The Bitcoin proxy war: Classic vs Core

In the following statement by Martin Hagelstrom, the Bitcoin enthusiast and project manager at IBM explains why a very important point is concealed in the current blocksize debate.

First of all, we should all agree on one thing

Bitcoin is a great innovation whose technology can regulate an entire economic system. It is also decentralized and thus prevents deliberate human intervention and manipulation of the network.

But Bitcoin is far from „perfect“ yet. There is currently a debate about changing the code. If the change is accepted by the network (the community and the programmers), the capacity of the transaction blocks in the block chain would increase and „give the currently overloaded network air“ again. Although it may not be a trivial modification, it is still an explosive coding discussion.

But can we really assume that it is not a trivial change? What if the blocksize debate is in reality a proxy war to prevent an even more important debate?

But before we get to the point, we have to go a little further

Classic vs Core
On the one hand we have the Bitcoin Core developers who took over the project from the pseudonymous developer Satoshi Nakamoto after the Bitcoin birth and have been developing it ever since. Ultimately, they decide which changes to the Bitcoin blockchain are adopted and which are not.

They have also developed a way for the community to contribute to changes in the code. Some of these suggestions are often difficult to implement or are rejected by the core team because they may pose a threat to the entire network.

However, we should not forget at this point that Bitcoin is an open source project in which other development teams can copy the code and further develop it as they see fit.

That’s exactly what the Bitcoin Classic Team does. The team includes former core developer Gavin Andersen and Bloq CEO Jeff Garzik. They want to increase the block size from 1MB to 2MB and thus double the transaction flow per block.

The Bitcoin Core Team has found a similar solution: They want to increase capacity by reducing the amount of memory required for a signature in the block (Segregated Witness).

The interesting thing about Classic, however, is that they openly communicate their proposal to the Bitcoin community and their proposal can be implemented in just two months. That would be a big change for Bitcoin.

The core development team has been increasingly urged in the past to communicate more openly with the community and let them participate in the changes-such as the new website, a new slack channel, participation in podcasts, or attending Bitcoin events. Here they are asked to tell the community why they believe Bitcoin Classic is the wrong approach.

Of course, this was not without friction, abuse and blame, but we should be grateful to the Classic team for making this „evolution“ possible.

Payment vs Settlement
Let us come back to the actual reason for the article: Why is the debate being used to prevent a much larger point from being discussed?

In short, we have two groups. One group (Bitcoin Classic) sees Bitcoin as a payment network, the ultimate network to replace traditional payment methods. The other group (Bitcoin Core) sees Bitcoin as a settlement network where end users should make use of sidechains, for example the Lightning network or other platforms that will act as payment platforms in the future.

So on the one hand we have the advocates for a Bitcoin blockchain that can handle more transactions at lower cost after increasing the block size (from 1MB to 2MB) and on the other hand the advocates for a blockchain that can handle fewer but larger transactions at a higher price.

That’s why I think the blocksize debate (Bitcoin scaling) is about much more than just increasing the block size. I see it as a proxy war where there is much more at stake.

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