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The blocksize debate has been brought to the forefront once more as a number of Bitcoin developers, including Gregory Maxwell, CTO of Blockstream and Mark Friedenbach, Core Tech Engineer at Blockstream, came out against the Hong Kong Consensus, arguably the most important document in Bitcoin’s history since the whitepaper.
According to what may be a leak of an alleged meeting between pools and miners representing more than 75% of hashpower, consensus has been reached to hardfork to 2mb if Bitcoin Core developers do not release a new Bitcoin Core client with a 2MB hardfork code by August the 1st 2016.
— Kristov Atlas (@kristovatlas) June 30, 2016
The above is unverified. We have reached out to seek confirmation and are informed that the statement is just a guess from the poster who is unknown, but it is not clear whether his guess is correct or otherwise. However, it is known that miners are on the move following comments by at least three prominent Bitcoin Core developers that the hardfork has no chance of being merged.
The clearest indication that something is afoot came from the uncharacteristic publication by HaoBtc, the most powerful supporter of Bitcoin Core, of an article calling for clarification regarding the Hong Kong Consensus.
The Hong Kong “Roundtable Consensus” states that “representatives from the bitcoin industry and members of the development community have agreed” to “run a SegWit release in production by the time such a hard-fork is released in a version of Bitcoin Core,” with a timeline of Segwit released in April 2016, the “code for the hard-fork will therefore be available by July 2016.”
Hinting at the influence of HaoBtc, Jihan Wu, founder of Bitmain, tweeted:
HaoBTC helped so much in Chinese community to defend for Core from the competition of Classic. https://t.co/LO1sef65jC
— Jihan Wu (@JihanWu) June 27, 2016
Striking a conciliatory tone, but making the miners position absolutely clear, HaoBtc stated:
“There is no doubt that the 2mb hard fork is important in [the Roundtable Consensus] document, actually if people were not serious about it, they wouldn’t have taken the trouble to assign a deadline to it:
The code for the hard-fork will therefore be available by July 2016.
Now with June approaching its end and July a few days away, there has been increasing concern whether the Core devs are ready to deliver on their promise, or any effort have been made during the past months towards this end.”
The potentially leaked decision of the alleged miner’s meeting is unlikely to be fully correct in its details, but the overall theme corresponds with recent statements from miners, particularly Jihan Wu who has been more and more vocal, and, at times, uncharacteristically direct in some of his public statements, indicating a changing shift in the mining community.
Another highly influential actor, Wang Chun, founder of F2Pool, has been very quiet since he publicly stated that he felt cheated by Adam Back, President of Blockstream, signing the Roundtable Consensus in his own name, rather than as President of Blockstream, suggesting miners were under the impression that the agreement would be binding at least on blockstream founders, contractors and employees. Because of that episode, it is highly likely that Wang Chun supports a hardfork increase in a non Bitcoin Core client if Bitcoin Core Developers do not release a hardfork client.
What seems to have significantly changed recently is the attitude of previously strong supporters of Bitcoin Core, such as HaoBtc, but also BTCC. Following a blundering comment by Gregory Maxwell, Samson Mow, the most vocal proponent of Bitcoin Core, tweeted:
— Samson Mow (@Excellion) May 22, 2016
It is the public intervention of HaoBtc, however, that gives credence to the rumors and makes them worth publishing, but, due to the many statements that miners have made some are taking the “won’t believe it, until I see it” approach. Nonetheless, price instantly increased, jumping $40 as soon as the rumor started circulating.
It is not clear how developers will now react. To not give the ecosystem choice opens Bitcoin Core developers to criticism of centralized power where developers decide even political matters of increased capacity, increasing the risk of legal liability and threatening an open war with miners which, having the full support of almost all prominent bitcoin businesses, are likely to come out much stronger.
Either way, what most now emphasize is that any decision is better than no decision as no one benefits from any further dragging out of this matter. Fork or no fork, the Bitcoin community needs to make a decisive decision and put this matter behind us so that we can focus on building the future rather than draining our energy in a never ending debate.
Featured image from Shutterstock.