On October 11, the web portal Bitcoin.org published its controversial hard fork warning update that contains a list of companies and services that have pledged to support the Segwit2x hard fork this November. The website operators believe the 2MB fork is not supported by the majority of users and developers within the bitcoin ecosystem, and therefore consider the Segwit2x project a shift towards an incompatible “altcoin.”
Bitcoin.org Publishes Controversial Warning Update
After Bitcoin.org shamed Segwit2x supporters, cryptocurrency proponents quarreled about the warning over social media. Some praising the move, while others called it a disgrace. Bitmain Technologies founder Jihan Wu had the announcement translated to Chinese.
Just recently news.Bitcoin.com reported on the owners of Bitcoin.org suggesting the site should add a hard fork warning, and denounce bitcoin businesses supporting Segwit2x. Of course, the request was met with a bit of controversy, but the warning was pushed forward by the site’s maintainers. Now the statement has been published on the website, and a red banner linked to the warning can be found on every page located on the portal’s domain.
“A subsection of the Bitcoin economy including prominent businesses such as Coinbase, Xapo, and Bitpay have signed an agreement to adopt and implement a contentious hard fork of Bitcoin sometime in November,” explains Bitcoin.org’s warning statement. “A hard fork is a backwards incompatible change to the Bitcoin network. This hard fork is not supported by the majority of the Bitcoin users and developers and is, therefore, a contentious hard fork.”
By adopting this hard fork, we believe the supporters of this agreement are shifting their users to an alternative currency (an altcoin) which is incompatible with Bitcoin.
‘Blind Trust’ Towards Bitcoin Miners
Bitcoin.org’s statement also details that miners are mainly responsible for “transaction ordering, putting transactions into blocks, and collectively creating a chain of these blocks.” The organization explains that most wallets “blindly trust” the longest chain’s records according to miners. However, Bitcoin.org says there is a significant amount of miners who “support the contentious hard fork.”
“Therefore the longest chain as seen by most mobile wallets may not be the true blockchain — As a result of this, spending money from a mobile wallet during a hard fork is dangerous,” Bitcoin.org’s warning states.
You will be vulnerable to many attacks as your wallet is not aware that the miners are breaking the consensus rules on the longest chain.
‘Consensus Isn’t an Attack; It is How Bitcoin is Designed to Function’
Further, the warning announcement details that people should reference Bitcoin.org, Bitcointalk.org and the /r/bitcoin Reddit forum to make sure things are safe. The website then lists 59 bitcoin-based companies and services that have pledged to support the hard fork. This includes wallet providers, miners, exchanges, and other types of businesses.
Of course, the warning post was controversial between members of both sides of the scaling debate. As usual, a good portion of the /r/bitcoin forum community applauded the warning announcement, while at the same time the /r/btc community didn’t like the statement. At the Github repository where Bitcoin.org organizes the website’s code, there were also people who disagreed with Cobra Bitcoin’s decision to apply the warning banner. “NACK — This PR as it stands is deceiving,” explains one reviewer adamantly against the warning post. “Consensus isn’t an attack; it is how bitcoin is designed to function — Beyond the fundamental misunderstanding, the writing is self-indulgent and has a sense of viciousness to it.”
Collaborating with Jeff Garzik to write something more neutral would likely be a good course of action if the goal is to end up with something informative rather than inflammatory. Education is a great goal, and it does seem to be at least part of the motivation behind this PR — the way it is presented seems like something a ministry of propaganda would produce.
The warning is also being discussed on social media like Twitter causing even more debates. “Glad to see many of the rational comments regarding Bitcoin.org ‘s highly political message today. — It has some facts, for sure, combined with lots of opinions and propaganda — It’s partisan and political,” Shapeshift founder Erik Voorhees explains to his Twitter followers.
What do you think of Bitcoin.org’s warning message? Do you think it is too opinionated and political or do you think it is factual and necessary? Let us know your opinions in the comments below.
Images via Github, Bitcoin.org, and Pixabay.
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