The /r/btc China Dispatch: Episode 7 - Why Are There No Core Developers of the Bitcoin Code in China?
Happy Sunday morning, /btc! In this weekend edition of the /btc China Dispatch we take a look at a discussion within the Chinese bitcoin community that tackles the question of why there are no notable Chinese developers in the bitcoin space. Some of you have requested more “China specific” content that’s not necessarily related to the ongoing problem with Core, so I thought the following thread would make for some lighter reading. The source text of the original thread can be found here. Note that I have notified the readers of the original thread that a translation will be put up here, so some of the original participants in the thread may come here to read your thoughts on the above question. I will do the best I can to translate any interesting responses by Chinese users to this thread later on. [OP] Subject: Why Are There No Chinese Core Developers of the Bitcoin Code? Posted by altcoin @Shentu_Qingchun It used to be that bitcoin core developers were just contributors who were self-selected from the wider community and they had no significant financial interest in bitcoin’s success or failure. Currently 5 core developers have already joined Blockstream as well as other related companies so they currently have more significant financial interests which is good for bitcoin’s development. The fact that China does not have any core developers is not consistent with China’s trading volume and hash power, so I hope that one or more large companies will produce 1 - 2 core developers to increase China’s voice [in the ecosystem]. Personally I would like to vote for Shentu Qingchun Poll Results So Far:
Shentu Qingchun - 30.43% (7)
007 Longshao - 4.35% (1)
Pan Zhibiao - 0.00% (0)
Other - 65.22% (15)
[Response 1] Posted by Bitechui I’m not sure who to vote for. Either China doesn’t have enough money to support a core developer or bitcoin is just not important as far as China is concerned. [Response 7] Posted by Bitcoin Hotpot There’s no barrier to becoming a core developer, anyone can go and participate but you’re not guaranteed to be accepted by the community. I think that the reason that China for the time being hasn’t produced a core developer is pretty simple: everyone is busy making fiat, getting married, buying a house and raising two kids. No matter what you do you need money, so you might as well make as much as you can. No one has the time to be idealistic before they have achieved financial freedom. [Response 10] Posted by vatten Miners are more useful than anything else, as far as China is concerned. Ultimately the developers have to follow the wishes of the miners. Capital is king while technical expertise is not worth as much. [Response 11] Posted by jb9802 Given that China has such a large cohort of miners, we should also have at least one developer otherwise we have no say in deciding policy. [Response 12] Posted by 510685947 Mining is all that Chinese people know how to do. There’s no one out there capable of grappling with low-level core code. [Response 14] Posted by jb9802 @510685947 The key issue is that Chinese people are too short-sighted. For example, take the current block size cap issue: the ultimate decision on what policy to pursue lies with the Chinese miners. If everyone just fully supported Gavin bitcoin could be upgraded without any issues whatsoever, thereby protecting the interests of the miners and bitcoin as a whole. If they wait for the Core mafia to chase all the users off the main chain and then they change the algorithm of the main chain then the miners are going to get wrecked. [Response 15] Posted by DogeCoin-Keeper Could it be that the character of Chinese people is not held in high regard outside of China? [Response 16] Posted by DogeCoin-Keeper @jb9802 If they changed the algorithm as a hard fork then existing mining equipment could still be used, it would just be a different chain. One of the two chains would die. [Response 17] Posted by jb9802 @DogeCoin-Keeper The core team has shown through their behavior that they lack standards. Bitcoin would be more stable if leadership were given to Gavin after forking.
The long and winding path that led us to where we are today, broken down by major events
I want to be clear, this is my interpretation. As a former /bitcoin subscriber I know this is not the way these events are viewed in that subreddit, but this description is my honest understanding up to this point:
Shortly after Satoshi Nakamoto publicly released bitcoin to the world he chose two people who would have a significant stewardship role over bitcoin: Gavin Andresen and Theymos (who has a real name but we don't use it often and it might be seen as doxxing).
Satoshi Nakamoto decided it was time for him to end his presence with bitcoin so that his present activities weren't inextricably linked to the growth of bitcoin. (He chose not to be a dictator)
Gavin Andresen was the original lead developer of bitcoin-core after Satoshi went underground but he later took a role as the "Chief Scientist" of bitcoin so that others could focus on developing bitcoin-core. This prevented Gavin from being a dictator of bitcoin (benevolent or otherwise). Theymos managed the public relations side of bitcoin by running bitcointalk.org and moderating /bitcoin.
Several of the post-Gavin bitcoin-core committers founded a company called Blockstream and accepted VC funding. Theymos (mod of /bitcoin and owner of bitcointalk.com) is not publicly affiliated with Blockstream, but the agenda on the forums he moderates is closely aligned to their wishes. Blockstream claims no affiliation with Theymos, and has publicly discouraged censorship in these forums, but they continue to benefit from this censorship to this day.
