It’s almost the second anniversary of Bitcoin Independence Day! Bitcoin is now (almost) 12 years old, but it was two years ago that the believers in its original vision decided to break free from those who wanted to hijack it for their own purposes. Here to discuss it on the latest CoinGeek RoundTable is a group of people who were there at the time—with some very different perspectives on what happened.
�WATCH NOW: Episode 3 of CoinGeek Roundtable is here!
This month our panel of experts will be discussing ‘Independence Day’. Premiering now, exclusively on #Streamanity.
— CoinGeek (@RealCoinGeek) November 13, 2020
What’s Bitcoin Independence Day? Well, it was that day in late November 2018 when a group of long-time Bitcoiners decided that enough was enough, that Bitcoin could only succeed by following its original vision—with the guidance of its original creator.
Not only did those with alternative agendas wish to hijack Bitcoin for their own purposes, they actually had. Once was in 2017 when “Core” developers at BTC had declared firmly they would keep their Bitcoin offspring artificially limited, fundamentally change the way Bitcoin transactions worked, and push out anyone who disagreed. From that divorce emerged BTC and BCH.
BCH, however, was always an uneasy alliance between the realists who understood Bitcoin needed to play nice with the world as it exists, and those who still dreamed of a crypto-anarchist “utopia”—a fantasy world the law somehow couldn’t touch, where everyone was free to transact anonymously with anyone. Only trouble is, after living in that so-called utopia for a while, you learn the hard way why financial rules exist.
And so there was another formal separation. How exactly that happened is still a contentious issue for some; you’ll have to watch the video to hear all about why. But it had a happy ending for the realists, who are now watching the Bitcoin Satoshi Vision ecosystem growing by the day.
As for BCH, it’s now in the process of splintering again, because achieving anarchist unity is like herding thousands of particularly ornery cats. Wealthy anarchists are usually looking to protect their billions and their identities, while non-wealthy believers think striving for regulation-free finance will somehow make them wealthy. It usually does the opposite. As a result of all this, the BCH community spends most of its time arguing about who’s going to pay for its development… with no solution ever being adequate.
So that’s what we talked about on the latest CoinGeek RoundTable. There’s host Kurt Wuckert, Jr. and TrueReviews CEO Connor Murray, BSV-ers from the first second who held online parties on 15 November 2018 to watch Independence Day happen at Block 556766. There’s Centi founder Bernhard Müller, who took more of a “wait and see” approach… and me. Not fully appreciating what was going on, I stuck it out with BCH for a couple months longer in a state of semi-despair, until finally choosing between leaving the Bitcoin industry altogether or siding with the people who seemed to have the right idea.
We talked about the background to and reasons for the split, the BCH miners’ meeting in Bangkok where it became clear the ideological differences weren’t getting solved, and what happened on the day of the split itself. Many, myself included, were looking in from the outside and hoped a fork fought with hashing machines would declare a clear outcome—producing unity. It seems like a ridiculous idea now, but for many of us, it was all we knew. If only I could’ve watched this Bitcoin RoundTable in 2018.
All in all it was a pretty compelling discussion, with myths dispelled and eyes opened. Even though we all ended up in the same place we took different roads to get there, and those are stories in themselves.
We also broke from the past to talk about the current situation, how we think Bitcoin is doing now and why it still seems like an exciting prospect. There’s no talk of price, investments or HODLing—because that is not what’s important. We all agreed Bitcoin has a bright future and is on the right track. None of us regrets the decisions we made.
Watch the full CoinGeek RoundTable Episode 3 on Streamanity.
New to Bitcoin? Check out CoinGeek’s Bitcoin for Beginners section, the ultimate resource guide to learn more about Bitcoin—as originally envisioned by Satoshi Nakamoto—and blockchain.