Adam Back and Greg Maxwell aren’t the kings of Bitcoin

As everyone in the Bitcoin space knows, there is a massive scaling debate going on. One side wants to increase the block size via segwit, while the other side wants to increase the via hard fork. I have strong opinions on the topic but I won’t discuss them here.

I want to talk about this idea that needs to die in the Bitcoin space — Adam Back and Greg Maxwell are the kings of Bitcoin.

I’ve seen both sides of the debate cite these two as if they are deities of some sort. This directly contradicts the ethos of Bitcoin. We should strongly resist the concept that you can appeal to two individuals to make changes to bitcoin.

Reddit seems to be flooded with posts like “Adam Back and Greg Maxwell it is time to compromise”. This is a little insulting to the rest of the community. It seems to imply that we are lemmings that mindlessly follow whatever Adam and Greg say. Adam and Greg usually have good ideas in my opinion — but that doesn’t mean I always agree with them.

Avoiding politicization of technical changes in the future

I like what Tom Elvis Judor did when he submitted his MimbleWimble white paper to the technical community. He submitted it under a pseudonym, over TOR, onto a public IRC channel. No ego involved — only an extremely promising paper. Tom (and Satoshi) both understood that it is only a matter of time before who they are impedes technical progress of their system.

I propose we move to a pseudonymous BIP system where it is required for the author submit the BIP under a pseudonym. For instance, the format could be something like this:

BIP: 1337
Author: 6f3659941710e1a2e6dc26fbaf36cd8c3270ed69df64a1559d77f8d637109cd0
BIP content down here

The hash “6f3…9cd0” is just my github username, christewart, concatenated with some entropy, in this case these bytes: 639c28f610edcaf265b47b0679986d10af3360072b56f9b0b085ffbb4d4f440b

and then hashed with SHA256.

What does this give us?

This gives us a way to avoid politicization of BIPs. This means a BIP can be proposed and examined based on it’s technical merits. This levels the playing field — making the BIP process even more meritocratic than it already is.

If you want to claim credit for your BIP after it is accepted, you can reveal the preimage of the author hash to prove that you were the original author of the BIP. I would need to reveal my github username and “639c28f610edcaf265b47b0679986d10af3360072b56f9b0b085ffbb4d4f440b”

The Future

Politicization of bitcoin is only going to grow in the future. We need to make sure we maintain principled money instead devolving to a system where our money is based on a democratic vote — or the votes of a select few elites. We need to vet claims by “authority figures” whether it is Jihan Wu, Adam Back, Roger Ver, or Greg Maxwell. I assure you they are human — and prone to mistakes — just like the rest of us. The only way to effectively do this is to educate more people on what Bitcoin is and how it works. In other words, we need to disseminate (or decentralize) knowledge about this $20B network. Jeff Garzik estimated there are ~100 developers qualified to work on Bitcoin in the entire world. That is $200M of value per developer if it is evenly distributed — this is insane! We need more people to get involved.