The following post is a lightly edited and corrected version of this thread by Giacomo Zucco; it is a response to Chris Pacia. I am publishing this thread here because I think it deserves to be more widely known, as it not only explains why BCASH is a stupid idea, but it also touches on many points that highlight why Bitcoin is superior to all other “Altcoins.”
Unless I made changes in favor of readability, the paragraphs correspond to individual Tweets.
Bitcoin is one of the greatest financial opportunities in human history. Anyone interested in wealth who misses it or fucks up with it, qualifies as stupid. I get from your other tweets that you’re not interested in wealth (I am), so at least this point doesn’t really concern you.
Bitcoin is one of the greatest opportunities for the advancement of personal freedom in human history. I think whoever qualifies as a “libertarian” in the anglo-saxon “free market” tradition (I guess this is the case for you) and misses it or fucks up with it, qualifies as stupid.
When I say “misses it or fucks up with it” (1,2) I mean, in a crescendo of stupidity level:
- privately dismissing it,
- publicly dismissing it advising others to do the same,
- publicly & actively attacking it, going down in history as an enemy of Bitcoin (zenith of stupidity).
Bitcoin is a complex topic: I don’t think who don’t understand it fully qualifies as stupid just for that, but who, without understanding it, voices very strong or controversial opinions about it, taking extreme stances under the effect of his own cognitive dissonance, does qualify.
Since Bitcoin is complex (4), I don’t think everybody should or could come to understand it deeply, subtile trade-offs included, but I think everybody who isn’t stupid can easily use basic heuristics to distinguish and compare other people’s expertise, skills, integrity, and honesty.
Thus, even without discussing his ability to master this complex topic directly, whoever systematically, continuously and exclusively conflates experts with solid arguments with obvious and blatant scammers, fraudsters, con-men, manipulators, fully qualifies as stupid.
Slight change of topic (it will make sense later on): I think I understand Bitcoin enough to say it’s very likely an unrepeatable experiment. Altcoins, even if they weren’t the scammy, clumsy, useless, inferior Bitcoin clones they all are, are inherently stupid, because: first, their success would undermine the only thing that make the “digital gold scarcity” value proposition possible (focal point around the original issuance); second, they can’t replicate Bitcoin’s “immaculate conception”, they’re compromised since day 0, by definition.
So, I think that, while the Bitcoin experiment could very well still fail (even if I think and hope with all my heart it will succeed), altcoins couldn’t possible win. I think it’s very stupid to bet on the altcoin-takeover or (even worse) on the multicoin-coexistence scenarios.
Another slight change of topic: it’s obvious to me there is a fundamental problem with a global-state network designed in such a way that it will forever require every single node to get and process every single past and present state change. I think only a stupid would disagree.
Luckily, I don’t think Bitcoin as a whole is doomed to be such a system (even if we could say it has been for a while). There’re are several techniques, some already imagined by Satoshi and even by his predecessors, that could at least mitigate this (obvious) inherent problem:
- trusted 3rd parties for small and fast txs, where counterparty risk is minimised anyway, + on-chain settlement (Finney),
- trustless nSequence-based payment channels, and on-chain settlement (Satoshi),
- few big “masternode” enabling trustless SPV via fraud-proofs (Satoshi),7.4)
- trustless sharding: nodes get and verify only some relevant information, ignoring other parts of the global state (Todd, Maxwell, alt.),
- trustless pruning: nodes get and verify only recent information, discarding all the old information eventually (Todd, Maxwell, alt.).
Unfortunately, not all these theoretical techniques turn out to work in practice:
- trusted 3rd parties turned out to be a systemic risk,
- nSequence channels idea was broken, and we had to wait years to be fixed (SegWit+LN channels) and improved (LN trustless onion routing),
- Satoshi’s fraud-proofs turned out to be unfeasible, making SPV basically trust-based & the “few big masternodes” model easy to censor/attack,
- trustless sharding (aka Sidechains???), while being sold as a buzzword by Ethereum scammers, is still a difficult and unproved topic,7.7)
- trustless pruning turned out to be unfeasible as well, leaving syncing nodes with the need to get and verify all the past information, to discard it only after sync to save space.
It takes a stupid to think that difficult problems are magically solved just by some (smart) idea.
