news.vice.com / Colleen Curry / August 21, 2015 | 2:15 am
Users of Bitcoin have found themselves divided this week over how the digital currency should prepare itself for anticipated growth in coming years, with two members of the community acting independently to offer their own solution.
Bitcoin developers Gavin Andresen and Mike Hearn launched a new version of the currency’s software, Bitcoin XT, over the weekend, informing the community that the new tool would be able to process more transactions per second than the old tool.
But the developers face blowback from those who are opposed to a split in the community and from users who “mine” Bitcoin transactions — or receive money in exchange for logging them — and who have more of a financial risk at stake in any changes, according to Christian Catalini, of the MIT Sloan School of Management.
“It’s tricky because it’s not just the developers, but the miners who have a vested interest because they made capital investments, so any change to the protocol could mean less revenue than they planned,” Catalini told VICE News.
The rift highlights a turning point for the fledgling online financial tool, caught between the need to grow and its commitment to a decentralized, thoroughly democratic decision-making process among its stakeholders.