I'm the developer of bitaddress.org. I like to share my thoughts on the recent Fee Event. I have come to believe Bitcoin is more about people and our values than about code.
Bitcoin's vision in the whitepaper is explicitly about P2P cash. It wasn't labeled an interbank settlement system.
The original client was an all-in-one Windows application for your desktop PC. You could mine with your CPU. Send and receive payments with a wallet. Relay transactions and store the full blockchain.
We've drifted from the original optimistic and idealistic vision of Satoshi. The Genesis block made a statement about the banks and monetary policy by quoting a prominent newspaper headline in the financial center of the world, London. Satoshi's answer was cryptographic art through mimicking commodity money realized with networked code. We should bring our focus back to making that work.
The first critics said Bitcoin wouldn't scale. Satoshi continued responding that Moore's law is powerful and text is cheap to store. As more people joined the network there has always been need to optimize the code. Specialize the software repositories and binaries. Respond to the adapting changes in OS landscape. From retail users on smartphones to power users at data centers.
The protocol developers (or reference implementors), today known as Core/Classic developers, have always been able to respond and adapt. The community was smaller and the establishment in society wasn't paying attention. There were less parties interested in the possible, next step, direction of Bitcoin.
Other independently managed development teams have built special mining and wallet protocols. This is healthy for Bitcoin. Various groups of developers have specialized parts of the Bitcoin code system. These groups typically need to be communicated with and coordinated with to safely roll out an upgrade to the protocol. These groups are paying attention to the Fee Event.
As things have become specialized some things have moved in a positive direction for example how SPV wallets put monetary sovereignty in your pocket. Other things like mining pool centralization and custom hardware and data center scale efficiencies that are due to various pressures in the incentive system of mining have taken us further from the original vision in Satoshi's whitepaper and original client. We don't have the solution for that problem today but rest assured that people are thinking about it. One day, an altcoin might get mining, incentive-wise, to a place where CPU/GPU have some inherent advantage when coupled with the use of other hardware on a typical PC.
Bitcoin has longer term decentralization challenges. But today we are faced with a simple short term challenge with a common sense solution.
On the 29th of February 2016, the network became unreliable. Today, there is a short term solution running in production for miners and full nodes called Bitcoin Classic 0.11.2.
Smartphone wallet and web wallet users will not be affected and transactions will start getting confirmed in the normal 10 to 30 minutes. The tiny change it makes is upgrading the block size limit to 2MB with some additional safety code in place. Once 75% of miners have signaled they have upgraded a 28 day grace period begins and we will have a heck of a get out the word campaign to do!
All exchanges, mining pools, large private miners are paying attention. Not everyone who is running a full node is paying attention! When/If Bitcoin Classic activates they will receive a notice in their Bitcoin client that something is not right because blocks are not being found at the regular speed they've slowed down. This will be a message that you may need to upgrade. This has happened before and was effective in getting the long tail of users of full nodes to check the well known discussion sites for news of an event.
2MB means, to me, going from an estimated 10 million user community to a 20 million user community. Even more when medium term SegWit benefits are rolled out.
Bitcoin Classic 0.12 is coming out soon so you will have a best of both worlds. All the good stuff of 0.12 from the Core repository. With the Classic finishing touches.
When/if Classic activates the Core repo would necessarily need to pull the change set from Classic and begin again to work on the same protocol version. At this point either the development release teams merge or they compete for priorities of feature-sets and the market of miners, full nodes and wallets signal readiness for any upcoming protocol upgrade. The latter might be a robust development governance model for the future of Bitcoin.
Join me in upgrading to Bitcoin Classic.