The Bitcoin Cash Community Is Splitting Once Again
A third fork may be on the cards.
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Controversy continues in the Bitcoin Cash community as the proposal to implement a forceful miner tax has been confirmed and will be added to Bitcoin ABC’s next client upgrade. This decision has not gone down well with a significant part of the community.
Bitcoin Cash Infighting Makes Comeback
Bitcoin ABC, a node client for Bitcoin Cash used by over 50% of the BCH the network, has announced its support for BTC.TOP’s mining tax proposal announced earlier this year.
The good news for dissidents is that the tax has been reduced from 12.5% of block rewards to 5% of block rewards. However, the reason for dissent in the first place was the ideology behind a tax on miners.
2/2 This will test if Bitcoin Cash can avoid being captured by a group of developers. Bitcoin does not have payouts to 3rd parties encoded into its protocol. If exchanges and miners download and run the new version of ABC, BCH will be Bcash with no rights to the name "bitcoin."
— Peter R. Rizun (@PeterRizun) February 15, 2020
Bitcoin ABC’s support for the proposal has positioned them to become one of the primary beneficiaries of the tax. Rival node client Bitcoin Unlimited has vehemently opposed the tax, for instance, as they are unlikely to benefit from the tax in any way.
Jiang Zhuoer’s recent blog post names Bitcoin ABC, BCHD, and Electron Cash as a few recipients of the tax. It is still unclear if the tax will be directed exclusively to these entities or whether the miner who secures the block gets to choose the recipient of their donation.
Either way, many users are unhappy with this tax. Having a tax championed by a sect of miners and developers sets a precedent that these groups can force top-down plans on the community.
Critically, what miners think is best for Bitcoin Cash may not necessarily be what the wider community believes is the right path.
Adding worry to woes, a Redditor pointed out that Bitcoin ABC’s last upgrade included a code deactivation clause that occurs every six months when the network hard forks. This means even if those running ABC nodes want to skip the hard fork and continue running an earlier version of the client, it will automatically update to the new code which includes the miner tax.
Considering BCHD, another node client, is also a recipient, they are most likely in support of the proposal as well. The only way for BCH enthusiasts to stop this is for ABC nodes to switch over to Bitcoin Unlimited.
Bitcoin Cash evangelist Roger Ver also chimed into the discussion, publicly criticizing the miner tax to avoid a chain split.
If miners were truly concerned about funding infrastructure development and maintaining a free market structure, they would have donated off-chain rather than forcing every miner to give away a portion of their reward, he said.
Another idea advocates for large miners to keep their portion of the rewards and hire developers and improve the Bitcoin Cash ecosystem that way.
Bitcoin ABC has already committed to the tax, so unless they repeal or miners withdraw their support, it is unlikely to be thwarted. With the community split once again, Bitcoin Cash’s third contentious hard fork may be underway.