I think I know Bitcoin enough to say that, as long as the aforementioned fundamental problem (7) still exists (thus excluding future advancement and current off-chain 2nd layers, finally in production), there’s a difficult trade-off between easy-validation & easy-transaction.
An hypothetical blockchain with 200kb blocks every 4hrs would be cheap and fast to validate: we’d run full nodes on our mobiles, orphan-rate would be low & mining decentralized. But only few use-cases (big and slow settlements) would fit on-chain, forcing everything else off-chain.
An hypothetical blockchain with 10Gb blocks every 2secs would be trivially cheap and fast to use directly for every use-case, including the most stupid ones, but it would be too expensive and slow to validate for anybody, centralizing Bitcoin completely. There’s a spectrum in between.
While I can accept different opinions about this (without necessarily considering stupid who would make the opposite point), I think there’re solid arguments hinting at the fact that Bitcoin as-is could be too much shifted into the easy-to-transact extreme of that spectrum (8): just empirically, a lot of people are transacting on-chain (even for very stupid use-cases where you don’t need censorship resistance at all) while very few people run validating nodes, most relying on centralized 3rd parties that could easily compromised, corrupted, and censored.
While maybe debatable, the above argument (9) for Bitcoin being, as is, actually too much transaction-friendly (as opposed to validation-friendly), could and should already be pretty concerning in the current context, that we could and should consider a best-case scenario:
- Internet infrastructure is not likely to be partitioned in the next months because of global wars (hopefully),
- Bitcoin mining isn’t (yet) illegal in China,
- Bitcoin users can sync even without using Tor because Bitcoin is not (yet) fought so hard by government, etc.
But Bitcoin should be able to survive and remain censorship resistant in the worst-case scenario! The same could be said about orphan-rate and mining centralization: arguably too high since years in an overall good case scenario! What could it become in the worst case one?
Even if my assessment about the position of Bitcoin as is in that trade-off (9) was wrong (I really think it isn’t), I guess it takes a special kind of stupid to ignore the fact that the different failure modes at the two extremes are actually not symmetrical at all: while in the “crippled extreme” there will always be use-cases that will pay and wait enough to be mined, by definition, there are not ways to survive government censorship in the “centralized extreme.” Given Bitcoin’s goals, it’s very stupid not to be conservative about this!
Regardless of the kind of update or change we are talking about, even if it was super-safe from a validation-costs and mining-centralization point of view, every possible change of rules, good or bad, is in itself an attack surface that could be used to corrupt and attack the project! This would true also for changes I personally approve, like Segwit
Arguments against contentious “on-chain scale” increases (9, 10, 11, 12) are reinforced by the fact that, while for things as fungibility and decentralization it’s race against time, for throughput increases there is all the time in the world, there is no rush by definition!
Many said we should rush to avoid that “altcoins will take over”, but this is just logical non-sense. Either my argument about altcoins (6) is true or it’s false. If it's true, then altcoins cannot take over, because they can’t possibly deliver what Bitcoin can deliver.
If it’s false, then fine: what’s the problem in getting financial freedom with one or more altcoins, expecially if we are here for the ideological goal (2) and not for the financial one (1...but even in the case, we can just dump some btc to buy the winner alts). Win win!
If that argument is false, there’s no need to change Bitcoin in a contentious or dangerous way: we can just wait for the “better altcoins” (lol). On the other hand, if that argument is true & we do compromise Bitcoin’s security, even just a little, we screwed up our only chance.
Even if I was wrong about the current state of Bitcoin (9), the simple fact that there isn’t and cannot be any rush (13) makes obvious the choice to prioritise study, development, and adoption of long-term sustainable solutions (off-chain), instead of kicking the can down the road.
Now I'd like to get back to a more general topic. I honestly think it’s a clear sing of stupidity to fall for the old, typical, standard, obvious trick of populist conspiracy theories! These theories are all very similar, and they all basically go like this: “the world would be perfect, everything would come for free, without any scarcity, any sacrifice, any trade-offs...if not for an evil minority who creates artificial scarcity ù6 trade-offs, all to get some power over us with extremely complex and not well defined machinations!”
