Why Bitcoin Governance is a Competition (And That’s a Good Thing)

Jim Harper is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, working to adapt law and policy to the information age. A former counsel to committees in both the US House and the US Senate, he served as Global Policy Counsel for the Bitcoin Foundation in 2014.

In this article, Harper discusses the challenges of applying traditional open-source development practices to a blockchain world, and why he believes the ongoing scaling debate, while heated, will be stronger as a result.

wig, judge

A few weeks ago, in a post entitled, “The Politics of Non-Political Money,” I talked about the bitcoin block size debate as surfacing “politics” in the bitcoin ecosystem.

Important protocol and software development projects require people of disparate views and plans to come together over common standards and code. My thesis in that post was simply that good behavior is good politics because it builds credibility.

Some differ, and many – it should be no surprise – aren’t taking my advice. But the precedents set in the block size debate are important for the future of bitcoin, for other cryptocurrencies, and for similar projects that may offer alternatives to governmental monetary and administrative systems.

The politics

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