Bitcoin Software Wars: The Battle Between Nodes, Hashpower and Developers
While many bitcoiners have been focused on the competition between Bitcoin (BTC) and Bitcoin Cash (BCH), another significant battle is taking place. Many grueling arguments between bitcoin Core developers and their supporters, Segwit2x (Btc1) developers and proponents of the New York Agreement continue to fuel tension throughout the entire cryptocurrency community. Also read: Gibraltar Gets First […]
While many bitcoiners have been focused on the competition between Bitcoin (BTC) and Bitcoin Cash (BCH), another significant battle is taking place. Many grueling arguments between bitcoin Core developers and their supporters, Segwit2x (Btc1) developers and proponents of the New York Agreement continue to fuel tension throughout the entire cryptocurrency community.
The Ferocious Battle Between Two Camps: Core and Segwit2x
As news.Bitcoin.com reported last week, there’s been a lot of drama across the web concerning Segwit2x and the bitcoin Core reference client. It started with Bitpay’s statement which gave Bitcore nodes the choice to use Segwit2x software, instead of the Core reference client as a form of upgrade. Since then Core developers/supporters and Segwit2x developers/supporters have been battling ferociously. These fights were followed by Bitpay and its services being removed from Bitcoin.org, and early Bitcoin adopter and developer Jeff Garzik was removed from the Core repository on Github. Then Bitcoincore.org, a website that represents the official code base, released a statement called “Correcting Misinformation on Segwit2x and Btc1.”
“Btc1 is not connected to bitcoin Core in any way,” explains Core’s official announcement. “No regular bitcoin Core contributors support btc1 or have any connection to the project, nor were any involved in the design of its proposed hard fork.”
We strongly advise users not to download any Bitcoin full-node software claiming to be an ‘upgrade’ to Bitcoin’s consensus rules without carefully considering the impact of the proposed changes on the Bitcoin system and the level of community support for it. This includes proposed consensus changes in new releases of Bitcoin Core.
Replay Attack Prevention
The battle has also revolved around discussions of a replay attack which is a network attack where Unspent Transaction Outputs (UTXO) are valid on both chains and used dishonestly. Without replay attack protection a malicious actor can replay the transaction on one chain and also fraudulently claim coins on the other chain. For August 1 the Bitcoin Cash network implemented strong replay attack protection which prevented these issues, and the split was a clean break. Segwit2x (Btc1) software does not have replay attack protection at the current time, and this has been a bone of contention for Core developers. So far, Segwit2x developer Jeff Garzik has received most of the backlash for his participation with the Btc1 code base, hence his removal from Core’s Github.
Core Developer Eric Lombrozo Threatens Cyber-Attackers With Both Technical and Legal Action
Bitcoin Core developer Eric Lombrozo says Segwit2x “constitutes a serious cyber-attack” and says action against it will be implemented in both technical and legal form. The problem with this argument is that opposition believes the majority hashpower and business support will be enough for consensus. Further Bcoin & Btc1 developer, Christopher Jeffrey, and many others think Gavin Andresen’s op-return method is sufficient.
“Gavin Andresen‘s anti-replay patch carries with it the benefit of preventing the 1mb chain from ever reorging the 2mb chain,” software developer Christopher Jeffrey explains. “As soon as an OP_RETURN [segwit2x] transaction is mined on the 1mb chain, the 1mb chain is now invalid in the eyes of the HF code. I think this should be implemented for both anti-replay and anti-reorg benefits.”
Three days ago Jeff Garzik explained that the opt-in replay protection created by Andresen “seems like something they could merge.” Others Segwit2x supporters believe the majority hashpower will be what’s more decisive, because if 90 percent of the hashrate pushes the Segwit2x’s hard fork through, Core software would likely have to split off. This will lead to the legacy chain retaining very little hashrate with a tough mining difficulty. Further, Jeff Garzik asks his Twitter followers why Core hasn’t added replay attack protection by stating;
Any idea when bitcoin Core will add replay protection? There’s a whole lot of “For Thee, But Not For Me” going on.
‘The Goal Is to Be Bitcoin — Not Create an Altcoin’
The Segwit2x and Core battle seems like it will relentlessly continue over the course of the next few months until November. The war of what software is “bitcoin” will likely rage on between investors, miners, developers, and businesses. For instance, Bitwala published a blog post on August 22 that details the company did sign the New York Agreement, but at the end of the day Bitwala will stick to using the Core code base as the company’s default reference client. Meanwhile, Segregated Witness (Segwit) will go live on the network within the next 48-hours.
The Segwit2x working group seems like it will continue moving forward with its goals and the hard fork scheduled in the roadmap. “The goal of Segwit2x is to upgrade Bitcoin — to be Bitcoin — not create an altcoin,” explains Jeff Garzik on the working group’s Github repo.
What do you think about the drama between Core supporters and Segwit2x supporters? Do you think this issue will be resolved amicably or do you think bickering will continue? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
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