No2x: bad governance model

If a few companies, or even a cluster
of companies, can effectively take control of bitcoin governance, and
force a change — that is a definitional failure of Bitcoin’s
decentralised value proposition in itself.

— Adam Back

I think this is one of the least understood reasons for opposing the NYA announced hard fork in November. The opposition is too often misinterpreted as some sort of sour grapes. That because the opponent wasn’t leading the meeting or a participant in it, that it wasn’t the right sort of agreement.

The difference is not in the participants in the meeting, whether the invite list was closed or open, or even in the technical details of the plan. The difference is in whether the resulting product is an agreement or a proposal.

For 2 years now, this distinction has been something much of the Bitcoin industry has not understood or decided to deliberately ignore. Since the first letter supporting Bitcoin XT, a few of the larger startups in the space have believed they could direct the evolution of the Bitcoin protocol. But instead of creating proposals, trying to rally support for them and leading by example, they are declaring unilaterally that their companies and services will be operating with new Bitcoin rules and thus the rest of the Bitcoin ecosystem must come with them. The language in that original XT letter and the language in the New York Agreement is similar both in their declaration that they are moving forward with the changes regardless of everyone else and their claim to represent a majority or critical mass of the community.

This strikes me as a form of bullying. Yes those companies have influence in the ecosystem (as do miners and as do developers), but they should not use their influence to compel a change in the rules. Any group is welcome to propose a change, but the bar for moving forward with it is that the community must come to consensus. This is a high and difficult bar, and rightfully so.

This distinction has been explained many times to these industry companies, I know because I have been among those doing the explaining. But still they use the same type of agreement as the XT letter of 2 years ago.

Ask yourself why they don’t just make a proposal and try to build support for it.

Ask yourself why they choose the wording to make it clear that the decision has already been made.

Ask yourself if you should have listened to them 2 years ago.

Ask yourself if their Bitcoin is the Bitcoin you want.