenance and development,” which involves a multisig wallet and plans for future crowd-funding and sponsorships. They’re also planning to evaluate “the amount of personnel available for the planned tasks and crafting an appropriate budget” as a way of being “responsive to real ecosystem needs and evidence-based research.”

Bitcoin Cash Node

BCHN team proposed research also offers a glimpse into what they’re hoping to tackle. “We are starting an evaluation to improve the difficulty adjustment algorithm (DAA) in order to reduce variance of the block confirmation time,” a bugaboo of continual concern within the Bitcoin Cash community. The research list continues with UTXO/UtreeXO commitment, fast Simplified Payment Verification (SPV), Merklix tree use for better mempool synchronization, and other ambitions.

Acknowledging “five successful upgrade cycles” helmed by Bitcoin ABC and “that hard fork upgrades are valuable,” nevertheless the BCHN team plans to consider “a more ecosystem-friendly schedule of a one-year upgrade cycle that leaves more room for research and coordination.” However, the November 2020 upgrade will also go on as planned, but beyond it, they intend to address future frequency. There’s more to the general roadmap, of course, and a lot to be sorted out in the wild, in the real world before BCHN can be considered viable. The race is on to see if they can compete with the incumbent, Bitcoin ABC.

TIMELINE THUS FAR

Bitcoin Cash

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