I think only stupid people fall for this kind of cheap rhetoric, but don’t get me wrong: that’s a lot of people! Most persons are more stupid than the average person, & the average person is indeed very stupid! That’s why populist myths are widely used by politicians.
While populist conspiracy theories are stupid in and of themselves (15), the particular one used in the “Bitcoin scalability” circus is an astonishingly idiotic variation around the basic plot. I really thing only very stupid people could fall for something like this (5).
In this case the explanation of the conspiracy is more cumbersome than usual. To begin with, basically all the cypherpunks that pioneered the discovery of Bitcoin (Back, Szabo, Todd, Finney) inexplicably do agree on the existence of the “artificial” trade-off/scarcity. Weird!
Then some of those pioneers are even recruited by the usual conspiracy villains (Bilderberg, Rothschild, etc.) to create a company, Blockstream, committed to destroy Bitcoin through conservation and promotion of the “artificial”, fake limitations and trade-offs. Wow, much evil!
There isn’t a very clear explanation of the exact motivation behind the Bilderberg, Rothschild, etc. evil plan...probably they’re just afraid of Bitcoin since they “control all the banks” (Duh!). Don’t tell anybody but...I think they may even be JEWS!!! Spooky!!!
Since dumb conspiracy theories don’t have to be consistent, this goal is confused with another one, aslo very typical: Profit!!! Sooo evil! Apparently, Blockstream “will make money with commercial sidechains, because people will use the Lightning Network due to small blocks!”.
Ok, LN isn’t really a commercial Sidechain, but an open, permissionless layer on top of Bitcoin, characterized by negligible-to-inexistent fees, developed by many independent company and developers, and run by thousands of independent, competing parties. But who cares, right?
On logical ground only, we can already say this particular flavour of populist conspiracy theory (16) is so stupid that only very stupid people would fall for it. But it’s also based on many factual lies, all actually very easy to debunk: that is, the number of Bitcoin Core developers employed by Blockstream, the number of Bitcoin Core developers not employed by Blockstream, Lightning Network developers employed by Blockstream, the number of Lightning Network developers not employed by Blockstream, and so on.
There are also a lot of economical and political misconceptions (about “censorship”, for example), typically used to promote this idiotic conspiracy theory. I tried to list some of them in this talk:
Simple heuristics aren’t just useful to be skeptical about non-sensical conspiracy theories, but also (and especially) to beware clear, obvious, blatant fraudsters or liars. So, the “big block” field is now mostly lead, sponsored, and pushed by: (1) Craig S. Right, (2) Jihan Wu, (3) Roger Ver.
The first is a confirmed con-artist, who tried to impersonate Satoshi Nakamoto with false (delirious) claims, fake digital signature, fake pre-dated blogposts & PGP keys. Every single con attempt was publicly debunked. Purpose? Visibility, but also patent-trolling vs Bitcoin.
The second is an Asic monopolist (I actually hope not for long), connected with the Chinese government, who is playing since years an obvious monopoly troll-game against Bitcoin, completed with kill-switches, backdoors and covert optimisations built on stuff sold to other people.
The third is a pathological, narcissistic liar, who was caught lying about not using sock-puppets and who spent the last month spreading fake news and FUD vs Bitcoin, using his online channels to defraud newbies, selling them Bcash while they where looking for Bitcoin.
There’re actually other, embarrassing minor characters in that pathetic circus, one more ethically questionable than the other, from the “bamboozled” disgraced former developer Gavin Andresen (who supported the CSW fraud), to academic-plagiarism-hero Emin Gun Sirer, etc.
Only someone extremely stupid would think this kind of brigade could really replace Bitcoin as the new private, censorship-resistant, global, sustainable, digital gold standard. To think that Bitcoin could be replaced by an altcoin, for whatever reason, is generally stupid.
Even if Bitcoin was really doomed by some convoluted conspiracy (16), any attempt to replace it would fail (6). But even if one really went down this road, literally any other altcoin (maybe “big-fast-blocks” LTC?) would have more chances than the embarrassing scam Bcash!
For all these reasons, I think you’re either stupid or malicious. I hope you don't take this as a personal offence. I don’t think stupidity is “genetic”: I think i’s mostly a choice, some kind of intellectual dishonesty or laziness. People can stop being stupid. You should.