This post was originally posted on LinkedIn and republished with the permission of the Bitcoin Association’s Founding President Jimmy Nguyen.
Over the past week, copyright law has created a frenzy of media attention and social media talk in the world of digital currencies. This is because Dr. Craig Wright (through his attorneys) has sent legal request letters to a number of website owners to enforce his copyright on the famous Bitcoin whitepaper. It is important to note that neither the Bitcoin Association nor the broader Bitcoin SV ecosystem are involved in this legal enforcement. This is a personal effort on Craig’s part to regain what he sees as a key element of his legacy. While I wouldn’t ordinarily be a public opinion on a person’s personal trials, given the industry interest and my previous experience as an intellectual property attorney, I wanted to share some thoughts.
Craig confirms that he is the author of the Bitcoin whitepaper (originally published online in 2008 under the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto and now published on Craig’s personal website by his name). He wants the whitepaper removed from certain websites like Bitcoin.org, BitcoinCore.org and Bitcoin.com that are using it to promote Bitcoin Core (BTC) and Bitcoin Cash (BCH). These are two competing versions of Bitcoin that no longer represent Bitcoin at all. Instead, Craig and many others argue that the original design and protocol of Bitcoin, as described in the White Paper and other early Satoshi writings, is now only in terms of Bitcoin SV (BSV).
But what is the difference between Bitcoin variants and why is it important??
The Satoshi whitepaper explains that Bitcoin should be a “peer-to-peer e-cash system” that makes online payments more cost-effective, even for “small occasional transactions”. An efficient online payments infrastructure – a true electronic money system that is widely used in daily life – requires a network that can handle large amounts of fast transactions and that is processed for minimal fees. Satoshi reiterated this point early in Bitcoin’s life, writing in 2009 that Bitcoin can scale and “never really reaches a scale limit”.
Despite the clear intention of the developer of Bitcoin to scale the network and establish it as a more efficient infrastructure for online payments, the developers of the Bitcoin Core protocol, who took control of the Bitcoin project after Nakamoto’s exit in 2011 ( known under the ticker symbol BTC) have effectively paralyzed the network BTC blockchain. They rejected scaling – they limited the capacity in the chain to a maximum of 7 transactions per second, which made transaction fees skyrocket. Therefore, BTC is now advertised as “digital gold” and “store of value” for reserves and no longer as Satoshi’s envisaged system of peer-to-peer e-cash for daily use. The BTC network got further astray with the introduction of Segregated Witness (SegWit), a change that fundamentally changed the network so that, by definition, it can no longer be called Bitcoin. and other functions such as Replace With Fee (RBF), a mechanism for replacing one version of an unconfirmed transaction with a different version of the transaction that pays a higher fee.
In 2017, Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is set to continue the vision of Bitcoin as “peer-to-peer e-cash”. I and others supported BCH for some time until it became clear that BCH protocol developers wanted to deviate significantly from Satoshi’s design again – such as changing the transaction order scheme and introducing a new signature technique that could deliberately obfuscate transactions under a false term from “Privacy”, although Bitcoin was designed as a public, verifiable ledger for honest transactions. In addition, BCH remains frozen at the same (still quite small) block cap it has had since 2018 and has nowhere near reached the levels planned by Satoshi Nakamoto.
It is for this reason that Bitcoin SV (Satoshi Vision) was developed in 2018 to ensure that the original design for Bitcoin would finally be fulfilled. Bitcoin SV has almost completely restored Satoshi’s Bitcoin protocol without any default limit on the size of the blocks in its blockchain and thus the transaction capacity. In addition, many of Satoshi’s original technical functions have been restored, such as: B. removing artificial restrictions on the size and capabilities of transactions and restoring the full original functionality of Bitcoin Script (the programming language used in the Bitcoin protocol). With unlimited scaling, transaction fees remain minimal and predictable – the median transaction fee on the Bitcoin SV network in 2020 was generally less than 1/100 US cent. This makes Bitcoin SV a fast and efficient system for electronic cash payments, including “small occasional transactions,” as Satoshi described in his white paper. While many industry watchers view BSV as a junction from BTC and BCH, Craig and others argue that BSV is simply the new name and ticker symbol for the original Bitcoin, continuing it on its own.
