Despite being roundly rejected by a vocal majority of the Bitcoin Cash community, a controversial miner’s tax is still causing rifts among the coin’s adherents.
In January, a conglomerate of Bitcoin Cash mining companies suggested an enforced 12.5% tax on BCH miners as a way of funding community development. After weeks of debate, the main signatories of the tax plan (comprising a majority of Bitcoin Cash mining power) reversed their decision, and the Infrastructure Funding Plan, or IFP, was dropped.
Bitcoin Cash miner’s tax still a possibility?
Merely a month away from the next Bitcoin Cash technical update, the IFP protocol remains embedded in the Bitcoin ABC code. This has triggered another round of debate within BCH ranks, with many pondering the wisdom of leaving an apparently unnecessary attack vector in place.
With a majority of BCH users opposed to the IFP, its presence in the code leaves open the possibility of a malicious miner deciding to activate the protocol. If enough hashpower was pledged in favour of activating the funding plan, it would effectively veto the wishes of the Bitcoin Cash community at large.
One commenter on the Bitcoin Cash subreddit demanded to know why the IFP code was still in place, and what it meant for the future of Bitcoin Cash development:
“Does the IFP remain in the code until the next hard fork? (and then removed in the next hardfork). Does the IFP remain in the code in perpetuity? (Horrifying). Does the IFP remain in the code and able to be activated at any point by an influx of miners from core btc? (Also scary).”
Another asked for clear answers from the Bitcoin ABC team (the development group which drives much of Bitcoin Cash development), asking:
“Why can't Bitcoin ABC simply give a clear answer as to why they have decided to leave in the IFP code that they claim to no longer support? I find this comment thread rather disturbing.”
Bitcoin ABC responds
Bitcoin ABC recently launched a voluntary donation drive to raise 14,500 BCH, or $3.3 million USD, in order to help “realize the vision of censorship-resistant P2P electronic cash for the world.” Currently, 43% of that target has been raised, with the donation drive set to last until April 30.
That’s just two weeks before the scheduled BCH update on May 15. This has left some wondering whether the IFP has remained in place as a failsafe incase Bitcoin ABC’s funding goals aren’t met by the end of the month.
Indeed, the Bitcoin ABC business plan for the coming year states clearly why the code for the Infrastructure Funding Plan remains in place:
“If all else fails, miners may be incentivized to implement an infrastructure funding plan that involves a mandatory percentage-based contribution of the Bitcoin Cash block reward to Bitcoin Cash development teams.”
Electron Cash wallet developer, Jonald Fyookball, expressed his displeasure with the above reasoning, noting:
“Well, at least it is some kind of response. Not a very satisfying one though, and it doesn't change the reckless/hostile behavior of actually leaving it in. Reading between the lines, it looks like ABC is using IFP as a bargaining chip.”
Depending on the outcome of Bitcoin ABC’s donation drive this month, could that bargaining chip be cashed in come hardfork day on May 15?