Andreas Antonopoulos: AMA With the 8BTC Community

Just recently, Andreas Antonopoulos talked with the Chinese 8BTC.com community in an “Ask Me Anything” (AMA) thread. The technical visionary and Bitcoin evangelist had a lot to say concerning hard forks, the Lightning Network, general development and Ethereum.

Also read: ‘As If Identity Was the Goal’: Antonopoulos Slams Blockchain KYC

Antonopoulos Answers Questions From the 8BTC Forum Community

8btcBitcoin is quite popular in China, with the country having a large mining presence as well as significant amounts of transactions coming from the region. 8BTC.com is one of the top forums in China that discusses cryptocurrency and related subjects. Antonopoulos gave his insight into how he sees the space currently and how he envisions solutions to particular debates.

The first question asked was about  the possible hard fork of Bitcoin to institute a block size increase to 2 MB and how the community may react towards the core developers if it is not implemented.

Antonopoulos explains that scaling solutions will not be solved with just a hard fork, and it will also depend on what other types of implementations the developers release. If they fail to release solid solutions to the problem, they will lose power to alternative ideas. Antonopoulos notes that, currently, the market and community is following the current code and roadmap.

Following the 2 MB question, Antonopoulos was asked what he thought about the Lightning Network threatening Bitcoin’s decentralization, and if operators could be shut down. The Bitcoin entrepreneur said the Lightning Network operators couldn’t be shut down as they worked similarly to the protocol’s nodes, and the solution would be censorship resistant if implemented.

When asked what he thought about full blocks and the issue of raising the block size, Antonopoulos stated:

Full blocks have created a situation where wallet software has to be developed to make correct calculations of transaction fees. This in itself makes the bitcoin network more secure against DDoS attack. Even though a 2MB HF seems like an “easy” solution, it is not easy. As we have seen in Ethereum, a HF can cause enormous disruption to exchanges and other services. Bitcoin’s economy is MUCH larger and we need to be much more careful with a HF.

AntonopoulosAdditionally, when asked if development was currently “bottlenecked,” Antonopoulos explained that Bitcoin development is accelerating, and new features and improvements have increased over time. The visionary stressed that scaling is just one issue as he believes it does not “define Bitcoin.”

Antonopoulos says scaling will always continue as long as the ecosystem grows.

After questions regarding Bitcoin scalability, the discussion moved towards the current events within the Ethereum community and smart contracts. A participant named “Miss Cherry” asks if the Ethereum hard fork sets an example for the Bitcoin community. Antonopoulos explains that Ethereum is a different model than Bitcoin and does not use UTXO based accounting. He says that a roll-back of addresses would prove more difficult within the Bitcoin network, and forks can introduce a broad array of risks including “unexpected denial-of-service vectors and cause disruption to exchanges and the economy.”

When asked if Bitcoin was suitable for smart contract deployment Antonopoulos responds:

Bitcoin is suitable for many smart contracts. Multisignature is a smart contract. With a combination of CheckLockTime, MultiSignature, HTLC and other bitcoin scripts, developers can build some very sophisticated and useful smart contracts. Lightning Network is just one example of a system of smart-contract based channels. So Bitcoin may be able to do 75% of the smart contracts that are needed by the market – at least what is needed now.

Optimistic Towards Issues Within the Bitcoin Space

bitcoin developmentOverall, Antonopoulos answered lots of questions concerning core developers’s vested interests, how he would scale Bitcoin, and even the moderation of the r/bitcoin forum community.

In one statement Antonopoulos stresses, “I do not agree with the moderation policies of /r/bitcoin. I do not support censorship.”

However, he also explains that he does not agree with the moderation and environment over at the subreddit r/btc either. Because these two groups have failures in moderation Antonopoulos states he has “limited interactions on Reddit.”

Antonopoulos still seemed to be optimistic towards the Bitcoin network advancing and overcoming current issues faced. If it were up to him, he would “soft-fork first, hard-fork later” when it comes to the block size debate. He is still a strong believer in the Bitcoin protocol and explains the need for a “native asset” within blockchain technology. It is not impossible for private blockchains to go without but Antonopoulos states:

It is not impossible, but it is not as useful as a blockchain with a native currency. I also think that Proof-of-Work with rewards based on a native currency allows for an open and global blockchain, which is the most useful kind of blockchain. It also allows for censorship resistance and immutability, which are very useful characteristics. The focus on “blockchain” to me is misguided. The most useful blockchain is the open, global, transnational, decentralized, uncensorable, open-to-all, immutable, innovation-without-permission blockchain. For now, we have only one of those at very large scale and that is Bitcoin.

The entire discussion with Antonopoulos can be viewed at 8BTC.com as many more questions were asked throughout the event. The translation of questions and responses were kindly communicated by an 8BTC.com reader to the English speaking Bitcoin community.

What do you think about what Andreas Antonopoulos had to say during his recent Chinese AMA event? Let us know in the comments below.


Images courtesy of 8BTC.com, and Pixabay .

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