The demands of the Bitcoin core developer faction for a hard fork to Bitcoin XT have resurfaced.

It has been a hot and wild week throughout the Bitcoin community during the hottest month of the year. A non-consensus-based “hard fork” may be fast approaching, with the charge led once again by Bitcoin core developers Gavin Andresen and Mike Hearn.

r/Bitcoin Moderator and alleged Satoshi Nakamoto Weigh In

You can assume things are beginning to reach “critical mass” in this community debate when Reddit Mods and the Bitcoin creator are speaking directly on the issue. Leading Reddit r/Bitcoin moderator Theymos took some time off and has had to get the board that had run amuck in order.

Theymos had a lot to say about posts, trolling and Bitcoin’s future (click here for his views in their entirety). Regarding the rising potential for an XT “hard fork”, he posted the following statement in the forum on Sunday night, particularly about the need for “consensus” on such a major change. (For the particulars of what is being proposed and why regarding Bitcoin block size from 1 MB, click here and here for our previous coverage.)

“I know almost for certain that there is no consensus to the change in XT because Bitcoin core developers Wladamir, Greg, and Pieter are opposed to it. That's enough to block consensus. And it works both ways: if Gavin and Mike are strongly opposed to Pieter's BIP, then this will also block consensus on that BIP. Other than the core devs, big Bitcoin companies (especially Coinbase, BitPay, and exchanges) could block consensus, as could large groups of average users who are collectively capable of making reasonable arguments and exerting economic force.”

Theymos also mentions the commentary on Saturday of someone on the mailing list. This person claims to be Bitcoin founder Satoshi Nakamoto. This user is using the same email Nakamoto had been known to use previously before his disappearance, according to Theymos. His identity cannot be definitively verified as Nakamoto, but his view of the Bitcoin XT debate is fairly one-sided in its opposition.

“The developers of this pretender-Bitcoin claim to be following my original vision, but nothing could be further from the truth.  When I designed Bitcoin, I designed it in such a way as to make future modifications to the consensus rules difficult without near unanimous agreement.  Bitcoin was designed to be protected from the influence of charismatic leaders, even if their name is Gavin Andresen, Barack Obama, or Satoshi Nakamoto.  Nearly everyone has to agree on a change, and they have to do it without being forced or pressured into it.  By doing a fork in this way, these developers are violating the "original vision" they claim to honour.”

The messages from this alleged Nakamoto go on to imply that those in favor of the Bitcoin XT hard fork have twisted his previous statements to bolster their position. His position is that many things have changed since then, and those previous positions may not be valid in the current situation, many years later.

“They use my old writings to make claims about what Bitcoin was supposed to be.  However I acknowledge that a lot has changed since that time, and new knowledge has been gained that contradicts some of my early opinions.  For example, I didn't anticipate pooled mining and its effects on the security of the network…..I suspect we need a better incentive for users to run nodes instead of relying solely on altruism,” the claimed founder Nakamoto states.

“If two developers can fork Bitcoin and succeed in redefining what "Bitcoin" is, in the face of widespread technical criticism and through the use of populist tactics, then I will have no choice but to declare Bitcoin a failed project.  Bitcoin was meant to be both technically and socially robust.  This present situation has been very disappointing to watch unfold.”

Whether this unconfirmed Nakamoto is the real Bitcoin founder or not, he and Theymos agree that a solid consensus of opinion is needed before any hard forks are rendered into the global Bitcoin system. Bitcoin XT proponents have tried to gain a political victory in the court of public opinion, but none seem forthcoming.

Their intentions may indeed be righteous and even justified, but such actions will definitely need to be well-vetted by active protocol participants before becoming a part of Bitcoin’s operating system. Bitcoin is not here for a couple of core developers to personally micro-manage. This seems to be the only consensus the Bitcoin community has come to.