The current bitcoin-core committers began "re-envisioning" the bitcoin-core roadmap to include blockstream innovations, and the potential for them to profit handsomely. The primary innovation is moving transactions off of the bitcoin network and onto sidechains (see: Lightning Network) that could be more profitable, in this case, bitcoin would only be seen as a settlement layer with very few transactions while other networks would do the heavy lifting. It is possible that this transition is being made to satisfy VC funders who have their own plans for profiting from bitcoin & blockchain tech in general. From this point forward, I may refer to the github for bitcoin-core as "blockstream-core" to point out the shift in vision, please note that blockstream-core is not a real software product.
The chief control point that blockstream-core has leveraged is the size of every blockchain block. Satoshi set the size of each block to 1Mb to reduce spam and openly described the need for that to increase as transaction volume increased. Blockstream-core uses this 1Mb limit to limit the number of transactions in each bitcoin block and promote the illusion that bitcoin is at full capacity, and that raising the 1Mb limit would be disastrous for bitcoin. (Though they have recently acknowledged that the blocksize should be increased, there isn't much evidence of this occurring in blockstream-core.)
Gavin Andresen and Mike Hearn, and other* adherents to the original vision of bitcoin as described by Satoshi Nakamoto in the white paper were upset by unwillingness of blockstream-core to increase the blocksize limit and forked bitcoin-core into clients that would accept larger blocksizes, like bitcoin XT, bitcoin classic, and bitcoin-unlimited (in this case, a fork keeps the original coins, but makes a change to increase the blocksize so that the bitcoin nodes can handle larger blocks, thus eliminating the need for the sidechains mentioned earlier). Note that prior to the blockstream hostage crisis other clients were welcomed and encouraged because they promoted a healthy environment for bitcoin to flourish.
The blockstream-core folks worked diligently to silence the voices of "Satoshi's bitcoin" by publicly regarding anyone who ran a forked bitcoin node as an "altcoin user", and removing discussions of "Satoshi's bitcoin" by heavily censoring their comments in /bitcoin. Theymos, the moderator of /bitcoin states that there is no debate, while quietly banning and deleting any comments and users that do not support blockstream-core. Somewhere along this path Theymos made the mistake that both Satoshi and Gavin avoided - he decided that his most important role was that of dictator. I don't say this resentfully, it's just a matter of record.
Many adherents of Satoshi's bitcoin (rightfully) felt persecuted (and were probably banned) from /bitcoin, so they moved to a new subreddit, /btc.
The CEO of coinbase stated publicly that he was interested in researching what was best for bitcoin, and this included running bitcoin nodes using an increased blocksize limit ("Satoshi's bitcoin"), the blockstream-core followers became upset and since they are managing the github for bitcoin.org, they issued a pull request that removed coinbase.com from bitcoin.org because it promotes an "altcoin" (note, in this case, the altcoin is bitcoin with an increased blocksize limit).
Many people on all sides of the argument believed that Coinbase is a company acting in the best interest of bitcoin - not just Satoshi's bitcoin or blockstream-core, and they recognized that removing coinbase from bitcoin.org would confuse users and lead to questions about coinbase's legitimacy for new users.
Since the appearance of ASIC miners, bitcoin mining has been moving to mining farms in China due to low chip production costs and cheap electricity. From 2014-2016 four large solo miners in China accounted for about 90% of found blocks. (Please help me verify the accuracy of this)
Beginning December of 2015, many blocks were at or near the 1MB capacity. It was not uncommon to see 8-10 hour stretches of time with over 10,000 unconfirmed transactions. Though Blockstream Core had indicated a willingness to increase to a 2MB blocksize, this never materialized. Instead, they described unconfirmed transactions as dust, or the sender was blamed for choosing not to send enough of a fee for the transaction. This caused public frustration for casual users who simply wanted to use the network without engaging in politics.
Around this time, Andreas Antonopolous began describing a concept of "failing gracefully", suggesting that many historical technologies, like the Internet, were perpetually on the brink of being overloaded, but they were successfully maintained by "kicking the can down the road", or only implementing small fixes that would allow the technology to work for a few more months/years. This appeared to be a change in sentiment from Andreas who spent several months lamenting the impending crisis.
In February, 2016 representatives from Blockstream Core went to China to meet with miners regarding Segregrated Witness and the block size. It appeared to those in /btc that the intent of Blockstream Core was to pressure miners in China to side with Blockstream Core's 1MB block size limit and reject a 2MB+ limit. By all outward appearances this goal was achieved.
"The Terminator" is a post made to a Chinese language forum that described a concensus by miners in China to switch to the Bitcoin Classic client and endorse a 2MB hard fork. This is supposedly in response to miners feeling manipulated by the Blockstream Core Devs during the meeting in China and their failure to implement the 2MB hard fork in the Blockstream Core client.
tl;dr: Theymos allowed himself to become a dictator of bitcoin and is currently having some success subverting the original will of Satoshi Nakamoto by becoming deeply involved with a company called blockstream and promoting a malicious groupthink so aggressively that he may actually believe he's doing what's best for bitcoin.
