Bitcoins scaling debate: A final word from Satoshi Nakamoto?

The debate between Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash is based on the scaling debate. The approach of Bitcoin Cash to use larger blocks is celebrated by Roger Ver as “Satoshi’s vision”. An alleged 2015 mail from Satoshi Nakamoto, however, stands in the way of the claim.

Despite the problems that have existed for some time with fake Twitter profiles, Twitter is the social network with the most interesting and passionate debates in the cryptoscene. Be it detailed answers to Bitcoin-critical writings, in-depth analyses of the cryptographic market, or passionate debates – much of what is later reflected in articles starts on Twitter.

The debates are most often between Bitcoin supporters and Bitcoin Cash supporters. The starting point of these discussions is the scaling debate, the question of how to process as many transactions as possible with the Bitcoin protocol. Bitcoin Cash is a hard fork from Bitcoin that wants to answer the scaling debate with larger blocks. Bitcoin itself, on the other hand, stays with blocks the size of one MB, but relies on the off-chain solution Lightning Network. BTC-ECHO has written several articles about this debate.

What would Satoshi do – In search of the original vision of the Bitcoin revolution inventor

Roger Ver, the best known representative of Bitcoin revolution, stresses that the large blocks would be Satoshi’s preferred Bitcoin revolution solution. Hardly a day goes by without the entrepreneur formerly known as “Bitcoin Jesus” stressing that Bitcoin Cash is Satoshi’s vision. Representatives of this thesis rely, among other things, on a post by Satoshi Nakamoto from 2010 on Bitcointalk.

Bitcoin’s followers had already questioned this claim before. In this context, they refer to an email from former Bitcoin developer Mike Hearn from 2013, in which Satoshi Nakamoto describes an idea that years later became known as Lightning Network.

Now the debate has been fuelled again by representatives of the Bitcoin environment. Since 26 June 2018, an entry in the bitcoin-dev mailing list of 15 August 2015 has been discussed and forwarded on Twitter. This entry, written under the pseudonym “Satoshi Nakamoto” with the e-mail address, is intended to show that the inventor of Bitcoin was extremely sceptical about increasing the block size. Here is a translation:

I followed the current debate about block size on the mailing list. I was hoping that the debate would dissolve and that a fork proposal would generate as much consensus as possible. However, with the formal release of Bitcoin XT 0.11A, this looks very unlikely. So I am forced to express my concerns about this very dangerous fork. The developers of this would-be Bitcoin pretend to follow the original version of Bitcoin. But nothing could be further from the truth. When I developed Bitcoin, I designed it to be difficult to make future changes without unanimous agreement.

Bitcoin is designed to be protected from the influence of charismatic leaders, whether they’re Gavin Andresen, Barack Obama, or Satoshi Nakamoto. Virtually everyone must agree to a change without being forced or pressured. By setting this fork in motion, the developers are violating the “original vision” they pretend to honor.

They use my old writings to claim what Bitcoin loophole should have been originally

I know, however, that a lot has changed since then and new knowledge has been added that contradicts some of my earlier views. For example, I didn’t expect pool mining and its effects on the network. Making Bitcoin loophole a competitive monetary system while maintaining its security aspects is not an easy task. We should take more time to find a robust Bitcoin loophole solution. I believe that we should create better incentives for the users who run nodes, rather than just rely on altruism.

If two developers can fork Bitcoin and successfully redefine what “Bitcoin” is – especially in Angelika – then we will be able to do a better job.