During the opening panel of this 12 months’s Understanding Bitcoin convention in Malta, some distinguished members of the Bitcoin neighborhood mirrored on the block dimension restrict controversy and the eventual activation of Segregated Witness (SegWit).
One of the people concerned within the dialog was Bull Bitcoin CEO Francis Pouliot, who was working at The Bitcoin Embassy in Montreal, Canada throughout some of essentially the most contentious durations of Bitcoin’s scaling debate. As half of his job at The Bitcoin Embassy, Pouliot operated a Bitcoin kiosk the place he interacted with hundreds of Bitcoin customers nose to nose. According to Pouliot, this expertise had a profound impression on how he considered Bitcoin and taught him the significance of Bitcoin customers working their very own nodes.
Why Do People Use Bitcoin?
During his look on the opening panel at Understanding Bitcoin, Pouliot mentioned how his job on the Bitcoin Embassy in Montreal helped him notice why individuals discovered Bitcoin helpful within the first place.
“I came to realize that the core value proposition that was kind of unifying everyone was this aspect of censorship resistance and also this aspect of the immutability of the bitcoin supply,” mentioned Pouliot.
According to Pouliot, virtually no one he was interacting with at The Bitcoin Embassy on a every day foundation was complaining in regards to the rising prices of transacting on the Bitcoin blockchain. Many of them had been additionally excited in regards to the prospect of the Lightning Network as a secondary protocol layer for funds.
Pouliot added that, for essentially the most half, the individuals who Pouliot was interacting with had been merely shopping for bitcoin and holding it as a long run funding. These Bitcoin customers weren’t on Facebook or Twitter arguing about whether or not the block dimension restrict must be elevated.
“These people will not update,” mentioned Pouliot. “They’re not going to update their software. They have no idea how to update.”
Users Need to Run Their Own Nodes
Due to the shortage of customers working their very own nodes, Pouliot turned involved concerning this lack of true participation within the Bitcoin community.
“One of the first things we noticed was that almost nobody was running a node,” mentioned Pouliot. “And almost nobody is running a node today. I think something like 0.3% of the Bitcoin users run nodes — so about like 70,000 nodes or something like that. And none of these people had a say in Bitcoin.”
From Pouliot’s perspective, working a node was not a notably massive deal within the early days of Bitcoin as a result of everybody had opted into a explicit ruleset and had no want to alter the foundations. But that each one modified through the scaling debate.
When the code for SegWit’s activation turned out there, miners had been sluggish to implement it. And as a result of of the way in which the code was deployed (by way of Bitcoin Improvement Proposal 9), SegWit’s activation was depending on miners signalling their preparedness for the improve.
This lack of exercise from miners led to the creation of Bitcoin Improvement Proposal 148 (BIP 148), which pushed for the activation of SegWit by manner of a user-activated comfortable fork (UASF). Users would successfully inform miners that they need miners to mine blocks which are appropriate with the SegWit enchancment.
“None of these people were able to voice any sort of opinion in terms of SegWit,” mentioned Pouliot. “So, we tried to get people to run the nodes and to enforce their own consensus rules because if you’re not running a node, you’re not a user of bitcoin; you’re an owner of bitcoin. You may have private keys, but you’re not an actual user — you’re not validating it. And ultimately, if you’re not running a node, then there isn’t really a point in using bitcoin. And I think that’s what UASF showed.”
Pouliot used the analogy of a person working their very own node as being like having a condom out there: It’s higher to have one and never want it somewhat than want one and never have one.
“UASF was the first time where I personally was not running a node to validate my own transactions before UASF, and it was the first time there was this actual need to voice opinion,” defined Pouliot. “So, I think it was a big educational opportunity for the public to realize: What is the use and power of running a full node?”