I’m greatly saddened by the fighting between the two big Bitcoin camps. Even though they don’t have official labels and my own labels may not be fully accurate, I have to use some labels, otherwise my article will make no sense. I’ll simply label one of the groups “Bitcoin Core”, and the other one “Bitcoin Casascius bitcoin positive”. HODLer I feel it as my obligation to try to explain to the people interested in Bitcoin why the discord exists, and why it’s pointless to spend time on it.
I hope that it will help people deeply think about their own values, and use them productively instead. The conflict is often explained as a governance problem. I think this while there is an element of truth in it, misses the point. The reason for the conflict isn’t a lack of procedures, but an emphasis of the differences in values.
The main reason why there is discord is the conservative vs. The “Bitcoin Core” group tends to be more conservative whereas the “Bitcoin Unlimited” tends to be more progressive. Conservatives view the rules as containing a historic wisdom which may not be apparent. Progressives view them as contextual and as a reaction to contemporary phenomena. These tendencies are a naturally occurring phenomenon and are largely influenced by psychology. They reflect themselves in all areas of life. People are unlikely to change their affinity.
They associate themselves with people with similar affinities, and the community membership gives them a sense of belonging. If someone tries to treat obstacles in a way conflicting with their affinity, they will view it as an attack on their values, and follow by an immediate counter by any means available. Even in cases when there is some element of truth in the accusations, they are mainly a symptom rather than a cause of the problem. Unfortunately, psychology tends to catch up even well educated, highly experienced and an otherwise reasonable people, and they go full retard.
This causes an enormous waste of resources, which otherwise could be spent on productive endeavours. People in the Bitcoin community of all should acknowledge that some people are naturally more conservative and some more progressive. This would help to calm down the situation. Collectivists want everyone to adhere to a broad set of rules, whereas individualists want just a very narrow set of rules for everyone.
In the forking debate, collectivists want there to be only one Bitcoin and the other to either die or never start in the first place, whereas individualists are either indifferent or prefer that both survive. In the forking debate, collectivists point to lost network effect, consumer confusion and similar things. Individualists argue that a fork would prevent oppression and allow to refocus resources productively. While this axis explains a smaller proportion of the debate, it is perhaps more important.
You see, conservatives and progresives can get along, as long as they are individualists. Once they calm down, they will leave each other alone and try to resolve conflicts peacefully. But there is no such solution with collectivists. Next time you’re reading, writing, listening or talking on the topic of the blocksize, try to see the arguments from the point of view of the two axes I outlined. You’ll be surprised how much of the underlying implications can be explained by the affinities. Remember that the real danger is collectivism and its most encroaching manifestation, the state.
If afterwards you still think that a common solution cannot be found, then calmly prepare for a fork, and spend your time and resources in your part of the community, in a productive way. You may have noticed that there hasn’t been a new blog post for a long time. It’s not that I lost interest in Bitcoin or economics, but my goals with respect to its economic research I more-or-less reached. I studied the concept of liquidity and how it relates to Bitcoin. Graf, Roger Ver, Eric Voorhees, Andreas Antonopoulous, Tuur Demeester, Jason King, Meni Rosenfeld, Johann Gevers, Juraj Bednár, Pavol Lupták. If I forgot to mention you, it’s all my fault because I have a bad memory for people.
This has been an amazing experience and I’m very satisfied about it. I had heard about it before but didn’t realise all of the possibilities it opens. I became more and more involved in it. 6 being released in two months ago. At the moment I’m transitioning into the lead position as the original author of Bitmessage, Jonathan Warren, does not have time for it anymore. I hope that I can help to make it into a sustainable and more formally managed open source project with clear goals and path for the future.