Jason C

Bitcoin Cash Tinkering 2022-11-15

As Bitcoin (BTC) became more and more corrupted Mike Hearn finally reached a point where he ran out of energy to fight it, and instead exited the project completely with his blog post: The resolution of the Bitcoin experiment. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) seems to be heading down a similar road.

BCH claims to be decentralized. Many of their supporters identify themselves as anarcho-capitalists (ancaps). They often believe that democracy is flawed because it creates a tyranny of the majority. That the free market solves problems better than government.

Yet BCH is governed democratically. Instead of passing bills into laws, they activate CHIPs. Miners are demoted to a judicial branch type role where they enforce a growing setting of rules lawmakers give them. Just like their criticisms of democracy, no matter how great BCH started off, it keeps getting more bloated with regulation.

As someone who’s been building on BCH for 4 years now, I’ve seen major change after major change get pushed through. BCH is becoming a distant shadow of what it once was. Instead, miners should be focusing on improving their node software and removing crippling limitations like 220 bytes of data per transaction (less than 1/5,000th of a floppy disk).

It’s been 5 years that Bitcoin Cash has been around, in that time they’ve increased the data limit once, from the 80 byte limitation BTC added to a measly 220 bytes back in 2018. Instead, they’ve been adding OP codes, changing signature verification behavior, and several other completely unnecessary changes that have all amounted to nothing, meanwhile altering core properties of how BCH works and causing software developers to jump through hoops every 6 months to meet new compatibility requirements.

Of course, every time a new change is proposed it is marketed as some huge improvement that’s going to solve all of BCH's problems. Maybe not changing the way the chain works every 6 months would be a better approach? How about removing rules instead of adding new ones?

Memo has tried to stay focused on building things instead of getting involved in politics. But Bitcoin Cash seems to be going down a dangerous road that can't be ignored. Just like with government, their fiddling keeps screwing things up so much you keep spending more time dealing the failures.

I thought things would change in 2020 when ABC left, but it seems the same issues continue. Here is my previously unpublished blog post about the Bitcoin Cash November 2020 Upgrade that lays out the same issues with ABC, which I thought would get solved when they left, I guess not.

Currently, Memo is working on a full-featured open-source implementation. Once it is completed, we will have to decide to continue building out features on BCH or to look to other more stable blockchains to focus on. We’d rather BCH stopped breaking the protocol and focused on scaling instead so we can keep using it.

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