Bitcoin Cash’s narrow focus on transactions ‘gets it wrong’ because money is only a ‘byproduct’ of a much bigger vision, according to Max Keiser.
Money Only a ‘Byproduct’
Financial pundit and host of The Keiser Report, Max Keiser, has put in his two cents on the Bitcoin scaling debate, stating that focusing on transactions ignores the main reason why the world’s first cryptocurrency was created.
Keiser wrote on Twitter:
Viewing [Bitcoin] narrowly through lens of ‘transactions’ cuts the guts out of why Bitcoin is turning the world upside down.
IMO, this is Satoshi’s Vision. #BitcoinCash gets it wrong on this count. Viewing BTC narrowly through lens of ‘transactions’ cuts the guts out of why #Bitcoin is turning the world upside down. https://t.co/AobRDE6UJZ
— Max Keiser (@maxkeiser) February 18, 2018
Bitcoin was not created to compete with the likes of Visa or SWIFT in terms of speed, cost or even privacy, Keiser opines. Instead, Bitcoin’s ethos is rooted in the Free Software Movement (FSM), the beginnings of which can be traced back to the 1970’s.
FSM is described as a “social movement” with the goal of obtaining and guaranteeing certain freedoms for software users, namely the freedom to run the software, to study and change the software, and to redistribute copies with or without changes, according to Wikipedia.
The movement was formally founded in 1983 by Richard Stallman with the launch of the GNU Project, which was founded on the idea that proprietary software harms users to the benefit of large corporations.
The only thing in the software field that is worse than an unauthorised copy of a proprietary program, is an authorised copy of the proprietary program because this does the same harm to its whole community of users, and in addition, usually the developer, the perpetrator of this evil, profits from it.
Similarly, Bitcoin is free open-source software that users all over the world choose to run on their computers, where the nodes of the network agree on the current state of the network without any central authority. This gives network participants the freedom to establish what is true, which can be a powerful tool against corruption, oppression, and censorship.
In other words, free transactions are not as important as the freedom to make any transaction, because the former can be turned off with the flip of a switch at any time by the central authority.
As Keiser notes:
It’s use as money is actually a byproduct of the much bigger agenda of replacing all software licenses, copyright, patents and monopolies with free software.
Free software = free thinking.
— Max Keiser (@maxkeiser) February 18, 2018
Bitcoin Doesn’t Need a PR Department
Unlike most other projects, Bitcoin’s mysterious founder(s) purposely left an important message in the genesis block that reads:
The Times 03/Jan/2009 Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks.
Besides the timestamp, the message alludes to the instability caused by fractional-reserve banking in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. Presumably, the Bitcoin project is meant to be an antidote to the ills of centrally-controlled fiat currency.
Bitcoin Cash, however, is a fork of Bitcoin that occurred on August 1, 2017. Via larger blocks, it promises cheaper transaction fees by increasing throughput and scaling directly on-chain.
The counterargument is that an increase in block size would merely be a respite for network congestion. Moreover, many experts believe that this approach would make it harder for the average person to run a node at home, resulting in greater centralization.
Microsoft corroborated this position, finding that on-chain scaling would “degrade” the network’s decentralization. Computer scientist and Bitcoin pioneer Nick Szabo called the project “centralized sock-puppetry,” whereas BitGo engineer Jameson Lopp, among other researchers, pointed out that many of Bitcoin Cash nodes appear to be hosted on Alibaba servers in China.
Bitcoin, on the other hand, never had a PR department or marketing budget aimed at persuading people to use it. Yet millions of people around the globe continue to use Bitcoin despite it being admittedly slower and often costlier (not to mention very grandma-unfriendly) than its crypto-rivals or even legacy systems.
The answer is that Bitcoin’s peer-to-peer technology enables anyone to send, receive, hold, and transparently verify digital value on the Bitcoin network without an intermediary.
If Voltaire were alive today, perhaps he would state that Bitcoin not only doesn’t care with whom you transact, but its code also defends to the death your right to transact with anyone.
Do you agree with Max Keiser’s opinion on Bitcoin scaling? Share your comments below!
Images courtesy of Wikimedia Commons, Twitter