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What Happened at Satoshi Roundtable III?



Satoshi Roundtable III took place last week in Cancun, Mexico. As is usual for the invite-only, private gathering, attendees have taken to blogs and social media to share their experiences of the event, which is organized annually by Atlantic Financial Chief Investment Officer, Bruce Fenton.

Also Read: Is a ‘Core of Bitcoin Core’ Hostile to Competing Code?


Chatham House Rules: “A Weird Trade off”?

What Happened at Satoshi Roundtable III?

Individuals regularly comment on the good organization on display at Satoshi Roundtables, which take place under Chatham House Rules, whereby identities of attendees, and their ideas, remain private.

On January 30 Open Bazaar developer Brian Hoffman took to Medium to share his thoughts on the meeting. “It’s a bit disappointing to not be able to have the event completely open to others or livestream the conversations, but I understand there are some developers and interested parties that will opt out of participation if their privacy is not protected,” Mr. Hoffman wrote. “It’s a weird trade off.”

Bitcoin Governance Discussed

As transpired at Satoshi Roundtable II in 2016, much discussion revolved around the so-called Bitcoin ‘block size debate’, and the lack of the industry coming to consensus.

“It’s obvious to all in attendance that the whole process was being held up by some individuals who have a good amount of influence and feel burned by the actions of everyone in the last year-and-a-half,” Mr. Hoffman wrote. The Open Bazaar developer, and former Booz Allen Hamilton consultant, noted that miners from China did not show up in notable numbers, and those who did, did not provide much input.

“99% of the people in the room agreed that segwit was a good thing and should be activated,” according to Mr. Hoffman. “It truly seems like it’s a people problem keeping consensus from evolving. Segwit is a complex addition to Bitcoin and we’re all learning that for good or bad there are several perspectives on what Bitcoin is exactly.”

Rick Falkvinge, the founder of the Swedish Pirate Party, posted on his personal blog about the meeting. He said many called for “segwit adoption and activation now” and expressed thoughts that “Chinese miners are ‘blocking the process’ by not signaling, deploying and activating segwit”, basically“because they should be doing so.”

Mr. Falkvinge disagreed with many in the room. He revealed statements he made during his allotted speaking time: “…we (people in the room) are acting like a Toyota boardroom who are trying to make a decision that every family should buy the latest Toyota model.  ‘It doesn’t work like that’, he said, according to himself. “We’re not the Soviet Politburo commanding a planned economy. The reality of the situation is that we’ve made the market an offer, and the market is rejecting our offer.” He recounted a call for Satoshi Roundtable attendees to act as leaders.

Bitcoin Leadership

What Happened at Satoshi Roundtable III?

“We need to act like the leaders we are,” an unnamed person reportedly said, “and not tolerate bad attitude in the discussions: at the very least, we need to act as good examples and not foster a bad atmosphere.” Mr. Falkvinge concludes Bitcoin lacks project management.

“There’s no clear vision of what the community wants Bitcoin to be, who the customer is, or what problem it should solve,” he stated on his blog. “This is maybe best illustrated by the rather random statement ‘It’s now clear that microtransactions have been priced out by rising transaction fees’, as one person stated in the meetings. Mr. Falkvinge also cherry-picked one particularly fruitful comment made at the meeting: 

“Blockchain technology is an extinction event to traditional financial institutions,” the Swedish Pirate Party founder recounted. “Like the dinosaurs, a few will survive by morphing into agile birds at a small fraction of their previous weight and size, but most will just die.”


Images Courtesy of the previous Satoshi Roundtables, Rick Falkvinge.


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