What’s in a name: Bitcoin ABC or ecash?

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There’s been plenty of speculation regarding the rebrand of BCHA. While everyone with a stake in this project appears to be in agreement that we can’t keep using BCHA indefinitely, there is no such agreement on what the new name should be. Currently there seems to be two options on the table. The familiar, tried and true brand of Bitcoin ABC, or the bold and more controversial ecash.

Before I continue let me state that I don’t speak for anyone but myself. I’m not a member of Bitcoin ABC, and what follows are merely my personal opinions. In fact I don’t think there’s really a wrong choice here as both Bitcoin ABC and ecash have a number of things going for them. I’m also of the opinion that whatever the name ends up being, it’s not going to be the thing that makes or breaks this project. I can’t think of a single successful product that became hugely successful solely based on its name. Names catch on because products catch on, not the other way around.

Finally, I want it to be clear that I fully support Bitcoin ABC. I’m an investor in this project for many reasons, but chief among them is the fact that I have faith in ABC’s ability to execute, and I plan to keep accumulating whether the new name becomes ecash or simply Bitcoin ABC.

Having said all that, my personal preference is for ecash. One of the main reasons I choose ecash over Bitcoin ABC is because I think naming the coin after the lead implementation could act as a deterrent for developers outside of ABC who might want to contribute to this project. While I admit that the ABC team is hugely important to the success of this coin, especially at this early stage, I am hopeful that there will come a day when the incentives resulting from the new coinbase rule will be so high that this project attracts talented new protocol developers who seek to compete for those rewards. That is how we can get decentralized protocol development. Not by collaborating with every Joe Schmo who comes along claiming to know what’s best for the network, but by letting people compete for the available incentives.

For the first time, the stakeholders of a Bitcoin network will have the ability to fire a developer team and hire someone else. Think of it like having the ability to sign our starting quarterback. Now imagine if the name of the team wasn’t the Tampa Bay Buccaneers but the Tom Brady Football Team, would any other talented quarterback not named Tom Brady want to play for such a team?

While many people seem to believe that having Bitcoin in the name is a requirement for success, I disagree. How many more Bitcoins do we need? We have Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Bitcoin Satoshi’s Vision, Bitcoin Gold, Bitcoin Diamond, Bitcoin Private, and who knows how many more. Each one using some variant of the familiar ₿ logo. I’d rather go with a name that stands out, that stands on its own and leaves behind all the baggage that comes with the Bitcoin name. I’m tired of having to explain the difference between a hardfork and a chainsplit, the difference between this Bitcoin and that. Take Ethereum as an example. Has that project struggled because it doesn’t have Bitcoin in its name? Considering it recently reached a new all time high, I would say no. I know Ethereum doesn’t share the same genesis block as Bitcoin, but is there some rule that all Bitcoin forks have to have Bitcoin in its name? Not to mention the fact that Bitcoin has now taken on a completely new meaning since the days of Satoshi.

Many people no longer even recognize it as peer-to-peer electronic cash but as digital gold. They see Bitcoin as a new asset class for wealthy and institutional investors. This is all the more reason to ditch the Bitcoin name and march forward with a new brand, a brand that is easy to understand and recognize, but also is still rooted in Bitcoin history. It’s right there in the title of the whitepaper, Bitcoin: A peer-to-peer electronic cash system.

I’m not interested in just another speculative instrument for rich people to park their money in. What I want is what Milton Friedman was talking about when he said:

“I think that the internet is going to be one of the major forces for reducing the role of government. The one thing that’s missing but that will soon be developed is a reliable ecash, a method whereby on the internet you can transfer funds from A to B without A knowing B or B knowing A. The way in which I can take out a twenty dollar bill and hand it over to you, and there’s no record from where it came from. You may get that without knowing who I am. That kind of thing will develop on the internet.”

After three years of trying to explain what Bitcoin Cash was to people, I can tell you right now it’s clumsy at best. On the other hand, if someone were to ask me what’s ecash? All I’d need to say is it’s electronic cash, a new form of money that you can send over the internet just like cash since you can do so without relying on a credit card company or Venmo or Paypal to facilitate your transactions.

Like I said, I’m fine if we go with Bitcoin ABC. I don’t think the name is that important, and names can be changed, but I believe that this is a golden opportunity to pounce on a brand that’s ripe for the taking. It’s almost hard to believe that no one has already done it. (And yes I know about Ethereum Cash but it’s pretty much a dead project and I’m talking about ecash as in electronic cash, not some ethereum wannabe.)

I have been reading a lot of complaints in the BCHA telegram channel regarding the fact that the rebrand has been delayed. I can’t help but assume there are many people out there who bought BCHA believing in its potential to quickly go up in value. I’m sorry if you’re one of those people and have been disappointed in the price action over the past couple of months, but what you need to know is that this isn’t a project that is looking to pump and dump. This is a real project with real developers behind it. For sure the price is important. BCHA has to rise in value if the project is going to sustain itself in the long run. But the source of that value needs to come from actual building, not from empty promises or cheap announcements. And while I would rather not have to keep writing “the project currently known as BCHA” for another six months, I have no problem with waiting a little longer to make sure things are done right.

The way I see it, the BCHA project is like a start-up company in many ways. This project is only a couple of months old, and if you are reading this, you are one of the few people in the world who is even aware this project exists. There are no guarantees. The people who were some of the earliest investors in Uber or Airbnb didn’t do so because they saw it as a sure thing but because they recognized the potential. I have no idea if BCHA will succeed in the end, but I believe in the team at Bitcoin ABC, I believe that BCHA is the only version of Bitcoin that has figured out how to align the incentives of its stakeholders, and I believe this project has enormous potential and the risk versus reward is too great for me to ignore.

So stop complaining about the name, or the price. You either believe in the fundamentals of this project and are willing to invest in it, or you’re not. No one is forcing you to do anything. When I buy shares in a company, I don’t email the CEO every day telling him he needs to think of a new name for their product. If I don’t like the direction they’re taking, I simply sell my shares and move on. But if you are a believer in the potential of electronic cash, educate yourself and educate others. What’s needed more than anything is to spread awareness. This isn’t about speculation, it’s about creating a movement.

I think everyone who bought BCHA did so because, like me, they believe in its fundamentals, not because of what ABC decides to name this project. To me the mission is to create a new form of electronic cash that will lead to a revolutionary change in the way our world functions, and I for one can’t think of a better name than ecash.