TL;DR: Prompted by CoinSpice co-founder Jake Smith, influential mining pool operator Jiang Zhuoer of BTC.TOP answered questions from the Bitcoin Cash (BCH) community regarding his ambitious announcement on how to fund BCH infrastructure development. It’s arguably the most important initiative in the peer-to-peer electronic cash project’s history. During a voluminous subreddit Ask Me Anything (AMA), Zhuoer provided critical detail on the funding proposal while leaving more room for speculation.
Critical Details Emerge in Proposed Bitcoin Cash Funding Plan
“In an attempt at getting more information, I got Jiang to agree to do an AMA on /r/btc,” Smith detailed in a post-AMA reflection on what Zhuoer’s Infrastructure Funding Plan for Bitcoin Cash (IFP) might mean going forward for BCH, “though his answers do little to bring clarity to the proposal. Some of that can be attributed to Jiang not being a native English speaker, but many of his answers indicate that the idea is still very much in the incubation stage and many key aspects have yet to be fully decided.”
That it is incubative is itself a critical detail, one many in the community have been wondering aloud at. For example, asked how a proposed Hong Kong-based corporation would operate in collecting and distributing 12.5% of the BCH coinbase reward to developers, Zhuoer admitted, “These details are under discussion.” And as to measures of the IFP’s success or failure after its six-month sunset, he answered tersely, “More BCH users, transactions, total market cap.”
As of publication, more than 260 comments flooded Zhuoer’s AMA, proving at the very least there is still plenty of interest in how the most successful fork of Bitcoin proceeds. Developers, who stand to benefit by the IFP, have given it a “cautiously optimistic” greeting thus far. BCH, ranked number 4 by market capitalization, has been under constant attack outside and within since its inception in mid-2017. Its main value proposition, restoring a medium of exchange emphasis as peer-to-peer money for the world, has made Bitcoin Cash a prime target for those who wish to promote digital gold or a meta-internet concept for Bitcoin.
Transparency, Decentralization, Fairness
“We will ensure the transparency and effective use of all funds,” Zhuoer assured. “We own a lot of BCH, and we hope that BCH will develop better.” Asked if his consortium made up of community heavies such as Jihan Wu, Haipo Yang, and Roger Ver would consider proposing these changes to developers as a hard fork rather than a soft fork, he affirmed, “This is under consideration.”
A question recurring throughout social media was formulated something like if the Infrastructure Funding Plan for Bitcoin Cash could raise more than $6,000,000 for protocol developers, why not just gather a few BCH whales and fund it in one swoop without all the fuss. “Company donation fund neither fair nor decentralized,” Zhuoer insisted in response. “Companies that donate money may interfere with dev in the long-term (eg: Blockstream & Core). It’s the best way for dev to get donations from coins. Yes it’s actually from coin, not from miner, We need all miner to donate fairly.”
He continued to emphasize the initiative was designed to fund developers, and quoted his proposal’s line, “The funds would be used to pay for development contributions to full node implementations as well as other critical infrastructure,” in answer to where monies would ultimately land. A lot has been made of Zhuoer’s fly-the-plane-as-he’s-building-it implications within the IFP, specifically not debating the subject but instead choosing to act. Some have argued that to be a heavy-handed approach. Zhuoer appeared to soften in the AMA, clarifying that indeed the IFP is “necessary, but how to do it need to discuss and try. Miners will donate for dev and this will not change. But details may change.”
Endless Debate, Semantics Versus Action
That answer implies, along with the AMA itself, a willingness to act combined with not dithering endlessly in salon-type debates about debate and more debate, a popular penchant among social media pundits. While willing to fine-tune and adapt the IFP to community concerns, Zhuoer and his team appear determined to see it through. When the mining of orphaned blocks concern was raised, for example, potentially pitting larger mining pools against smaller players, he noted, “We have a lot of hashrate on BTC to make sure we can do it. Software changes [are being discussed], but I think it is not so necessary. All mined blocks need to be donated, otherwise this will lead to the tragedy of the commons.”
As for who is going to manage funds held by the Hong Kong-company alluded to in the IFP, Zhuoer revealed, “There are no definite management rules yet, but it will be managed by main pools and miners of BCH.” The distribution of funding “will be general donations” to implementation teams to work on what is needed, though he conceded, “I think sometimes there are incentives for some project.”
What to call the 12.5% coinbase reward redirection has also been a very hot topic among the BCH community. Asked if the IFP “is as a ‘tax’ on miners,” Zhuoer’s response was in line with his stated action-oriented philosophy. “This is the basic public cost of a community. Don’t care what it is called or what it looks like. Please consider whether it is effective and fair. This is not important, what is important is to develop better, serve more users, and obtain a higher total market value.”
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DISCLOSURE: The author holds cryptocurrency as part of his financial portfolio, including BCH.