TL;DR: “We are raising funds to sustain our operations for 1 year at a level that permits us to make important progress on the Bitcoin Cash roadmap,” came word from newly hired (as of late February) Bitcoin ABC (ABC) Business Development Manager George Donnelly. ABC is embroiled in a community-wide controversy involving its support of the Infrastructure Funding Plan for Bitcoin Cash (IFP), authored by BTC.TOP mining pool founder Jiang Zhuoer, and its latest announcement appears to signal a different funding approach for the reference implementation team going forward.
Bitcoin ABC Announces Business Plan Fundraising Drive
Bitcoin ABC is the reference implementation protocol for Bitcoin Cash (BCH), commanding the coveted ticker, is the node run by most miners, and is recognized by ecosystem exchanges as the go-to client. Though it has a few competitors, essentially ABC has been the team, headed by lead developer Amaury Séchet, more or less thought indispensable to the BCH network since the project’s founding in mid-2017.
ABC has overseen nearly half a dozen software upgrades and one contentious hard fork/chain split during that time, and its work garnered praise from across the ecosystem, from application developers to even perceived rivals such as Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin.
It also gained the brunt of criticism when anything BCH-related faltered, real or imagined, or influential BCH backers felt ABC was moving too slow on this or that issue. For about as long, Séchet campaigned for better, more sustainable infrastructure funding for his team and development generally, warning money spread around to hot-shot application devs and the latest new-new sparkling wiz-bang thing was only because of the base layer ABC maintained — the terribly unsexy maintenance and putting-out-of-fires type engineering often gone unseen by the media and public.
An at times hovering around $7 billion dollar market cap coin is hanging on by a thread, Séchet implied. By late January of 2020, Séchet’s concerns were addressed substantively for the first time through Zhuoer and the IFP. It called for a trial, six-month period whereby 12.5% of the BCH coinbase block reward was redirected to a Hong Kong corporation in the hopes of raising a projected $6 million for development … enforced by orphaning (rejecting) blocks of uncooperative miners.
The saga worked its way through social media and the crypto press, spawning an entirely new, competitive implementation, Bitcoin Cash Node and a desire by some BCH enthusiasts to build crowdfunding alternatives as a matter of course.
The original IFP was thought to have been signed off by BCH heavies such as Bitmain’s Jihan Wu, Roger Ver of Bitcoin.com, and Haipo Yang of ViaBTC. Ver later repudiated his public support, denied ever having signed the IFP, and Bitcoin.com dropped the IFP altogether, while Yang remained neutral and Wu hasn’t commented as of publication. Zhuoer then amended the IFP, eventually settling on a 5% redirection in response to community outrage in the West especially, and urged more overt consensus prior to any go-ahead.
Séchet and ABC agreed with Zhuoer’s alterations and added a whitelist of addresses to the redirection in replacement of the Hong Kong corporation idea, and coded the IFP into the May 15, 2020 scheduled upgrade as a BIP9 option miners could activate should they reach a nearly two-thirds consensus threshold. That prompted still more community anger, and at least two prominent, longtime ABC supportive devs announced their opposition.
The saga worked its way through social media and the crypto press, spawning an entirely new, competitive implementation, Bitcoin Cash Node, and a desire by some BCH enthusiasts to build crowdfunding alternatives as a matter of future course. More recently, Zhuoer himself, the man who began the raucous debate, informed the Chinese community he would use his personal hash power to vote against the IFP, seemingly leaving the idea dead on arrival after a month and a half of contention.
It’s unclear if the Bitcoin ABC Business Plan Fundraising Drive is directly related to Zhuoer’s rejection and community backlash, but the timing suggests ABC is regrouping in the wake a public relations nightmare. Newly hired ABC Business Development Manager George Donnelly is a different look for the protocol team, which previously relied almost solely on Séchet’s often coarse polemics to be its public face.
Donnelly is no stranger to fundraising and the hoops involved, as he recently jumped from the Dash camp and its notorious voting schemes, bringing his efforts to Bitcoin Cash after a dispute over his work for Dash in Latin America. Nodding to the ABC familiar lament, he explained of the Business Plan Fundraising Drive, “Currently, 90% of Bitcoin ABC developer time is absorbed with keeping Bitcoin Cash secure, running and updated. We must dedicate most of our minimal resources to ‘running in place’ as we ensure the Bitcoin Cash network transcends scaling bottlenecks and remains up to date with the fast-moving Internet. Work on new features barely registers in the workload at this time precisely due to lack of funding.”
