Bitcoin losses had come mainly from company failures like Mt Gox, Fenton said, and even “clogging” of the Bitcoin network recently due to transaction volumes had not resulted in users losing any money.
Frank Discussion of Bitcoin Issues
“Is this the end?” RT presenter Sophie Shevardnadze asked Fenton, citing recent Bitcoin brouhahas such as the block size debate, scaling proposals, and Mike Hearn’s infamous “rage quit,” in which he declared the Bitcoin experiment “failed.”
Shevardnadze also questioned whether Bitcoin had become too centralized, with “only five people” deciding whether or not to implement changes to the protocol.
Fenton went over the main attributes that have contributed to Bitcoin’s success: using it is entirely voluntary, as is contributing and accepting code to the protocol. There is no leader, and those with influence in the community have it because a majority of participants allow it.
Bitcoin is open source and anyone with an interest is free to contribute, he added.
Fenton: Scaling Issues ‘Will be Fixed’
When questioned further on the scaling issue, Fenton pointed out that disagreements were not over whether Bitcoin needed to accommodate greater transaction volumes, but how a scaling solution should be implemented.
“It’s certainly something that needs to be fixed, and it will be fixed. There isn’t any disagreement on that.”
Shevardnadze asked if Bitcoin is too much of a “utopian” idea, with problems caused by the very lack of regulation that Bitcoin uses as a selling point. Fenton replied:
“I don’t think that these problems are due to lack of regulation. Adding more politicians into the mix wouldn’t solve this kind of situation. Politicians cause gridlock all the time, and especially, in the technical matters, they really wouldn’t add any efficiency into this.”
Other topics discussed included whether Bitcoin was “anonymous” and facilitated crime and terrorism, whether governments might move to “ban” Bitcoin were it to become too popular, and whether the relatively small number of large bitcoin holders could crash the market with individual decisions.
When Bitcoin Meets Mainstream Media
The interview also highlighted some of the difficulties the mainstream media and public at large face when discussing Bitcoin and cryptocurrency technology. There is a seeming obsession with personalities, leaders, authority figures and organizations. The concept of a leaderless and decentralized project is still hard to grasp.
Although its presenters generally take a critical approach to Bitcoin, the English-language version of RT (Russia Today) has shown a keen interest in the past. It’s a particular favorite of Max Keiser on his program The Keiser Report.
This is in contrast to policy in the news channel’s homeland, Russia, which has been at times overtly hostile to cryptocurrency development.
Do you agree with Bruce Fenton? Let us know in the comments below!
Images courtesy of Russia Today, Pixabay, Bruce Fenton.