I was recently fortunate enough to attend the Satoshi’s Vision conference in Tokyo to learn about recent and upcoming developments in the Bitcoin Cash sphere.
I came away with a very strong impression that the August 2017 hard fork has opened the floodgates on a huge reserve of pent up creative energy that was previously stifled by the high fee environment that the limited blocksize has created on the BTC network. Many times we heard presenters discussing ‘new’ projects explain that they had originally thought of the idea several years before but had abandoned them due to an unworkable user experience.
Scaling, tokenisation and adoption were three key themes discussed during the conference with exciting news coming from Africa and South America demonstrating the real world impact of Bitcoin Cash on people in these markets, and the readiness of nations encompassing more than 300 million people ready to jump onboard with Bitcoin Cash.
For those that don’t know, Bitcoin Cash was a hard fork of Bitcoin which keeps the same blockchain all the way back to the Genesis block but makes the following changes to the network’s functionality:
- An immediate increase in the blocksize to 8MB, with an upcoming increase to 32MB
- Removal of Segmented Witness (Segwit) transaction formats
- Removal of Replace By Fee (RBF) functionality
These changes have already made a huge difference to the usability of Bitcoin Cash. I was actively selling my SAFEWORDS product in the lobby of the conference and took over 100 payments in Bitcoin Cash using the Bitcoin.com wallet and never waited more than 1 second for zero conf and never had anyone pay more than 0.5c in fees. The increased blocksize means that there is always space for your transactions to confirm in the next block, and the development teams working on Bitcoin Cash are actively preparing to ensure this remains the case even once mass adoption takes place.
Onto the talks.
There were a total of 29 talks over the 3 days of the conference plus two panel discussions. The talks covered a range of topics including scaling, adoption, network resilience, new functionality and new safety measures for preventing double spending and making the network as safe as possible for real world use on a daily basis.
I have not listed all the talks and encourage interested parties to visit the following youtube link where all the talks have been released for consumption.
Roger Ver delivered a powerful keynote speech covering the impact of economic freedom on people and economies, and exploring how a permissionless monetary system will enable new business models and economic activities to flourish.
We saw numerous approaches to scaling discussed, but the most pertinent talks were the following:
- Emin Gun Sirer on Scaling Bitcoin x100000: The Next Few Orders of Magnitude
- Joannes Vermorel on Terabyte Block for Bitcoin Cash
- Vinny Lingham and Ryan X Charles in a Fireside Chat with Ryan X Charles. Scaling Cryptocurrencies: Bitcoin & Bitcoin Cash, A Tale of Two Coins
It is interesting to note that there was wide discussion of real world testing of 1GB and 10GB blocks happening now on a world-wide testnet, which has proven that scaling beyond 1GB is achievable today with modest hardware.
There were numerous talks on network resilience to both structured attacks and fraud against individuals, focussing on the ability of the network to self repair, and ensuring that merchants can trust zero confirmation transactions with any transactions needing instant fulfillment.
- Dr. Craig Wright on Bitcoin Network Topology: Small World vs Mesh
- Tom Harding on Zero Confirmation Transactions
- Peter Rizun on Converging on Consensus
One of the core features being worked on for Bitcoin Cash is network tokenisation. It’s not widely known, but Vitalik Buteryn was originally planning to implement what became the Ethereum network on top of Bitcoin however when the core team found out that he planned to embed token metadata into OP_RETURN outputs they forced a change to limit the amount of data that could be carried to make it impossible. They also disabled a number of crucial opcodes needed to implement novel functions on Bitcoin.
Numerous talks focussed on tokenisation, coloured coins and implementing new functionality on top of Bitcoin which are now possible due to upcoming protocol changes including (but not limited to) the re-enablement of multiple opcodes for mathematical and string manipulation functions, and the increase in the size of OP_RETURN outputs from their current 80 bytes to 220 bytes.
The following talks focus on different aspects of tokenisation:
- Emil Oldenburg on coloured coins, discussing a number of different approaches and the advantages and disadvantages of each
- Julian Smith talked about bringing Counterparty funtionality to Bitcoin Cash
- Panel discussion on tokenisation
There were some amazing talks on adoption, especially in places like Africa and South America, where we learned that there are active efforts in place to on-board 300 million people over the next 1-2 years, which would be an amazing outcome for Bitcoin Cash.
- Lorien Gamaroff on Cryptocurrency adoption in Africa
- Jerry Chan on How to make Bitcoin Cash the best money in the world
- Ryan X Charles on Bringing Bitcoin to a mainstream audience
- Boris Javier Barrera Garcia on Integrating Bitcoin Cash to the Retail Market in Colombia
All up, I would say the future is bright for Bitcoin Cash and there is a palpable excitement among developers, makers and users. Please feel free to reach out to me directly for any further information on the conference.