Gavin Andresen: Developers Resisting On-Chain Solutions Are ‘Wrong’

Gavin Andresen: Developers Resisting On-Chain Solutions Are ‘Wrong’

Bitcoin developer Gavin Andresen has recently expressed a few “thoughts” concerning the happenings at the Satoshi Roundtable. The event held by Bruce Fenton in Florida this year had quite a bit of industry executives and developers in the crowd. In 2015, the Roundtable meeting was a very social function, but this year, Andresen said the block size debate “dominated the entire weekend.”

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Gavin Andresen: No Consensus at Roundtable Meeting

Gavin AndresenAt one point during the event attendees were asked whether or not they agreed with the consensus at the Scaling Workshop in Hong Kong. Andresen says this was a “key moment” at the Roundtable meeting. Roughly a dozen people who supported the “Hong Kong compromise” raised their hands. Andresen said that at least 40 to 50 people raised their hands in opposition to the roadmap.

Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong also attended, and seemed to have a hard time with some of the crowd. Armstrong also explains over his Medium blog there wasn’t much of a consensus during the event. Communication with certain individuals with high IQs was described as awry and “lacked maturity.” He walked away as many others did knowing there were no agreements made. He states in his blog post:

I think the organizers of the conference were hoping for some sort of consensus (like what happened in Hong Kong), however it became clear by the end that the divide was too great.”    

Andresen then goes on to say that the discussion of hash power voting had taken place. He says, “In particular, a plan was presented that had a three month grace period after 95% of hashpower voted yes and 75% of coin-age-weighted-transaction volume-in-some time period also indicated support.” A group of people spent hours speaking on the subject but came to no consensus. He said 95% of mining voting is a problem for some miners. While it seems the 75% coin-age voting idea is interesting to Andresen, it’s more complicated with detailed specifics. Then writing and reviewing the code would take “months” he says, and doesn’t see this as an option. Andresen concludes:

“Over the last year of trying, and failing, to reach a reasonable compromise, it has become clear to me that some developers don’t want any on-chain scaling solution any time soon. They believe more theoretically elegant (but technically complicated) off-chain solutions like the Lightning Network are a better long-term scaling solution, and they believe that by resisting a simple limit increase we will get to that long-term solution faster.”

Satoshi RoundtableAfter this statement Andresen states, “They are wrong,” and feels the network is in dire need of a scalable solution. He believes off-chain resolutions are the wrong direction because they will become “centralized ‘clearing’” agreements between exchanges, miners and merchants. Andresen says the Chinese exchange BTCC has already started this type of action already with its BlockPriority service. The developer said he doesn’t blame the company for making this move as it made “perfect business sense.”

Even though these methods make sense from a business aspect it’s “unhealthy” says Andresen. He states, “ It is however a symptom of an unhealthy network that is becoming increasingly unreliable and vulnerable to attacks.”

Paul Snow of Factom attended the event as well and called Gavin’s summary “spot on.” Furthermore, Snow says, “There did seem to be a willingness to push forward. Brian Armstrong has publicly promoted the idea of competition between development teams, so it is fair game to mention him and his statement here. Hurt feelings aside, sometimes competition is what it takes to make progress, and I hope Bitcoin Core can come to accept that.”

Andresen feels the off-chain market will grow too centralized and is the wrong path for the decentralized currency. The debate continues with fury as his blog post is read and discussed on forums such as Reddit. 

What do you think about Gavin’s opinion? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Pixbay, Satoshi Roundtable, and Wiki Commons