What do the Bitcoin whitepaper and copyright have to do with it?
Craig swears that he is Satoshi Nakamoto, author of the Bitcoin white paper and the owner of the copyright. As such, he asserts some of the exclusive rights granted by copyright law, namely that a copyright owner has the exclusive right to control the reproduction and public presentation of his works.
Craig’s legal notice of formal notice has caused quite a stir and has generated a lot of angry comments on social media. Opponents of Craig’s action believe he is trying to suppress the white paper or stifle open source development, but I don’t think they are.
Because BTC and BCH no longer follow the original network protocol or the economic incentive model prescribed by Satoshi Nakamoto in the whitepaper, Craig, as the owner of the copyright, does not want it to be associated with the marketing of BTC, BCH or any other digital currency that is not Bitcoin – not even on websites like Bitcoin.org, BitcoinCore.org and Bitcoin.com.
The controversy has also exposed some great ironies in the digital currency space.
BTC supporters vigorously defend the Bitcoin whitepaper, although the current maintainer of the Bitcoin.org website (a longtime BTC supporter using the pseudonym Cobra Bitcoin) has admitted that Satoshi’s article no longer describes BTC. As early as 2016, Cobra wrote “the Bitcoin and Bitcoin described in the newspaper [BTC] The things described on Bitcoin.org are starting to differ. “In 2017, he even called the white paper” out of date and wrong “in its ability to describe BTC, and” I think that at some point the paper will do more harm than good because it will lead people to believe that they understand bitcoin [BTC]. “Cobra has therefore requested that the whitepaper be updated to reflect BTC more accurately.
Despite feelings that Satoshi’s whitepaper no longer describes BTC, competing Bitcoin camps are attacking Bitcoin SV and its supporters – and even calling for (illegal) 51% attacks against the BSV network – simply because they don’t like Craig. So I want to make this very clear: this is a man trying to claim his personal legacy as the creator of Bitcoin. While many of us (myself included) certainly have opinions on this, this is a fight for Craig.
As I said earlier, Bitcoin SV is a lot bigger than Craig Wright or any other person. Globally, the Bitcoin SV ecosystem has grown dramatically. Many consumers, developers, start-ups, larger companies, mining groups, service providers and even one country (the small island state of Tuvalu in the South Pacific) use or work with Bitcoin SV. We see powerful blockchain applications developed across many industries – Fintech, Healthcare, Supply Chain, RegTech, Internet of Things, Social Media, Online Games, Esports, and AR / VR. With a huge wave of innovation and so many stakeholders, I am confident that Bitcoin SV will succeed, whether Craig Wright enforces copyright law, wins or loses his litigation, or convinces people he created Bitcoin.
And that’s exactly how it should be – focus on the usefulness of the digital asset and its blockchain technology. Personally, I believe that Craig Satoshi is Nakamoto. But I’ve also repeatedly said that people should support Bitcoin SV because it correctly fulfills Bitcoin’s original vision, and because its blockchain just works (and works best) – not based on their belief in whether or not Craig is Satoshi. With Bitcoin SV, we’re building the most transformative data network the world has seen since the internet was launched – and that’s what it’s all about – primarily about technology.
I am sure that many of you will be following the latest round of digital asset drama with interest. For the rest of us in the global Bitcoin SV ecosystem, we will continue to work every day to develop a bigger vision for the world of Bitcoin.
Jimmy Nguyen is the founding president of the Bitcoin Association, the global industry organization advancing Bitcoin SV’s digital currency and blockchain. A well-known proponent of Bitcoin, he was previously CEO of nChain – a leader in research and development of blockchain solutions for businesses. Jimmy also had a 21-year career as an intellectual property and digital technology attorney and was an associate with three major US law firms.
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