Imagine a new land called Bitcoin. A sovereign land discovered by a man named Satoshi. In that land is a precious natural resource by the same name. All are welcome. This Bitcoin land has magical powers that let’s anyone mine the Bitcoin, but only 1 block every ten minutes. The one who does is rewarded with Bitcoins, which serve as a reward for the miners for performing the work of securing the land from potential attackers.
Soon, word gets out and more people come to mine Bitcoin. This is followed by settlers who come looking for a better future. They come and buy Bitcoins from the miners, which helps pay for the Bitcoin land’s security. There are also those who not only come as settlers, but as builders. People with the skills to earn Bitcoins by helping to make the land more valuable.
One of the land’s most magical properties is it’s ability to be “forked”. Anyone who is willing and capable can create an exact copy of the land, but one that has its own sets of rules and incentives. When this is done, and a new forked land is created, anyone who held Bitcoins in the original land would now hold the same amount of Bitcoins in the newly forked land.
This is exactly what happened 8 years after the discovery made by Satoshi, who by then had long disappeared. Without their leader, the people of Bitcoin began fighting over the size of the blocks being mined. The bigger the blocks, the more space everyone would have to transact, some argued. But many were against raising the block size because it might mean some miners wouldn’t be able to compete. They wanted to include everyone, while excluding no one, so they kept the blocks the same.
That’s when a group of builders decided to fork the land of Bitcoin and created Bitcoin Cash land, where the blocks were much bigger and there was more space to transact. Suddenly everyone was given a choice. You could support both lands, or you could choose one over the other because you thought it had a better future. For example, if you thought Bitcoin Cash land had more potential, you might sell your Bitcoins to buy more Bitcoin Cash, or vice versa. You could always change your mind, as well as hang onto both, because no one can be forced in the world of Bitcoin, everyone can leave or rejoin at will.
For the most part, people didn’t believe in Bitcoin Cash land so they sold their Bitcoin Cash in order to buy more Bitcoin. But some did believe. And anyone who believed in big blocks immigrated to Bitcoin Cash land where they would try to build their vision of the future.
But three years in things were looking bleak. A long winter found Bitcoin Cash land struggling to accomplish their goals when another dispute arose. Some people in Bitcoin Cash land asked why do only miners get access to the Bitcoin Cash that comes out of the land? Why don’t the miners share some of the Bitcoin Cash they mine with the people who are building and developing the infrastructure? In fact, it was the miners who proposed it.
A great debate ensued. Miners received 100% of the reward and it had been that way since the days of Satoshi. Thus most people people in Bitcoin Cash land said it would be an outrage to even consider changing this rule. They accused the builders of being greedy and wanting to line their own pockets when it was the miners who had made the proposal, not the builders.
If the builders needed funding to build better roads, they said they should ask for donations from the community. So the miners relented and the builders put together a business plan with details on how much funding they needed and for what purpose. But when the time came, hardly anyone donated. Most people were still so angry with the builders for even thinking they could get a piece of the block reward that instead of donating to them, the people who had created Bitcoin Cash land and had done most of the building ever since, instead they donated to just about anyone else who had their hand out promising they could do the work.
So the rejected builders decided to fork the land again. In their new land, they decreed miners would pay 8% of the block reward to fund development. Half of that would go to the builders, and the other half would go to a council of proven stakeholders who would decide how to put those funds to good use.
When it was announced that the builders were going to fork Bitcoin Cash land and create eCash land, the mob came out with their pitchforks. They signed petitions, wrote articles, and pledged allegiance in protest of what the builders planned to do. They claimed the 8% was a tax, and everyone knew taxes were bad. This would give the builders too much power, they said. It won’t be decentralized! they shouted.
But the builders went ahead with their plans and created eCash land anyway. All the while the people in Bitcoin Cash land did everything in their power to try and make sure eCash land would fail. They dumped their forked eCash coins, they used miners to try and attack the new land, but in the end, the builders had enough supporters, enough miners, and enough knowledge to thwart their attacks to live another day.
When eCash land first started there were hardly any settlers and practically no infrastructure. But the builders quickly got to work. They rebuilt what was necessary to nurture a well-functioning society, and they were able to sustain themselves all thanks to their 8% share of the block reward.
Little by little new settlers from far and wide discovered eCash land. More miners showed up as well. Not because they were forced, but because they chose to, and because they saw an opportunity, 8% and all.
But despite the builder’s best efforts, due to macroeconomic conditions beyond their control, the value of the eCash being mined kept falling lower and lower. This was also the case for Bitcoin, and Bitcoin Cash, and all the other magic internet currencies out there. With the halving fast approaching that would cut their funding in half, the builders came up with a plan.
Due to all their hard work over the past three years, eCash land was now much safer than it had been before. They’d implemented the revolutionary Avalanche post-consensus mechanism, effectively making miner attacks a thing of the past. This meant the job of securing the land no longer fell on the shoulders of the miners alone. So the builders proposed, instead of having 92% of the block reward go to miners, and 8% to the builders, what if 58% went to the miners, 32% to the builders, and 10% to the stakers needed to run Avalanche.
Just about everyone in eCash land not only thought this was fair, but rejoiced upon hearing the news. They no longer needed to worry about the dwindling funds for the builders, and now even more resources would be available to make eCash land that much better.
But to the surprise of many in eCash land, outsiders started mocking the new proposal. They LOLed and said I told you so and reveled in the news as if it somehow proved eCash land was doomed. The eCash stakeholders found this all quite amusing since there seemed to be almost no one in eCash land that felt the same way. Instead, the number of people choosing to run their own eCash staking nodes kept climbing, a clear signal that the new proposal was finding support among the actual residents of eCash land.
But the outsiders kept screaming, “You fools, don’t you see that it’s a tax! The devs are going to just keep raising it and have all the power and you will be left utterly helpless!”
And the people in eCash land shrugged. They turned to each other and asked, “What tax?” As far as they could tell, no one was paying any taxes. Oh, the miners are paying the tax? But the miners said nothing. They just kept on mining.
“I guess the miners don’t have a problem with it, either,” the eCashers said.
“But aren’t you worried the builders are going to have too much power?” the outsiders continued.
The eCashers thought to themselves, man these guys are really concerned about what we do over here. But they gave the question some thought anyway, and most of them figured it would work itself out. For one thing, the builders had spent the past three years, not to mention the three years before that, proving themselves and delivering on their promises no matter how difficult it was.
If anything, the people of eCash land considered themselves fortunate to have their builders. They didn’t want to take away their funding, they saw the smart move as giving them even more funding, not less. While the proposal to increase their funding had come from the builders this time, it might as well have come from everyone, because it was the consensus opinion.
It made sense not only due to the halving, but because everyone had faith the money would be put to good use. And 32% was fair. It wasn’t as if they’d asked for 90%, which wouldn’t have made much sense. But 32% was both strong and reasonable. It gave the builders the resources to scale up their team, and the settlers had no concerns about them squandering the funds or acting in bad faith, because the settlers had power too. Because they understood how the free market worked, and that the value didn’t just come from the builders alone, or from the miners alone, but from the entire system as a whole. And they really didn’t care if others called it a tax, or said it was too centralized, because the only thing the people of eCash land cared about was building until there would be nothing left to build.