Challenges for the Bitcoin community by the war of the size of the blocks by Joi Ito

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Joi Ito, MIT Media Lab director wrote:

Partially driven by excess investment in space, and in part given that Bitcoin is even more focused on money than what Internet has been, Bitcoin is experiencing a crisis that really has no parallel to the earliest days of the Internet. However, the creation of the internet offers some important lessons – especially in the issue of talent and knowledge. In those early days, and in some levels maybe even still today, only had a small number of people who had the experience, the type of brain and personality to understand some of the main elements that allowed the development of the Internet. I remember when there were only a handful of people in the world who really understand the Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) and we had to attract them and share them with our “competitors”, when we were preparing PSINet in Japan.

Something very similar happens now with the Bitcoin and the Blockchain. There are a small number of people who understand about cryptography, systems, networks, and code and are able to understand the code of the Bitcoin software. Most of them are working in Bitcoin, while some are working in Ethereum and other “related” systems and some more are scattered all over the world in other sites. It is a community, including some people carrying on this since the early 1990s, before the Web, who went to crazy conferences as the Conference of Financial Cryptography. Same as any community of free software and Internet open source, it’s a group of people who know each other and for the most part, even though not always, respected each other but which fundamentally have a monopoly on talent.

Unfortunately, the uncontrolled growth of the Bitcoin and now “the Blockchain” has caught by surprise to this community from the perspective of governance, leading Bitcoin main developers to be unable to interact effectively with the commercial interests of those whose business depends on the scalability of technology. When asked “does this can be scaled?” They say: “Let’s do it as best as we can”. That was not good enough for many, especially those who don’t understand the architecture or the nature of what it is the Bitcoin.

Many companies that are adapt to make decisions about less complicated systems – such as the construction of a web site or buy and operate enterprise management systems – believed that they could, either simply hire other engineers who listen better the needs of the client, or that don’t match with the attitude of “we can’t promise it, but let’s try of” from the major developers, that they have lowered their standards and they have gone with anybody who promised to satisfy their demands.

The future of the Bitcoin, decentralized accounting books and other Blockchain projects depends on this community. Many people call them “Bitcoin Core” as if they were some sort of company that can be fired or a random set of developers with skills that could be absorbed by others. But they are not. They are more like artists, scientists, and engineers of precision who have built a culture and a shared language. Find another group of people to do what they do would be like asking to web designers to launch a space shuttle. It can’t be FIRED to a community and, statistically speaking, people who work in Bitcoin ARE the community.

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