This is an opinion piece by Mr. Michael Matulev, electrical engineer, independent student of Austrian Economics and member of the Mises Institute.
Bitcoin needs change! Before I prepare to hang me from the gallows with that statement in the realm of bitcoin heresy, let me state my final thoughts. Please allow me to briefly introduce myself. I’m not some shadowy superprogrammer with an intergalactic brain. I have to admit that I am relatively ignorant when it comes to the fields of computer science and cryptography. I do not work in the Bitcoin industry. Instead, I am a commoner, working in construction to make ends meet, staying humble, and trying to understand the holistic nature of Bitcoin. So why do we say Bitcoin has to change?
Let’s start by revisiting the adage, “It’s not a key, it’s not a coin.” This maxim has echoed as one of his most vocal slogans in the Bitcoin community, and it’s no surprise. When your private key is held on your behalf by a centralized exchange or custodian, you are effectively relinquishing control over your funds. This situation introduces counterparty risk as you become dependent on the security practices and integrity of the third party entrusting your keys.
The underlying philosophy of “not a key, not a coin” aligns with broader principles of decentralization and censorship resistance. These principles aim to give individuals economic sovereignty and eliminate the need for intermediaries. This highlights the importance of personal responsibility, safety and independence in this digital age, where governments increasingly use technology as a tool to manage individuals.
Now, you might ask, what is the immediate problem? The truth of the matter is that the current implementation of the Bitcoin protocol does not scale self-management. Many Bitcoin enthusiasts choose not to critically analyze this reality. But we cannot ignore the consequences of ignoring reality.
Recently, the BRC-20 casting issue brought this issue to the attention of the community. The event triggered an explosion in the base layer fee market, resulting in exorbitant costs to confirm transactions. Regardless of your opinion of BRC-20, this incident gave us a glimpse into the future if the network continues to grow. Let’s be honest, imagine 8 billion users making this situation even worse.As activist Anita Posh pointed out in this tweet, the custody solution becomes the only means of onboarding new network participants. Although there are federated protocols aimed at eliminating middle-manager risk by spreading custody risk among multiple custodians, this solution is still fundamentally different from self-custody.
Human rights activist Alex Gladstein recently raised a thought experiment that focused on this problem:
Unfortunately, over 54% of respondents to his scenario consider it successful. This sentiment is dangerous because such scenarios undermine Bitcoin’s ethos of self-sovereignty and censorship resistance. But that may not come as a surprise. The poll may indicate that more people are prioritizing “number go up” (NGU) over personal freedom.
Whenever the issue of scaling arises, the common reaction is to embrace the notion that bitcoin will scale hierarchically, with the base tier potentially becoming rigid, while additional tiers facilitate the onboarding of the global population. to bring it out. but, As Shinobi reminds us“Layer 2 is not a magic spell. Optimizing and improving Layer 2 requires new capabilities in the base layer. Layer 2 is literally just built on top of Layer 1 capabilities. The 2 limit is a direct result of being within the Layer 1 limit. ”
Accepting this reality can be daunting, especially for individuals like me who are not computer science majors or cryptographers. We adore Bitcoin, but the prospect of change can be intimidating because we don’t know what we don’t know. The possibility that some kind of modification will lead to the bankruptcy of Bitcoin is not zero. As a result, many of us stubbornly dig our heels into the sand and insist on ossification of the base layer to ensure in our hearts that Bitcoin remains intact.
If you, like me, believe that there should be a “no keys, no coins” option for all participants in the network now and in the future, then Bitcoin before it’s too late. should accept the malleability ofin the Jameson Ropp’s words:
“Bitcoin is sound money. But it is not just digital gold. Bitcoin is programmable money. Unlike gold, it is a technology that can be upgraded. There is still a lot that could be improved.” “Without compromising the health of the network protocol…the rigid nature of the network protocol means that changes must necessarily come early, not later.” is adopted at the mainstream level, it becomes impossible to coordinate changes.”
And to Quoting Lopp again:
“Ossification is a side effect of growth and is not definitively determined in and of itself. There is no real way of knowing when a newly proposed change has gone too far until it has lost all momentum.” The real problem of ossification has been revealed: in the future, once we cross an invisible line, Bitcoin will be “set” as it is, making further updates virtually impossible.
“Before this happens, developers and users need to think about what the final codebase for Bitcoin should look like. Opinions are divided and you can tell that you are passionate, but there is almost certainly no unanimous answer to this question, which of course is part of the problem that causes ossification in the first place. ”
Only time will tell if we have already crossed the invisible line of substratum ossification. But until that day comes, it is vitally important for all users who value Bitcoin’s self-sovereignty, censorship resistance, and the potential to truly separate money from the state, to embrace change without prejudice. Participate in various discussions within the developer community. to implement. philanthropic principles in your observations and discussions.as an individual participant ChiBit DevsThe people in the developer community are very welcoming and I can attest to their willingness to help non-technical users understand the complex engineering problems at the forefront of development.
leave it Last quote from Shinobi “What if the spies (governments) are so vehemently opposed to any further changes to Bitcoin that the only viable option for long-term scaling is banks they can regulate and catch? mosquito?”
Tick, next block.
This is a guest post by Michael Matulef. The opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of his BTC Inc or Bitcoin Magazine.