* Readers will note that /bitcoin is 10x larger than /btc, this is not an accurate comparison of argument strength because /bitcoin was founded in 2010 while /btc was founded in 2015. Subscriber base does not equate to active participation. For a more accurate comparison of growth see redditmetrics for bitcoin and redditmetrics for btc. It should also be noted that /bitcoin censors any acknowledgement that /btc exists. I added a few edits to this. Clarifications and suggestions are welcome.
Everipedia's Brave Contributor of the Day: After discovering Bitcoin in 2010, Gavin Andresen created a website called 'The Bitcoin Faucet', which gave away free bitcoin! He would be designated by Satoshi to lead development of Bitcoin core ⛏
Jameson Lopp says the lead Bitcoin maintainer role "is more of a janitorial function than a position of power"... while Gavin Wood says "Vitalik [Buterin] is to all intents and purposes ‘in charge’ of Ethereum."
This is what the censorship in r/bitcoin leads to: New "influencers" (ahem) in the bitcoin world spreading the lies they were told. For example, she smears Gavin Andresen in this video, because that's the historical revisionism that she learned in r/bitcoin.
Satoshi dumped Bitcoin right after Gavin announced he was going to the CIA.
Gavin had just received the alert keys to the Bitcoin network. Right afterwards, he tells Satoshi that he is visiting the CIA. Satoshi leaves for good coincidentally. This is quoted from the defunct Bruce Wagner Bitcoin podcast: Bruce Wagner : When was the last time you chatted to satoshi Gavin Andresen: Um... I haven't had email from satoshi in a couple months actually. The last email I sent him I actually told him I was going to talk at the CIA. So it's possible , that.... that may have um had something to with his deciding Based on this, do you think Gavin fully meets Satoshi's vision for Bitcoin?
Gavin Andresen to członek Bitcoin Foundation i jeden z najważniejszych programistów pracujących nad kodem bitcoina. Niedawno na swoim ... Czytaj więcej. Wiadomości. Gavin Andersen rozwiewa obawy o nadmierną centralizację bitcoina. Autor: 8 listopada 2014. 0 . Dublin Web Summit to wielka (ponad 20 000 uczestników), doroczna konferencja gromadząca wszystkich mających coś do ... — Gavin Andresen (@gavinandresen) May 26, 2020. Andresen started working on Bitcoin in 2010 and was the main developer of the Bitcoin Core client software after the disappearance of Satoshi Nakamoto. In 2012 he founded the Bitcoin Foundation and some even speculated that he is the one hiding behind the pseudonym of Satoshi. In einem kürzlich veröffentlichten Tweet behauptete Gavin Andresen , Bitcoin sei möglicherweise von Blockstream „entführt“ worden. Plausibler: btc wurde von einem Unternehmen namens Blockstream entführt, indem wichtige Entwickler eingestellt und Diskussionen stark zensiert wurden. Aber ich glaube keiner dieser Erzählungen; Es ist traurig, dass sich die Gemeinschaft in boshafte ... Gavin Andresen (geb. Gavin Bell) ist ein Softwareentwickler, der vor allem für seine Beteiligung an Bitcoin bekannt ist. Er hat seinen Sitz in Amherst, Massachusetts. Ursprünglich ein Entwickler von 3D-Grafik- und Virtual-Reality-Software, war er 2010 an der Entwicklung von Produkten für den Bitcoin-Markt beteiligt und wurde von Satoshi Nakamoto zum führenden Entwickler der ... Gavin Andresen, einer der ersten Bitcoin-Entwickler, ist „zu 80% sicher“, dass Ethereum in den nächsten ein bis drei Jahren skalieren wird. Damit wird auch Bitcoins Skalierbarkeitsproblem gelöst, indem „dein BTC vertrauenswürdig mit Token versehen wird“, so dass man dann „mit den umhüllten Token auf der eth2-Chain Transaktionen durchführen“ kann. Bitcoin auf Ethereum? Er ...
Gavin explains Bitcoin Block chain and cryptocurrencies in general
Bitcoin client developer Gavin Andresen speaks about core bitcoin priorities at the 2011 Bitcoin Conference in New York City August 20th 2011. DevCore Boston 2015 l What Satoshi Didn't Know l Gavin Andresen, Bitcoin Foundation - Duration: 35:29. The Bitcoin Foundation 17,159 views. 35:29. Panel Discussion-DevCore Draper University 2015 ... Gavin explains the fundamentals of Bitcoin This Week In Startups. Loading... Unsubscribe from This Week In Startups? Cancel Unsubscribe. Working... Subscribe Subscribed Unsubscribe 140K. Loading ... Gavin Chebor explains Bitcoin, Block chain and cryptocurrencies in general In this video, I talk about Bitcoins what makes Bitcoin bitcoin? Is Bitcoin secure... Gavin Andresen about Bitcoin (at Bitcoin conference in Amsterdam 2014)