Andreas Antonopoulos; Bitcoin 1.0 and The Impact of a Potential Bitcoin Catastrophe

Andreas Antonopoulos, one of the best cryptocurrency experts in the world, believes Satoshi first ran ‘Bitcoind version 0.1’.

When asked, “With all of the years behind it so far, any ideas about what Bitcoin Core 1.0 could possibly look like?”

Antonopoulos replied, “Right now, we are at version 0.17. I don’t know of any plans to move from the sub-version numbering to 1.0 anytime soon. If you think about it, this could be a 130-year currency, an extremely long issuance horizon. This is something that is still being modified heavily, all the time. I think as we see in one of the comments from Colin, releasing a 1.0 this soon could and would be wrongly interpreted by many. I agree with that. I don’t think there is any point in, or see any speculation as to what 1.0 will look like, or when anyone would be confident enough to say, ‘We are past the experimental phase’. “This is in full-blown global production and ready for the world. That would be a very audacious thing to say… when you’re building the next-generation money.”

Briz asked, “Catastrophe! What would happen if all the Bitcoin developers and project maintainers disappeared?”

If something catastrophic happened to key individuals, how would Bitcoin survive?

Antonopoulos added,

“Let’s say that every Bitcoin developer and maintainer with commit access was on the same cruise ship and it blew up or sank with everyone in it – what would happen to Core? Would Bitcoin just march on, but without any new developers? Would it turn into an epic battle of the forks? A gruesome thought, but just curious. If something catastrophic happened to key individuals, how would Bitcoin survive?”

First, if all the Bitcoin developers and maintainers were on the same cruise ship, the more likely thing to kill or harm them would be some kind of gastrointestinal disease, rather than the ship sinking. I would be very strongly questioning their tastes and choices because cruise ships suck. They are floating hotels that make you seasick, give you food poisoning, and you can’t leave.

Did I mention I hate cruise ships? All right, never mind. Let’s go back to the theoretical catastrophe.

Let’s say something happens to a big number of Bitcoin developers. You can also turn this around and ask, why wouldn’t a state actor attack or imprison Bitcoin developers? Coerce them into not contributing anymore or worse? Once you understand how open-source communities work, Bitcoin Core is not the only client out there. There are multiple implementations of the Bitcoin protocol that are interchangeable and compatible.

A C++ implementation called Libbitcoin, for example, which was a project started by Amir Taaki, and continued by some very talented developers today. Bitcoin is a JavaScript / NodeJS implementation of the protocol and full node; multi-threaded, compartmentalized, modular, and with high performance. It was created by Christopher Jeffrey (JJ) and a bunch of other developers who started out at Purse.io. There is BTCd, which is a Go (Golang) implementation.

Rather than ‘a battle of the forks’, you would see other clients becoming more prominent if Bitcoin was no longer being developed and maintained in the Bitcoin Core package.

Most likely, rather than ‘a battle of the forks’, I think you would see other clients becoming more prominent if Bitcoin was no longer being developed and maintained in the Bitcoin Core package. Other packages, other implementations of the node software, would become more prominent. Also, realize that we’re talking about a substantial number of developers. There are probably three or four hundred people who contribute at least once a year, from various projects.

Although there are a dozen or so who are very prominent and do a lot of the work, that doesn’t mean other people couldn’t step up. A big catastrophe would create a vacuum, which would be filled by other people stepping up and taking more prominent roles, people who have been learning gradually over the years. Essentially, nothing would happen. The Bitcoin project would continue. There is enough interest. There are enough trained developers, people who could learn very quickly, take a greater role in a project like that and see it as an opportunity to contribute more.

It is quite intimidating when you have all these world-class cryptographers, mathematicians, and developers. You might think, “Oh, my little contribution is going to be laughed at.” Mine certainly has been, and that’s okay. But many talented people lurk in the shadows, anonymous, not necessarily contributing at the moment, but would step up quite quickly. Nothing would happen to the project, which is also why there is entirely no point in coercing or imprisoning any of the developers.

There is no center, no irreplaceable individuals, no central point of failure. This is a recipe, and there are many who can cook this recipe, who can continue to enhance and improve it. You can’t stop a recipe by taking out some of the cooks.

Link to the full original video is here.

Read More: 

  1. Andreas Antonopoulos explains the Bitcoin Cash Hard Fork
  2. Andreas Antonopoulos gives his thoughts on the $5 Wrench problem

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