TL;DR: The Bitcoin Mining Parliament (BMP) is the brainchild of Javier Gonzalez Gonzalez, and it claims to be a governance solution to end the drama and clashing between miners and developers in the Bitcoin ecosystem. His proposal has been criticized for overvaluing miners at the expense of developers, however, creating ever-new problems going forward. We caught up with Gonzalez Gonzalez to explore the idea further, more in-depth.
The Bitcoin Mining Parliament
Hashpower is very important, and not just for securing the Bitcoin network and making it work, but also as a mechanism of participation in possible changes the network might implement in the future. This is the premise Javier Gonzalez Gonzalez, the author of the Bitcoin Mining Parliament, forwards to end the argument behind who decides about protocol changes in the Bitcoin environment.
The system has its origins in an idea of the same author, taken from the fifth paragraph of his first paper titled: “Miners are the executive power of Bitcoin.” Gonzalez Gonzalez wrote: “As a new form of executive power, it is likely that in the near future a virtual and transparent Bitcoin Mining Parliament (BMP) will be established. There each participant can have voice and vote in proportion to their percentage of demonstrable exahashes per second.”
Gonzalez Gonzalez’s Bitcoin Mining Parliament is just that: a public forum where miners can propose issues and vote on them using hashpower. This, according to the whitepaper, is the only way for miners to act as an entity.
The Necessity and Objectives of a Parliament
The need for this solution comes in the form of constant disagreements that have caused chain splits and other kinds of separations in the Bitcoin ecosystem. Gonzalez Gonzalez derived his BMP idea when an early blocksize dilemma separated BTC from Bitcoin Cash. “I understood that my previous specific experience in voting systems is connected to the whitepaper, and the key to fix conflicts and making Bitcoin successful in the long term,” he told CoinSpice.
He then put all of this experience into philosophically designing a system that will allow the network to resolve such disagreements without forks or splits. The whitepaper states: “The Bitcoin miners estimate consensus with inadequate coordination. This causes contentious hard forks that divide the blockchain, fracture the community, create confusion and damage adoption. Miners can take responsibility, better than anyone else, for preventing the risk of such events happening again.”
Clearly, this solution seeks to empower miners to assume essentially executive functions in solve these issues. But, according to Gonzalez Gonzalez, this tool can serve much more, “Long-term development, joint legal protection, cybersec, emergency ops, communication, adoption, events, standardization. Whatever is decided. I can’t really know what the miners will want to do in the future. No one can imagine.”
The Dev Dilemma
However, by putting such executive power in the hands of miners, the BMP seems to have left out a crucial part of the Bitcoin equation, developers. Gonzalez Gonzalez explains, “Developers propose the rules of consensus, but the ultimate decision is enforced with hashpower. The miners are competitive, they have all the incentive, they totally control the blockchain and they have the most secure voting system that exists.”
According to a tweet By Gonzalez Gonzalez, “miners can easily invite devs to participate voting with hashpower and finance them with hashpower.” However, this is heavily dependant on the same miners that would delegate some of their power to “finance” third parties within the system, making dev participation probably rare indeed.
With the BMP, miners can easily invite devs to participate voting with hashpower and finance them with hashpower.
— Javier González González (@JavierGonzalez) July 26, 2019
That BMP exclusion of a vital part of the Bitcoin ecosystem has gained some criticism from devs, obviously, arguing that while miners do run the network, it is developers who establish the rules that the network follows. The argument also extends to another point: in a voluntary system like the Bitcoin distributed network, enforcing changes or decisions about a protocol change can be difficult, and they can lead to what they tried to avoid in the first place, contentious forks and schisms in the community.
Despite all the criticism, the Bitcoin Mining Parliament is already up and running, and its creator is positive about the future. “If this [system] is clear, and the legitimate mechanism is established, everything will work at another level. Otherwise, there will be friction and fractures until the failure of the project by atomization,” Gonzalez Gonzalez concluded.
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