There’s a war being waged over the future of the Bitcoin cryptocurrency, and the online gambling industry runs the risk of becoming this war’s collateral damage.
For years, a debate has raged over the Bitcoin blockchain’s current 1Mb block size limit. One camp (aka Bitcoin Core) insists that the blockchain’s original design must remain in its current form while other camps believe the block size should be scaled upward to alleviate congestion on the network.
The latter camp’s members include Bitcoin Unlimited, which is pressing for a ‘hard fork’ of the blockchain to move forward with its vision of a more robust Bitcoin environment. It’s worth noting that Bitcoin founder Satoshi Nakamoto was a firm believer in the ability of Bitcoin to scale upward to accommodate greater transaction volume.
The Bitcoin Core’s most strident advocate is Blockstream co-founder Greg Maxwell (pictured), who has adopted a ‘defender of the faith’ stance that insists on maintaining the original 1Mb block limit and has demonstrated a willingness to stridently attack anyone who dares suggest otherwise.
Without delving too deep into the technical weeds, this post at Medium.com does a good job of detailing the lengths to which Maxwell’s camp has gone to undermine confidence in Bitcoin Unlimited’s proposal while pushing for greater off-chain centralization through the use of large scale payment hubs.
Blockstream has raised millions of dollars in venture capital funding, much of which came via established banking institutions – so the very companies from which Bitcoin was intended to liberate financial transactions are now underwriting Maxwell’s vision for Bitcoin’s future.
Large sectors of the online gambling industry are becoming increasingly reliant on Bitcoin technology. Speed, low transaction costs and independence from the dictatorial whims of central banks have been the technology’s main selling points, and Maxwell’s approach threatens Bitcoin on all three of these fronts.
If you’ll allow us some historical precedent…. Way back before Germany lost the Second World War, Hitler was given a preview of Messerschmitt’s revolutionary Me. 262 jet fighter plane, which could have decimated the bomber forces then flying over German cities.
Hitler immediately asked if the plane could be modified to carry bombs, to which the puzzled engineers mumbled vague affirmation. Hitler then ordered that the Me. 262 be redesigned as a bomber, effectively hobbling the new technology before it got off the ground. By the time Hitler relented and allowed mass production of the original fighter design, it was too late to have much of an impact.
To be clear, Maxwell isn’t Hitler – for one thing, Maxwell’s got much more facial hair – but his viewpoint on Bitcoin technology is equally muddled and, unless challenged, will have an equally damaging impact on the future of a revolutionary technology.
Maxwell’s vision is being amplified by many technology sites serving as echo chambers for Bitcoin Core. Bottom line, if you want to avoid ‘fake news’ and get the real scoop on the ongoing war over Bitcoin’s future, continue to check out more enlightened sources such as (ahem) Calvinayre.com.