Google alumni and Chaincode developers just announced the launch of an industry group to help bitcoin scale. Scaling has obviously been a huge debate in the bitcoin community over the past few years, and it’s a problem that needs to be solved if bitcoin becomes more mainstream. Now, a group called Bitcoin Optech seeks to solve that problem.
To this date, Segregated Witness (SegWit) has not been fully adopted by all wallets and service providers, and not all exchanges batch transactions – both of which have been popular and effective scaling methods in the bitcoin network.
Now, some of the brightest minds in the development space are teaming up to solve the scaling issue.
Announced earlier today, Bitcoin Optech (“operations technology”) is building a forum where bitcoin developers and corporations can work together to solve scaling problems. The goal is to facilitate workshops and online discussions that contribute positively towards bitcoin proposals.
Bitcoin Optech was proposed by John Newbery and James O’Beirne, two developers at New York-based Chaincode Labs. Chaincode is best known for being a major contributor to Bitcoin Core, although they also work on other cryptocurrency development projects. Chaincode is paying Newbery and O’Beirne their salaries to work part-time on the project.
To help move Bitcoin Optech forward, the pair have teamed up with former Google product manager Steve Lee. Lee will be the Project Manager for Bitcoin Optech.
Other key members of the team include Xapo CEO Wences Casares and institutional investor John Pfeffer, who will provide seed funding to cover contractors and expenses.
“Our hypothesis is if we can provide forums or bring together other open source contributors and industry players and try to help those industry players adopt scaling best practices, that could be a more fruitful than shouting at each other on Reddit,” said Newbery in a statement to Bitcoin Magazine.
Bitcoin Optech will now seek to attract key members of the bitcoin development community. The group is focusing on bitcoin’s open source developers, cryptocurrency exchanges, wallet providers, and other members of the industry. By bringing all of these parties together, the group can facilitate the development of practical scaling solutions for bitcoin.
Bitcoin Optech could lead to further development of solutions of SegWit. It could also encourage more exchanges to adopt transaction batching or improved fee estimation technology. Bitcoin Optech could also tackle contentious issues like the Lightning Network, Schnorr signatures, and scriptless scripts as these technologies continue to edge closer to release.
The idea for Bitcoin Optech originally came from Adam Back, the CEO of Blockstream, one of the key bitcoin developers. Back, in an email, proposed the Bitcoin Optech idea in an email last year. Now, on July 20, 2018, that group is officially a thing.
Before the group was launched, O’Beirne and Lee approached approximately twenty San Francisco and New York-based bitcoin companies. The pair asked these companies about their biggest issue with bitcoin. The goal was to identify the most problems holding back bitcoin development while also getting ideas on how companies are solving these problems.
Participating in the Bitcoin Optech Forum Will Cost a $5,000 Membership Fee
The Bitcoin Optech forum will have a membership fee of $5,000. Despite the high price, the organization claims the fee is “nominal” and that they’re “not aiming to make a profit out of this.” Instead, they’re seeking to facilitate real, useful engagement within the community.
Bitcoin Optech has already produced four weekly newsletters. This past week, the group held its first workshop in San Francisco. 17 bitcoin developers showed up for the workshop, including representatives from some of the Bay Area’s most prominent bitcoin companies. Over the coming months, Bitcoin Optech plans to hold further workshops in New York, Europe, and Asia.
Two of San Francisco’s leading fintech companies, Coinbase and Square, are already members of Bitcoin Optech.
Ultimately, scaling is one of the biggest issues holding back the bitcoin community. If Bitcoin Optech can solve bitcoin’s years-long scaling debate, then that would be a huge victory for the community.