Who Should Decide For Bitcoin: True Decentralization Need Not Be Absolute
The voting power in crypto communities is doomed to be partially centralized in one way or another, so certain power concentration is natural.
The current Bitcoin scaling conflict boils down not only to technology but also to money, politics and the understanding of democracy in the crypto community. Both factions are claiming that the other one is trying to prevent Bitcoin’s growth or take it under control. There are also theories abound that insist the opposite side is waging an information war, secretly funded by big money (Blockstream for SegWit and Roger Ver for BU).
The understanding of democracy is also very important. We wrote how a fork of Dash, PIVX, have embarked on a project that they claim will achieve absolute decentralization within the DLT community. They believe that Satoshi’s original intention was a community where millions of individuals would be mining away on their GPUs, thereby suggesting how to achieve an absolutely democratic community.
Who decides for Bitcoin
In the various DLT (Distributed Ledger Technology) communities currently in existence, power and control appear to have become partially centralized. This is evident by the existence of massive mining farms in the Bitcoin Blockchain technology and the systems of masternode acquisition in other communities like Dash.
The power to vote on any new development within these communities, therefore, is determined by the extent of hashing power or masternodes controlled by members of the communities. This implies that the decisions of the few miners happen to override whatever the larger population may want within the community.
Hesham Rehman of Bitxoxo says:
“Some communities and big mining pools are trying to control Bitcoin but I think they will fail.”
He explains: “Though I would refer to Bitcoin as a technology rather than just a currency, like every technology needs some upgrade from time to time, Bitcoin Core would also need some upgrade. Like in previous days we saw BTU fork. But I think that the change in Bitcoin technology should take place considering the opinions of the global Bitcoin community rather than imposition by a group of people.”
More miners is the key
Rehman thinks that the issue of the Bitcoin network being controlled by a few individuals arises because of the limited number of users in the Bitcoin community. According to him, considering the total population of the world, only about 1-2 percent of the people understand Bitcoin and the technology behind it.
There are even fewer Bitcoin miners in the market. When more and more users get involved in Bitcoin generally, and mining, in particular, the perceived centralization would be abolished and the mining hash power would simultaneously divide. This, he says, will end the monopoly of some miners holding a considerable percentage of global mining hash power.
Rehman also tells Cointelegraph that his company, Bitxoxo.com, has embarked on a mission to spread the awareness and power of Bitcoin in India and other countries around the world by arranging regular meetups, seminars, events, etc. This, he says, in its own little way will contribute to attracting more users to Bitcoin and consequently enhance decentralization.
Nature abhors absolute decentralization
On the other hand, lead developer at Expanse, Christopher Franko, views the perceived power concentration within the DLT community as a natural phenomenon.
“Power, influence, matter itself all coagulate and condense eventually. If it didn’t we wouldn’t be here. I mean, that is just the natural order of the universe.”
Franko adds that even the argument that “everyone should be mining with their GPUs in an absolute democracy” is kind of misleading because it’s still not an absolute monopoly.
This he explains by saying that it would still cost capital to get in, although the barrier to entry would be lowered to the cost of the GPUs and their limitations. However, the ability to acquire a given number of GPUs would still reveal distinction in mining power between users. Therefore, a user with more hashing power will essentially have a greater say in the future direction of the Blockchain.
“It’s still the rich getting richer and consolidating power while the poor wish they could participate but have to settle for the crumbs gotten from mining pools or find other avenues to obtain the power they seek.”