Hi Vinny, Thanks for the interesting read, but I wholeheartedly disagree with your main point.
It’s true that there will be some nasty consequences to a network split, but it can’t be worse than the current situation of constant fighting and stagnation of the protocol.
While I agree that given the choice between Bitcoin Core and Bitcoin Unlimited, Bitcoin Core is the superior choice by orders of magnitude, I also recognize that some do not share this view. Saying “Guys, let’s all quit fighting and just come over to my side!” is incredibly naive, and unhelpful.
Adopting the approach of “We must avoid a split at all costs!” is very unhealthy and dangerous, because then we may be forced to actually pay all costs. Fixating on the fear of splitting will more likely result in either the continued lack of resolution, or capitulation to the power plays of Roger Ver and Bitmain, rather than the other way around. The resilience of the Bitcoin protocol depends, in a fundamental and profound way, on the ability to split off when there are disagreements of such magnitude.
The media didn’t declare Bitcoin dead only in 2014. It did so also in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2016. And the reports of its death have been greatly exaggerated. Bitcoin will be fine even if the media continues to report it dead in 2017, 2018 and 2019 (hopefully, by 2020 they will get tired of being wrong all the time).
You’re also diminishing the role of the community in making sense of the resulting confusion. If there is a split, it’s our job to educate people and explain to them which of the two sides is the real Bitcoin. A person who is not savvy enough to know what’s right on his own, will likely ask a friend / local support organization to show him the ropes — he may not have to ever even hear that there is an “alternative” Bitcoin.
You might be interested in having a look at the blog posts I’ve written on the matter:
It's hot in Israel in August, but not nearly as hot as the global debate surrounding the release of Bitcoin-XT and the…fieryspinningsword.com
In a slideshow published by Brian Armstrong, CEO of Coinbase, he promotes the view that Bitcoin is currently undergoing…fieryspinningsword.com