An Open Letter to Unwriter

Dear Unwriter,

I am disappointed to see that you are leaving the Bitcoin Cash community. You are a talented developer. I’ve enjoyed working with you and appreciate your contributions to the Simple Ledger Protocol and other projects we worked together on.

It is of course your decision to make, but your explanations do not make sense to me, so I would like to publicly respond to some of the points you made.

And by the way, the Electron Cash project was a direct benefactor of substantial CoinGeek funding. That I chose to relinquish that funding and support Bitcoin Cash gives me at least as much claim to purity of motives as you.

The Big Picture

The fact of the matter is that Bitcoin Cash was attacked. You seem to not like the manner in which it defended itself, and therefore conclude that the attackers are the group we should support.

Needless to say that there’s something fundamentally wrong with that conclusion.

How was Bitcoin Cash attacked?

From several angles: First, an attempted takeover of protocol development. nChain sabotaged the upgrade schedule with last-minute contention, even going back on what they agreed to publicly a year earlier. They lied repeatedly and tried anything to put themselves in power.

Secondly, Bitcoin Cash community was also attacked through censorship of bchchat and other channels.

And thirdly, and most importantly, the threat of the hash war — threatening to double spend exchanges and make the BCH chain unusable.

These people said that “Winning will now be defined by who can take long term pain in protection of your values” , along with “In the war, no coin can trade… welcome to bankruptcy.”

Peer to Peer Cash and Proof of Work

The purpose and goal of Bitcoin is to be permissionless peer to peer cash. The proof-of-work consensus mechanism is a means to that end. It’s part of what enables that; it’s not the goal itself.

The Bitcoin whitepaper tells us the limitations of the proof-of-work security model: we need at least 50% of the hashing power to be “honest”. In other words, committed to allowing the network to function as intended — as permissionless peer to peer cash.

When you have a malicious entity that is explicitly threatening to disrupt the functioning of the network as intended, the security assumptions now become unmet requirements. Extraordinary measures need to be taken to continue ensuring the original goal can be achieved.

Confusion About Checkpoints

There is no “scheme of centralized checkpointing”. There was a single checkpoint added post fork which is not uncommon.

Subsequently, code with reorg protection was released to further mitigate the credible threats from a well-funded attacker. This was responsible and not an impulsive move prompted by an “imaginary attack”.

Centralized Development

Bitcoin ABC can be fairly criticized for having too much influence over the Bitcoin Cash roadmap. However, it’s clearly hypocritical to make that criticism when nChain shows way less willingness to collaborate or compromise and much more eagerness to be a dictator.

Plus, Bitcoin ABC is a developer group. But Bitcoin depends on users, miners, developers, wallets, businesses, investors, exchanges and other ecosystem actors.

The nChain/CoinGeek conglomerate represents far more centralization.

Protocol Stability

Your theory that Bitcoin Cash doesn’t have a stable protocol is full of incorrect facts (0.18.6 is not out or finished, 0.18.2 was released before the war).

You’re correct that the releases were rushed. Considering the circumstances, I think the ABC team performed well.

Response to Specific Points

I’ll just respond to a few additional points you made and wrap this up:

“For example, if you happen to build anything that competes with wormhole, expect it to get sidelined in various subtle ways”

It’s sad to see you buy into this nonsensical conspiracy. Wormhole is a permissionless innovation that didn’t require any protocol changes, just like your work on BitDB.

Bitmain and others have wanted token development for a long time which is why there are 7 or 8 different token schemes on Bitcoin Cash. nChain is the one fighting that, picking winners and losers. They are much more likely to be the ones getting in the way than Bitcoin ABC, which actually isn’t involved in Wormhole at all.

(Btw, Wormhole exists on BitcoinSV, despite all the propaganda).

“No centralized cartels exist there. The enemies you see in Bitcoin SV side are simply honest miners who only work hard to secure the network”

Threatening to re-org the chain is the very definition of dishonest miner as per the whitepaper. Also,there is indisputably one centralized cartel mining SV.

“There is no perpetual monopoly in perfect free market capitalism.”

So you admit nChain/CoinGeek currently have a monopoly on development, investment, mining, media, and basically everything else in SV.

“In the future, if some actors in Bitcoin SV become corrupt, I’ll be able to see it and act on it”

This is the problem. You cannot see they are already corrupt. They want a controlled, centralized, permissioned system. This is why they do not care about optimizations such as CTOR and wanted unlimited blocks and unlimited script sizes before the network can handle it.

It’s also why they want permissioned mining.

“Bitcoin SV chain is a fair world because there is no external manipulation. The entire community is made up of people who strongly believe in Bitcoin’s philosophy and not made up of people who worship outside actors for their fiat wealth and influence”

That’s a ridiculous thing to say given Calvin Ayre’s wealth and Craig Wright’s manufactured influence. The SV community seems to consist mostly of people who worship either the money or the cult-leader persona.

Best of Success

I wish you the best unwriter.

I don’t intend to convince you that you’re wrong. Perhaps you’ll see in time, or perhaps not. Let us compete and hopefully someday the world will have permissionless peer to peer electronic cash.