TL;DR: “There is a misunderstanding between Roger Ver and myself,” co-creator of Bitcoin Cash and lead developer for its reference implementation, Bitcoin ABC, Amaury Séchet began, “which takes the form of a specific issue, but is also part of an ongoing communication problem. By writing this, I hope we can improve this situation. Even a minor improvement here would be of value.” The two peer-to-peer electronic cash leaders have clashed for months, and Séchet’s latest missive appears to be a thaw, a possible opening for clarification and reconciliation.
Amaury Séchet, Roger Ver Begin Direct Dialog
“I put all the comments I have in the discussion on Reddit about that post,” Bitcoin.com Executive Chair Roger Ver told CoinSpice when asked for response to Amaury Séchet’s recent overture. Indeed, Ver claimed on a popular subreddit to not want their internal beef to “have ever been made public,” after thanking Séchet for the blogged olive branch.
Bitcoin Cash (BCH) was born out of fire, conflict, contention. Its entire existence is owed to defiance, to breaking away from the dominant idea, BTC. By August of 2017, it was done. The BCH chain was quickened, off on its way to attempt the making of at least two ultimate points: on-chain scaling was possible, and that BTC was doomed to an increasingly poor user experience due to a cabal of developers.
The coalition then forming around BCH was initially made up of strict constitutionalists, literalists, who viewed the vaunted Satoshi Nakamoto White Paper as near gospel in terms of divining intent and purpose. The return or restoration to underlining, underscoring, highlighting Bitcoin as a peer-to-peer electronic cash system was BCH’s unifying theme. Business people, merchants, developers with a decidedly medium-of-exchange, libertarian streak all coalesced behind what they did not support, BTC. They were not proponents of digital gold, store-of-value, HODL culture.
Protestant Reformation Itself Splits
As time and distance are prone, BTC community intransigence and increasingly censorious relationship with the cryptocurrency ecosystem gave way to turning inward focus upon the tasks at hand for BCHers: how to proceed. It was soon clear not everyone could agree on a roadmap, and further arcane debates, often compared to factional religious disagreements, made themselves known. By December of 2018, the protestant reformation had itself split to the eternal I-told-you-so glee of BTC maximalist papists.
Depending on the Bitcoin Cash analyst, the jury is still out on how necessary and beneficial that second split more than a year ago was for the future of peer-to-peer electronic cash. One thing it did do is similar to that of the August 2017 fallout, highlighting more factionalism and personality disagreements within an already nervous camp. Whereas some believed a toxic element had broken off, leaving BCH to finally be, others felt a lot of precious resources and time had been wasted.
What didn’t help matters is how BCH was objectively losing on nearly all fronts: price, ratio, and market capitalization compared to BTC. For sure, applications and development on BCH continued apace, and upgrades were delivered at each scheduled juncture. The public relations, however, left a lot to be desired. The last thing anyone bullish on the promise of Bitcoin Cash needed was more drama.
Can a Bitcoin Project Actually Reconcile?
At some point last year, fingers began to be pointed. Amaury Séchet, well-known in the BCH dev community for his frank talk and acerbic tongue, went very public. He complained openly about a lack of protocol funding from those businesses directly benefitting from BCH. Séchet left associated projects, such as Bitcoin Unlimited (another BCH implementation), and was spotted all over social media criticizing the choices and tactics of perhaps Bitcoin Cash’s most recognized proponent, Roger Ver.
The back-and-forth between both men hit arguably its most serious juncture when Ver accused Bitcoin ABC of “dragging its feet” on allowing for an increase beyond a 25 transaction limit, something Ver insisted was holding back adoption of online businesses. That, and Ver also claimed to have donated some $500,000 already to Bitcoin ABC, further setting off Séchet who insisted the transaction limit debate was more nuanced and that the half-million-dollar figure was exaggerated if not an outright lie.
Drama, of course, is nothing new to the cryptocurrency ecosystem. Alliances change all the time, notoriously so. What might make this particular point in the niche peer-to-peer electronic cash kurfuffle significant is how two obstinate, passionate, driven, respected community leaders are attempting to work out their very real differences. For sure, those already predisposed to dislike Ver and Séchet will use such a public airing of grievances as reason enough to abandon any project associated with either. Maybe, just maybe, this is the turning point digital cash needs in order to become money for the world by showing the value of open debate and cooperation.
*UPDATE: Roger Ver insisted as to the above, “What a misleading headline. There’s never been months of contentious back-and-forth. This is just trying to stir up drama for the sake of additional clicks.”
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DISCLOSURE: The author holds cryptocurrency as part of his financial portfolio, including BCH.