Craig Wright has been in the news a lot recently. He’s one of the leaders of the Bitcoin SV (Satoshi Vision) camp which wants to raise the Bitcoin Cash block size up to 128 MB. A letter he wrote to Roger Ver emerged last week in which he threatened to bring down the Bitcoin Cash network if he didn’t get his own way.
“Bitcoin [Cash] will die before ABC shits on it. I will see BCH trade at 0 for a few years”, he said.
“Side with ABC, you hate bitcoin [Cash], you are my enemy. You have no fucking idea what that means”.
Any minute now, he’ll declare that Roger Ver is the Enemy of the People, send a small army to the BCH border, and head over to Putin’s place for some fussball and a couple of cold ones.
And now here we are, amidst echoes of 2016 and a certain election. The billionaire disruptor, the pouting outsider, a petulant Twitter personality… a laughing-stock in October who may create another November surprise.
Except the angry reality show host this time is Craig Wright, and he stands to control the future of Bitcoin Cash.
Bitcoin Cash poised to split
Crypto fans – like football hooligans – enjoy a good fight. Most of the time it’s amongst themselves. Tron’s (TRX) Justin Sun loves to spar with Ethereum (ETH) creator Vitalik Buterin; IOHK’s Charles Hoskinson with EOSIO (EOS) developer Dan Larimer; John McAfee against… well, anyone, really. He has guns.
Bitcoin Cash (BCH) was always a tinderbox situation. The two sides, the Bitcoin SV posse, and Roger Ver’s ABC pals, were already skirmishing. A jab here, a jab there. The BCH community was already teetering on the brink of war.
Now comes the hard fork. It leads to a chain reaction as the great powers take sides. Before anyone has time to write about it, Bitcoin Cash has plunged itself into a civil war. Both sides want BCH to be a global payments system, but they can’t all agree on how to do it (or who should make more money from it).
Some hold up banners calling for an evolution to non-cash transactions; others believing themselves to be the real representatives of Satoshi Nakamoto want a return to the network as it looked in the 2008 whitepaper.
This bust-up has occupied most of the sector’s news for the past two weeks. But the network will fork this Thursday. Like the armistice, signed one hundred years ago, the guns are supposed to go silent at approximately 16:30 GMT. Peace will be declared and the forks to end all forks (sorry) will be at an end.
Peace can only be effectively brokered if both sides can reconcile. But judging by the rhetoric, a cessation of hostilities is still a long way off.
Fanning the Bitcoin Cash flames
This hasn’t been Wright’s only performance. Earlier this week he confessed that he would happily “bleed” Bitcoin Cash to stop the ABC protocol implementation. He occupies a zero-sum world. It will either be his way or no-one’s.
Wright has long claimed to be Satoshi Nakamoto and enjoys his reputation as a divisive, uncompromising figure. He even has a pair of solid brass balls sitting pride of place on his desk. Despite BCH supposedly being the one that most encapsulates the decentralization principle, Wright is seemingly happy to coerce a community of thousands of BCH holders into accepting his will.
His toddler tantrums stand in stark contrast to the way some other participants in the struggle are talking. Crypto Briefing asked Ver for his thoughts on the hard fork at the weekend. He didn’t think the network was in danger of a permanent split. He felt Bitcoin Cash’s objective – to create a virtual currency for the entire world – still held the community firmly together.
“The current camps in Bitcoin Cash going into the Nov 15th upgrade all agree that Bitcoin Cash should be digital cash for the world,” said Ver in an email exchange. “They just have different roadmaps on how to get there. Since they share the same end goal, there is not as much of a reason for the coin to split.”
It seems from Ver’s email that he’s prepared to set differences aside after Thursday. The loser will accept that the best side won.
Listen up, Craig Wright
If the debate about which hard fork had been kept civilized and above board, this might well have happened. Bitcoin SV makes valid observations but one of its key proponents has lowered the tone to such a level that many on the opposing side will feel frustrated and alienated. It will be a Carthaginian peace.
Wright, with his toys-out-the-pram tactics, has all but scuppered the possibility of a peaceful resolution. He has even brought the sector into ridicule. The Financial Times summarized the feud at the weekend as “puerile and silly”. For once, we’re inclined to agree.
Instead of winning hearts and minds, Wright has likely sown the seeds of a possible chain split within the near future. He won’t be able to compel the community to follow him onto Bitcoin SV. For a man who claims to be Satoshi Nakamoto, he should know that bully-boy tactics impress nobody, especially via a decentralized network where theoretically, no-one is master.
Not everyone is a fan of Bitcoin Cash. You don’t have to be. But aside from the Twitter figures, who treat crypto like their own personal soap opera, there are the unsung thousands of everyday users who just want to use BCH as a form of money.
Craig Wright, Calvin Ayre, Roger Ver will all survive relatively unscathed. They have enough money to weather anything. It will, as usual, be the average joe who took a risk in Bitcoin Cash that’ll ultimately be out of pocket if this war devolves further.
A harsh peace is all too often a short peace. The world learned that soon after the end of the Great War; the Bitcoin Cash community will have to wait until Thursday.
The author is invested in ETH, which is mentioned in this article.