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The Curious Dilemma of the Bitcoin ‘Community’ Going Separate Ways




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The scaling discussion has been a long and exhausting debate that has been going on for many years. Currently, there are a couple of proposals like UASF and Segwit2x that may be coming to the Bitcoin network in the near future. However, as many people are calling Segwit2x the last chance for the Bitcoin ‘community’ to come to a consensus together, many people are starting to believe a divorce would be the better route.

Also read: The Japanese are Using Bitcoin More than Expected


The Never Ending Drama

Individuals and groups involved with the bitcoin economy have been fighting incessantly about the best methods to scale the network. There is a clear division among two camps we call “small blockers and big blockers” and two distinct and competing Reddit debate forums (r/bitcoin and r/btc) as well. Over the past six months, the infighting has increased exponentially and often times left a salty aftertaste after nearly every bitcoin-related conversation.

The Curious Dilemma of the Bitcoin 'Community' Going Separate Ways

‘Both Sides Are Convinced That the Other Is out to Destroy Bitcoin’

Over the past few months and with the new Segwit2x compromise taking place, I personally have felt pretty optimistic that there won’t be a blockchain split. However, from talking with many people in the industry and reading various opinions throughout social media, I’ve started to realize that a divorce may be the best path forward for the bitcoin community. The thought scares me and often makes me cringe, but it’s due to the great memories I’ve had with the old community before 2015. A recent blog post written by the eloquent writer John Blocke has also confirmed to me that many others believe the bitcoin ‘community’ should go their separate ways.

“Like an appendectomy, a chain split may be uncomfortable, perhaps painful, and will almost certainly create short-term confusion while the markets work on valuing the respective tokens,” explains Blocke’s post called ‘Bring on the Chain Split.’ “But when one’s appendix ruptures, you don’t pop a few high-strength painkillers and call it a day, you treat the problem at its source.”

Adding more choice and competition into the market free-for-all that is cryptocurrency does not weaken Bitcoin but makes it stronger and more resistant to takeover attempts. Both sides are convinced that the other is out to destroy Bitcoin, intentionally or otherwise, so it makes little sense to drag these “hostile elements” along with something they don’t want. If the two visions of Bitcoin are so harmful to one another, little is gained by forcing both sides to remain together.

The Curious Dilemma of the Bitcoin 'Community' Going Separate Ways
A great majority of bitcoin core developers refuse to support Segwit2x.

Overall Sentiment Across Social Media and Forums Shows Divorce Seems More Likely

The author with very strong opinions is not the only one who feels this way. While visiting the top Bitcoin-related Reddit forums r/btc and r/bitcoin the sentiment of compromise in threads and discussions are far and few between. On r/btc many believe Segwit is poison and they want nothing to do with the protocol. At r/bitcoin the same is said about a hard fork, and many are shouting UASF with pitchforks calling miners “terrorists” and vowing to dismiss compromising on raising the block size limit.

Bitcoin software developers are also fighting back and forth over Reddit forums and Twitter. Even though there is a large majority of the network hashrate signaling support for a compromise, most of the vocal core development team has shown they vehemently oppose Segwit2x at the moment. Alongside this, there are many teams that aim to go beyond the core developer’s protocol by building alternative bitcoin client implementations of their own.

The Curious Dilemma of the Bitcoin 'Community' Going Separate Ways

Whatever Happens, the Bitcoin Network Will Grow Stronger

Sadly enough it doesn’t seem like the infighting will end anytime soon and even if an agreement happens, there will likely be more severe disagreements in the future. A divorce may be the best path forward as the two sides of the debate can finally go their separate ways. The question of which bitcoin will hold the network affect, branding and majority of users will ultimately be decided by the market. If we all do decide to split up, the market price will likely fracture into two unequally valued tokens and the fight about who is “Bitcoin” might be worse than what we are dealing with today. 

It really does sadden me that things may end up this way as divorce often feels like a death, but in time individuals, communities and yes even the Bitcoin network will grow stronger no matter what happens. I still love bitcoin, and a compromise could very well happen, but if we split, I think we will all heal just fine from the wounds of the past. I still also believe there are strong incentives for bitcoin enthusiasts to stay together and Segwit2x could very well pull off a compromise. It’ll likely be short term but as a community with a finite lifespan, compared to a protocol that can run for infinity — We could ‘maybe’ work out our community problems for the time being. John and Paul made some good albums, but there was nothing like the fabulous four.  

“Life is very short, and there’s no time for fussing and fighting, my friend, I have always thought that it’s a crime, So I will ask you once again… Try to see it my way, only time will tell if I am right or I am wrong. Why you see it your way there’s a chance that we may fall apart before too long.” ~ The Beatles

What do you think about the current state of the Bitcoin ‘community?’ Do you think the entire community can reconcile and come to consensus as a whole? Or do you think a split in inevitable? Let us know what you think in the comment section below.


Images via Shutterstock, Pixabay, Bitcoin.org, and Twitter.


Do you want to talk about bitcoin in a comfortable (and censorship-free) environment? Check out the Bitcoin.com Forums — all the big players in Bitcoin have posted there, and we welcome all opinions.



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