A programme that activates a major privacy upgrade foris primed and ready. But it has reignited a debate about who’s allowed to press the launch button: the miners that process Bitcoin blocks or the node operators that validate transactions.
The privacy upgrade, called Taproot, makes it harder to distinguish between different Bitcoin transactions, such as multi-signature transactions or opening payment channels on the Lightning Network.
The programme, that launches Taproot, Speedy Trial, grants Bitcoin miners the power to implement the upgrade within three months. If they demur, node operators will likely get to decide.
But Luke Dashjr, a prominent Bitcoin Core developer who’s worked on the network since 2011, wants node operators to come first. He said that Speedy Trial implements a proposal called BIP 9, which node operators rejected in February.
“Community came to consensus on BIP8. These devs are IGNORING that and pushing their own agenda instead. It is an attack on Bitcoin, not a good thing,” Dashjr fumed yesterday.
Community came to consensus on BIP8.
These devs are IGNORING that and pushing their own agenda instead.
It is an attack on Bitcoin, not a good thing.
— Luke Dashjr (@LukeDashjr) April 15, 2021
A pseudonymous developer, Bitcoin Mechanic, set up a website in support of Dashjr’s proposal. It encourages Bitcoin node operators to upgrade their clients by November 12.
Fears of a potential split
But others are concerned this could cause a rift and split the network in two—with some miners upgrading their nodes via Speedy Trial and others through Dashjr’s method. This would result in two sets of nodes running two different versions of Bitcoin.
“This is yet another attempt from a (absolutely tiny) minority of people to try to push a change to Bitcoin’s consensus rules onto everyone else – hijacking Bitcoin,” said former Bitcoin developer and open source engineer at Square Crypto, Matt Corallo.
Even worse, this is yet another attempt from a (absolutely tiny) minority of people to try to push a change to Bitcoin's consensus rules onto everyone else – hijacking Bitcoin.
— Matt Corallo (@TheBlueMatt) April 16, 2021
A pseudonymous anarchist known as Cobra, who was the lead maintainer for the Bitcoin.org website, replied to Dashjr, stating, “Yeah but it’s a bit dangerous to run different consensus rules willy-nilly isn’t it? I mean this is a trillion dollar network now.”
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