Legendary bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto’s bitcoin whitepaper is still available online in its original form. Now, the owner of Bitcoin.org wants to revise that whitepaper.
The decision comes after the Segwit2x developers announced plans to cancel the proposed mid-November hard fork. One of the administrators of Bitcoin.org, Theymos, now wants any company on the website’s list of “recommended businesses” to take a pledge.
Bitcoin.org’s list of recommended businesses would be required to take a pledge stating that “Bitcoin is not ruled by miners”. If they refuse to take that pledge, they would be removed from the Bitcoin.org page or be forced to take a “Bitcoin Basics” course.
The Segwit2x hard fork might be canceled – but clearly, the drama is not over in the bitcoin community.
Bitcoin Companies Would Be Required to Take a Pledge or Take a “Bitcoin Basics” Course
Theymos made the decision about the pledge on November 8, the same day the Segwit2x working group decided to cancel the hard fork.
Theymos argued that several companies had previously declared that miners control bitcoin. These statements were made during the Segwit2x waiting period, and Theymos believes the statement should be addressed.
In the eyes of Theymos, the idea that bitcoin miners control bitcoin is a serious threat to the long-term stability of the ecosystem:
“This belief is one of the most dangerous threats to bitcoin, since if most people think that, then bitcoin ends up controlled by only a handful of people — Although this issue is mentioned in a few places on Bitcoin.org, I’ve been thinking that Bitcoin.org should somehow act against this more than it is already,” Theymos explained in a Github issue.
“For example, maybe Bitcoin.org should require that wallets and services sign a very simple pledge that acknowledges that bitcoin is not ruled by miners in order to be linked from Bitcoin.org. Or Bitcoin.org could offer a free “bitcoin basics” online course and certification which would have as one of its main goals getting this concept through to people.”
Others Want to Rewrite Satoshi’s Whitepaper
While all of the above drama was underway, Bitcoin.org owner Cobra Bitcoin declared that “we seriously need to rewrite the white paper.”
“Cobra Bitcoin” is the anonymous owner of Bitcoin.org.
“The white paper is to blame for all of these dangerous beliefs – We seriously need to rewrite it, or produce a completely new white paper and call that the Bitcoin white paper,” explains Cobra Bitcoin.
Cobra went on to explain that many people in power base their understanding of bitcoin on that whitepaper, and many of these people misunderstand the message of the whitepaper.
“It’s an extremely dangerous document for an ignorant person to read.”
Why Do People Have a Problem With Satoshi’s Whitepaper?
Satoshi published his whitepaper online in 2008. That whitepaper remains in its original form on Bitcoin.org. You can view the PDF file in the exact same state in which it appeared online 9 years ago.
Why do certain people suddenly have a problem with the bitcoin whitepaper? Well, individuals like Cobra Bitcoin take issue with one particular quote that references the voting power of miners:
“They vote with their CPU power, expressing their acceptance of valid blocks by working on extending them and rejecting invalid blocks by refusing to work on them. Any needed rules and incentives can be enforced with this consensus mechanism.”
Satoshi is talking about “full nodes” in that line. However, some have misinterpreted it to mean that miners control the network entirely.
Jihan Wu Questions the Mentality of Theymos
Segwit2x developer and Bitmain co-founder Jihan Wu expressed concern about the mentality of Theymos in a tweet, stating that “miners of course do not control bitcoin, but I am curious about the mentality of Theymos when he(she) asks for a pledge.”
Ultimately, this isn’t the first time we’ve seen drama like this in the bitcoin community. In fact, Cobra Bitcoin has previously suggested the exact same thing. In June 2016, many were outraged at the suggestion of revising the original whitepaper, with one commenter saying “many dictatorships rewrite history to suit their political goals.”
There’s a lot of conversion on both sides of this debate. However, it seems like quietly editing Satoshi’s whitepaper is a bad idea regardless of which side you’re on.