Posts Tagged ‘Mike Hearn’

Ready And Waiting

January 19, 2016 Leave a comment


Because of the steadfast stubbornness of the Bitcoin Core software development team to refuse to raise the protocol’s maximum block size in a timely fashion, three software forks are ready and waiting in the wings to save the day if the Bitcoin network starts to become overly unreliable due to continuous growth in usage.


So, why would the Bitcoin Core team drag its feet for 2+ years on solving the seemingly simple maximum block issue? Perhaps it’s because some key members of the development team, most notably Greg Maxwell, are paid by a commercial company whose mission is to profit from championing side-chain technology: Greg Maxwell is a Blockstream co-founder.

I don’t know the deployment status of Bitcoin Unlimited or Bitcoin Classic, but I do know that a number of key Bitcoin community players experimented with running the Bitcoin XT software (authored by long-time, dedicated Bitcoiner Gavin Andresen and former Bitcoiner Mike Hearn). The Bitcoin Core team was so offended by the transgression that either they and/or their followers executed a series of DDoS attacks on XT nodes to punish the offenders and coerce the infidels to revert back to running the Bitcoin Core code.

Since the date on which Bitcoin XT’s increased maximum block size functionality was supposed to kick in has expired, some people have said that Bitcoin XT has outright failed. However, BD00 thinks that Bitcoin¬† XT and/or its siblings will be adopted quicker than you can say “Blockstream” if the Bitcoin network becomes systemically unusable under a frozen Bitcoin Core code base. After all, there is at least $6 billion dollars of market value and $1 billion dollars of investment capital staked on the success of Bitcoin. So if push comes to shove, Bitcoin Core just might get shoved out into the cold by the rest of the community (users, miners, exchanges).

Dead… Yet Again

January 16, 2016 Leave a comment


Five years ago, Mike Hearn left a great job at Google and joined the small cadre of dedicated Bitcoin Core programmers that propelled the technology to where it is today – on the cusp of becoming a hugely disruptive force in the oligarchic, klepto-world of finance. However, in a highly publicized blog post, Mike said “good riddance” to Bitcoin. In a fit of disgust, he sold all his bitcoins and boldly declared the Bitcoin experiment a failure.

Mike threw in the towel because, after two years (and still counting), the rancorous “Maximum Block Size” (MBS)¬† debate is still raging across a fractured Bitcoin community. Currently, the maximum transaction block size is hard-coded into the Bitcoin Core source code as 1MB.


This 1MB max size handcuffs the protocol’s throughput to approximately 7 transactions per second. Compared to established payment systems like PayPal, which can handle hundreds of thousand of transactions per second, 7 tps is a drop in the bucket and a major hindrance to scaling Bitcoin up to hundreds of millions of users (the current estimate of users is (I think) around 1 million).

In one MBS camp, we have those who want to keep the maximum block size as is and concoct some fancy-schmancy, risky, pervasive code changes to scale Bitcoin up. In the other camp, we have the “Keep It Simple, Stupid” (KISS) group, of which Mike Hearn was a member. Unlike the former group, which likes to jawbone a lot without releasing any code, the KISS group, led by Mike and Gavin Andresen, actually released working code that allows for larger block sizes in the form of “Bitcoin XT“.

But alas, Bitcoin XT did not succeed. Not enough miners chose to run the code. Incredibly, those miners and businesses that did deploy Bitcoin XT were hit with DDoS attacks from advocates of the fancy-schmancy camp.

Shortly after Mike’s post went public, the doomsayers came out of the woodwork yet again. The press has had a field day:

I guess it’s time to add to the 88 obituaries already documented on the “Bitcoin Obituaries” site. Mike’s post isn’t featured there yet, but I’m guessing it will be soon. As for me, I’m stickin’ with Bitcoin for the long haul – boom or bust.



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