TL;DR: One of the BCH dev fund proposal’s most influential signatory’s, Roger Ver of Bitcoin.com, praised the Bitcoin Cash community for its open and vigorous debate without recourse to censorship. Vigorous it has indeed become as more distance is gained between BTC.TOP mining pool head Jiang Zhuoer’s Infrastructure Funding Plan for Bitcoin Cash initiative and its possible implications. Its stated Non-Debate Theory is being tested.
BCH Dev Fund Proposal Reaction Heats Up
“I just want to thank the Bitcoin Cash /r/BTC community for supporting free speech and engaging in vigorous debate without anyone calling for censorship,” Ver lauded of a popular subreddit while shaming its maximalist echo chamber counterpart. It’s one of the precious few public comments the founder and Executive Chairman of Bitcoin.com has made on the subject as of publication.
When asked about his, Jihan Wu of Bitmain, Haipo Yang of ViaBTC, and Zhuoer’s relative silence on the funding plan, Ver shot back, “One of them even did a giant AMA here. What else would you like us to do in addition to being busy running our businesses?” alluding to the proposal author’s recent subreddit lengthy question and answer session. Save for those, and a tweet where Ver mused, “Easy: Having BTC miners pay ~95% of the money to fund BCH protocol development. Hard: Figuring out who gets to spend the money, and on what,” there hasn’t been much else from the influential mining pool operators.
Meanwhile, Bitcoin.com posted its Clarifications on the Miner Development Fund in response to widespread concern about the plan’s rollout. “It’s important to understand that the plan proposed by Jiang Zhuoer is still very much in development,” the unsigned post insisted. “Zhuoer himself made this clear in his Reddit AMA, although the original article certainly lent itself to some confusion.” The company also admitted implementation of the proposal, managing funds, the by now infamous Hong Kong corporation makeup, types of projects funded, tracking success, inefficiency roadblocks seemingly inevitable in such an arrangement, incentives, and “many more of the questions proposed online are well taken and the answers are still being worked out by the miners. The proposed changes would not go into effect until May 2020 and there is still plenty of time to work out answers to those questions in a way that satisfies as many parties as possible.”
A Tax, Service Fee, Both, Neither
Unlike Zhuoer, who stressed debating whether the initiative was a tax came down to unimportant semantics, but very much like Bitcoin ABC lead developer Amaury Séchet, who took the opposite view, insisting it was not tax, Bitcoin.com was careful to argue, “It is more accurate to call this proposal a service fee for the miners, which has both wide contemporary and historical precedent in the market outside of Bitcoin.” Furthermore, the well-known website portal and mining pool company emphasized, “It is a temporary plan with a six-month runway that will not result in protocol changes that could cause chain splits.”
In chat rooms and other social media, debates about how to improve the funding plan have been far, wide, deep. Some wish it to be scrapped altogether. Others want certain modifications made. While still others believe the initiative should go ahead as-is. Noted Bitcoin Cash thought-leader and developer Jonald Fyookball formally weighed-in as well. His Little Known (But Important!) Facts About the Mining Plan sought to clarify thinking on the subject as a general rule.
“So, on the whole,” Fyookball wrote, “if the miners want it, if the lead dev team wants it, and if there are additional reasons to support it, then we should seriously consider accepting and implementing the proposal.” On the issue of whether the funding proposal is a tax, Fyookball punted, preferring to detail its mechanisms instead. In what he phrased is a “multi-chain scenario,” less “revenue from BCH rewards causes miners to switch to BTC, which increases BTC difficulty and reduces BCH difficulty. For switch-miners or BTC miners, the reduction in revenue is tiny compared to the overall hashrate. For the BCH-only miner, he will find more blocks and achieve essentially the same profitability, even without switch mining. So, this is a major benefit for the BCH-only miner,” assuming such an oscillation theory holds, leading to the arrangement being “absorbed by the greater SHA-256 ecosystem, as mentioned in the proposal.”
A Clever Proposal With Good Intent, But …
Interestingly, other developers who stand to gain financially from the proposal, at least potentially, were uneasy about its skeletal details. Joshua Green, for example, of full node BCH implementation Bitcoin Verde spoke to CoinSpice during a recent live episode of the stream, Collin’ It Like It Is (see video embed, above). Green told host Collin Enstad he didn’t really know how he felt about it, describing the dev fund initiative as a very complicated issue, especially with aspects such as orphaning uncooperative blocks and the status of a corporation in Hong Kong overseeing collected and dispersed funds.
CoinText CEO and developer Vin Armani was more confident in the released outline. “My intuition is that not only will this cartel initiative go as planned, but that it will result in solid price gains for BCH and go down as one of the most important innovations in Bitcoin. Voluntary, time-constrained, free market solution to one of Bitcoin’s greatest problems,” he tweeted, while later engaging in threads about the potential benefits of organic cartelization between rational economic actors.
Outside of the Bitcoin Cash community, Cornell University computer scientist Emin Gün Sirer suggested “it’s misleading to compare this proposal to the way BTC rammed Segwit via a soft-fork. Segwit was a protocol change visible to the public. This policy redirects miners’ income, it does not have any protocol consequences for end users.” He also cautioned, “It’s a clever proposal, with good intent. The 6 month sunset clause makes it even better. But it needs to be debated and made concrete. Any attempt to foreshorten discussion and debate is a terrible idea and sets a bad precedent.”
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