Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Bitcoin Developer: 'Bitcoin Has Failed'

Description: A screenshot from the cartoon South Park showing a white man in
a gray business suit with a blue and white tie sitting at a desk with the caption:
"We have put all your money in Bitcoin. And it's gone."
Nike Hearn, a Bitcoin software developer for over 5 years wrote about the success- or lack thereof- with the virtual crypto-currency Bitcoin in an essay last week:
I’ve spent more than 5 years being a Bitcoin developer. The software I’ve written has been used by millions of users, hundreds of developers, and the talks I’ve given have led directly to the creation of several startups. ...From the start, I’ve always said the same thing: Bitcoin is an experiment and like all experiments, it can fail.
But despite knowing that Bitcoin could fail all along, the now inescapable conclusion that it has failed still saddens me greatly. The fundamentals are broken and whatever happens to the price in the short term, the long term trend should probably be downwards. I will no longer be taking part in Bitcoin development and have sold all my coins.
Heard then goes into just why Bitcoin was a good idea that flopped, and flopped hard:

It has failed because the community has failed. What was meant to be a new, decentralised form of money that lacked “systemically important institutions” and “too big to fail” has become something even worse: a system completely controlled by just a handful of people. Worse still, the network is on the brink of technical collapse. The mechanisms that should have prevented this outcome have broken down, and as a result there’s no longer much reason to think Bitcoin can actually be better than the existing financial system. Think about it. If you had never heard about Bitcoin before, would you care about a payments network that: Couldn’t move your existing money, had wildly unpredictable fees that were high and rising fast, allowed buyers to take back payments they’d made after walking out of shops, by simply pressing a button, is suffering large backlogs and flaky payments, and in which the companies and people building it were in open civil war?

Heard goes into each of the failure points in more depth in his essay. One of the more interesting things was seeing the Bitcoin project itself slowly being eroded by the same petty disagreements and flame wars that tank tiny, obscure open-source projects.

What do you think, readers?

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