Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but sometimes people say things that just don’t make sense. Jon Matonis had such a moment this morning on Twitter. Here he goes, before much more is written here:
This might be how we know that the block size debate is getting out of control when people have the opportunity to make such presumptuous statements as that. At no time has any prominent proponent of increasing the block size spoken of increasing the block reward or removing the 21 million coin limit. Bitcoin Core development is not a central bank, and, as at least one person told Matonis on Twitter, removing the standing limit on the number of coins to eventually exist would spell the end of the currency. Likewise, raising the block reward prematurely would mean that limit would be reached sooner.
Matonis was not without his reasoning. He says that “free riders” who pay no transaction fees are will be to blame. He apparently views the current debate on block size through a unique lens altogether, as the rest of us seem to understand this is a matter of scalability.
Free transactions can be denied by any miner and that will always be the case. In fact, transactions beneath a certain threshold of fee could also be denied. This is not debatable. Miners own the hardware and they have the right to dictate what transactions they process. What’s at issue is the maximum acceptable size of a block, which is currently at one megabyte, which does not allow for enough transactions per second that the currency can be taken seriously. There are a lot of solutions meant to cure this problem without raising the limit, but most likely, anyway you look at it, an increase to the block size will eventually happen.
Matonis is contributing to the divisive, semi-philosophical battle now raging over the future of Bitcoin in quite a negative way, in that it adds nothing in terms of solutions but plenty in terms of rather high-profile hyperbole. The former Bitcoin Foundation member believes that it stands to reason the block reward would be the next thing to be increased because the new, larger blocks would not be filled with transaction fees for the miners to slurp up, but rather more free transactions that wouldn’t compensate the miners for what they do in anyway. He does not stop to recognize the fact that miners already have the right to deny such transactions, and that right is not being questioned. Here is one of his follow-up tweets:
At CCN, we’ve covered this issue extensively. In my own piece on the matter, my contention is that a fork could be detrimental to the future of Bitcoin. In Alex Gorale’s more recent piece, he contends that if Bitcoin can’t handle the future, then we should let it die a hero’s death, rather than turn it into something that pleases the lowest common denominator.
If Bitcoin fails as a software let it fail as the nascent tool for liberation that it currently is. Don’t kill Bitcoin to save it. At worst, let Bitcoin die a hero instead of letting it live long enough to see it become a villain.
What do you think? Are you surprised that guys like this are taken so seriously but seem willing to say anything to stir up a little controversy? Is Matonis right, is it really just Gavin Andresen and Mike Hearn who are pushing for the block size increase?