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Don’t be a Nakamoto maximalist

During the end of my days as a Bitcoin Cash supporter, one argument I kept hearing was this notion that adding Avalanche consensus to Bitcoin Cash would go against everything BCH stood for. The basic premise was that if Avalanche consensus overruled what Nakamoto consensus saw as the valid block, then it would no longer be Bitcoin.

It was as if they thought Satoshi’s original design was sacred, that it couldn’t be improved on in any way, while all I cared about was doing whatever it takes to create peer-to-peer electronic cash.

Following their logic, as long as a miner has enough hash power, they should be able to double-spend the network all they want. As long as they have the hash, it doesn’t matter who gets defrauded, or that the network is rendered unusable. All that matters is might makes right.

I don’t know about you, but that’s not the kind of system I believe in. For me the goal has always been about creating a censorship resistant, digital payment system that scales. A dream of taking this centuries old technology known as money, and updating it for the twenty-first century. A digital money that could be sent across the internet like a form of electronic cash.

While I may not be technical, the one thing I do know about new technologies is that they can always be improved upon. Satoshi himself acknowledges as much with the last sentence of his white paper where he writes: “Any needed rules and incentives can be enforced with this consensus mechanism.”

The fact is when Bitcoin launched back in 2009, Avalanche consensus didn’t exist. That didn’t come until 9 years later when the Avalanche white paper was published in 2018. And while Bitcoin’s solution to the Byzantine General’s Problem was truly revolutionary, it’s also been 13 years and Nakamoto consensus on its own has yet to deliver a reliable peer-to-peer electronic cash system.

I believe this is because Nakamoto consensus was only one piece of the puzzle, a necessary ingredient but not the only one. I also believe that combining Nakamoto with Avalanche will finally bring us one giant step closer to the ultimate goal.

Nakamoto consensus isn’t going anywhere. Avalanche isn’t a replacement for the Proof of Work system that serves as the bedrock that both Bitcoin and eCash are built on. Avalanche is complementary. By combining Nakamoto’s proven resiliency and permissionless nature with Avalanche’s ability to quickly reach consensus, eCash will become the fastest and most secure cryptocurrency the world has ever seen. It will be able to defend against 51% attacks, provide instant transaction finality, and make double-spends a virtual impossibility. All this and more while also bringing the eCash network that much closer to scaling to millions of transactions per second.

So while the Bitcoin Cash supporters can believe that trying to improve on Satosh’s design is heresy, I support the project focused on building a censorship resistant payment system before it becomes too late.

No matter how I look at it, it makes no sense to me that you would want to let a large miner hijack your network just because they can if you have the technology to prevent such behavior. I don’t believe in might makes right. I believe in building the best technology, and the only thing that’s sacred when building a new technology is always being devoted to finding the best solution possible.