No Status Quo
What nearly everyone can agree upon is the status quo cannot remain. To that end, Donnelly goes on to claim, “Bitcoin ABC is assembling a team of world-class engineering professionals to achieve this mission. Reality is constantly changing and we must change with it. Keeping up with the latest tools and technology requires funding. Advancing the Bitcoin Cash roadmap requires even more.”
Bitcoin ABC has a strong funding plan that offers Bitcoin Cash miners, exchanges and other businesses the opportunity to sponsor Bitcoin ABC infrastructure development and get concrete benefits in return.
Beyond broad strokes, however, the Business Plan Fundraising Drive is light on concrete details, precise goals, markers most investors seemingly require. Such a skeletal outline is no doubt on purpose to entice inquiries from private parties without giving up much of the ABC secret sauce. It is not a public crowdsourcing campaign.
Donnelly and ABC end their announcement by appealing to miners and exchanges, insisting “Bitcoin ABC has a strong funding plan that offers Bitcoin Cash miners, exchanges and other businesses the opportunity to sponsor Bitcoin ABC infrastructure development and get concrete benefits in return,” asking interested businesses get in touch for a formal presentation.
TIMELINE THUS FAR
- 01222020 Infrastructure Funding Proposal
- 01222020 BCH devs react
- 01232020 Jiang Zhuoer AMA
- 01232020 Amaury Séchet addendum to IFP
- 01242020 Bitcoin.com releases statement in support of IFP
- 01242020 Jonald Fyookball’s position on the IFP
- 01252020 Justin Bons, Tobias Ruck suggest voting on IFP
- 01252020 Antony Zegers support of IFP
- 01262020 Early market reaction to IFP
- 01262020 Anon dev imaginary_username’s reaction to IFP
- 01262020 Peter Rizun’s reaction to IFP
- 01272020 Opposing Miners Group
- 01272020 BUIP143: Refuse the Coinbase Tax
- 01282020 Bitcoin Verde’s reaction to IFP
- 01282020 Bitcoin.com drops support for IFP
- 01282020 BCHD’s reaction to IFP
- 02012020 Jiang Zhuoer heavily amends IFP
- 02032020 Ethereum’s Vitalik Buterin, Zcash’s Zooko Wilcox-O’Hearn react to IFP
- 02072020 More Miners Voice Skepticism at Bitcoin Cash Infrastructure Fund Proposals
- 02102020 Giving Bitcoin Cash a Fighting Chance
- 02102020 imaginary_username Speaks: He’s Working to Build a Developer Funding Alternative
- 02122020 Lockdown: From Mainland China, Bitcoiner Talks Coronavirus and Fallout for Crypto
- 02152020 Flipstarter: BCH Voluntary Commons Funding
- 02152020 Bitcoin ABC Will Implement Bitcoin Cash Infrastructure Fund of 5% During May 15, 2020 Upgrade
- 02162020 Roger Ver on Bitcoin Cash Infrastructure Fund Update: Too Controversial, Not Worth it at This Point
- 02162020 Bitcoin Cash Infrastructure Funding Update: BTC.TOP Founder Proposes 2/3 Hash Voting Threshold
- 02172020 Bitcoin Cash IFP Author, Influential Mining CEO to Chinese Bitcoiners: Decentralization is Key
- 02192020 Two Notable Bitcoin Cash Developers Announce Opposition to the IFP
- 02202020 Bitcoin Cash Developers Fork ABC Reference Implementation Client, Create “BCH Node”
- 02212020 First Bitcoin Cash Developer Meeting After IFP Proposal
- 02272020 Bitcoin Cash Node v0.21.0 Formally Released
- 03012020 Wrapping Our Heads Around the Infrastructure Funding Plan for Bitcoin Cash
- 03032020 Bitcoin Cash Node Team Releases General Roadmap Through November
- 03042020 Author of the Bitcoin Cash IFP Vows to Vote Against It
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