This page is under construction. When complete, it will contain things like “Endorsements”, “ACK” (acknowledgements as ‘acceptable’), or “Objections”.

It will also contain links to relevant discussion on [bitcoin-dev] and [bitcoin-discuss]. It may also link to media or social media, if appropriate.

My Meta-Review

  1. 06.10.2017 – A Review of Bitcoin-Dev Discussions

Mailing List Discussions

Endorsements

  1. 12.06.2017 – Jimmy Song supports on grounds of political pragmatism.
  2. 16.06.2017 – Luke-Jr weighs in , this post later became stickied on r/bitcoin.

Objections (and Responses)

Vaguely in the style of ‘The Skeptics’, emphasizing Taleb’s “global and morally mandatory” skin-in-the-game heuristic.

16.06.2017 -- Jasmine Solana / Dr. Craig Wright

Summary

Jasmine wrote an article , which is theoretically a critique of Jimmy Song’s piece.

The title claims that the “sidechain is basically a return to banking”. The article spends its first 316 words (66.2% of the total 477 words) summarizing sidechains for the reader. The very next sentence asserts that “sidechain is just another kind of fractional reserve banking, which could herald a return to banking as we know it.” (emphasis added). Apparently, sidechains “remove scarcity” and they even put Bitcoin back at the mercy of the evil Central Bankers.

After making these claims, Jasmine supports them in only a single way (…after all, throw in another quote from Song and she’s only got a scant three sentences left) which is to quote the known fraud Dr. Craig S. Wright so that he may assert four solitary words: “sidechains are bitcoin’s inflation”.

Jasmine’s penultimate sentence is a doozy, and does more to discredit the article than anything I could write myself: “And since developers—who, let’s admit, do not have a strong understanding of economics—believe such things are irrelevant, this paves the way for groups who want inflation to gain control.”

My Response

To the extent that this article is not a joke, it’s central (and only) complaint is about inflation. Drivechain does not encourage inflation of any kind. In fact, the original mainchain Bitcoin that you know and love, is actually doing a kind of passive accounting for all sidechains. After all, how could it not? The deposits “to” a sidechain, or withdrawals “from” a sidechain, must -per the rules of softfork- be valid txns under all old rules.

What is possible, is for a sidechain to have an error in which a Bitcoin is counterfeited. This would immediately result in a “bank run”, where everyone would attempt to withdraw from the sidechain, at the pegged 1:1 rate. Those who withdrew early would be paid in full, and those who withdrew late would not be paid at all. Thus the chain would go “bankrupt” immediately. In other words no one would do this intentionally (and it is pretty difficult to do mistakenly..just check make sum(inputs)=sum(outputs) a tx rule or block rule).

Aside: The origin of this myth is probably page 15 of the Blockstream Oct 2014 paper which has a section “Economic experimentation” (as well as p16’s “Demurrage” and “Subsidy” sections). Even though the paper is clear on the inflation distinction, readers have departed from them confused. I distinctly recall, in Japan in July 2015, Warren Togami giving a sidechains talk, and people asked him questions about issuing more coins. Warren appeared to have no idea what they were even talking about, and when I interjected to reference the appropriate sections (from memory) Warren appeared to be surprised that such sections were in the paper, and said (something like) “I don’t know why anyone would do that”.

Certainly, Wright would scour the landscape for anything to use against his arch-nemesis, Greg Maxwell.

16.06.2017 -- Greg Slepak

Possibly Solara is more influential than I thought! I can’t recall ever hearing this “banking” comparison come up before. But, it seems to be spreading, because…

Summary

Later that very day, Greg took to Twitter to express his opinion –which, in addition to $3.75 will get you an iced mocha frappuccino at Starbucks– that the Drivechain security model is “a complete regression back to banking”. He also implied that DC would “[turn] miners into the exchange everyone goes through” and that DC “defeats the purpose of Bitcoin.”

However, during the ensuing conversation, he admitted to have not done any background reading whatsoever. Mashuri Clark then asked “If you’re not going to read up on it then why should anyone listen to your critiques?” to which Greg replied “I agree, they shouldn’t”.

My Response

Definitely the strongest part of Greg’s critique is when he points out that the reader should not listen to him because he is too lazy to do any background reading.

Absent that, his central complaint seems to be that users would need to trust miners, to the exact same degree that today’s fiat users must trust commercial banking establishments (after all, it is a “complete” regression). This is obvious nonsense (ie, the transparency/auditability, pseudonymity, programmability, etc features are incomparable), but within Greg’s brash overgeneralizations is a mumbled recycling of Peter Todd’s original Oct-2014 complaint about “51% of miners can steal coins”.

The question is so frequently asked that I moved it to the front page (as you may have seen on your way over here). Greg replied –in a remark whose eloquence befits perfectly a man of his reputation– that I hadn’t proved “jack shit” and that the situations were unrelated.

Sadly for Greg, Mashuri had earlier linked him to something which precisely addressed directly this lack of relation (“My generalization is slightly problematic… As I’ve just explained, to correct this relative deficiency, we add…”). It is exactly this information which Greg chose tragically to ignore, citing (correctly this time) his own indolence.

Greg futher embarassed himself by not knowing how soft forks work, not knowing the distinction between “drivechain” (the connecting tissue) and individual sidechains, confusing “miners” with “a commitee” and failing to grasp the ecological nature of economic contracts.

In conclusion, Greg is correct that none of us should have listened to him. Nonethless, his mistakes are probably a useful tour for some readers, and a valuable part of the peer review process.

Update 6/20: As a result of experiencing this webpage, Greg’s brain exploded, and he tried unsuccessfully to erase his earlier mistakes by doubling down on them in various ways.

First, he went straight to his parents the bitcoin-dev mailing list, but forgot that [bitcoin-dev] is, despite the name, actually about bitcoin software development, and not about ‘refereeing what someone put on the internet somewhere’. Ergo his email was rejected by the moderators, and he had to write a new email pretending to be a technical critique of drivechain, possibly only to waste my time as I had already replied to him once privately. Secondly he went on an aforelinked loony twitter rant in which he rejected the premise that I am allowed to make assertions (and/or that I am allowed to support them with references that immediately display quotations from him in their exact original context, which readers can fully examine at their leisure), and generally advertised to the world that, if he doesn’t understand something (not just drivechain), then it is everyone else’s fault for not immediately bringing a tailor-made explanation to him on command. Third, after warming up with a few outright lies, he broadcasted a quote from private emails that I sent directly to him (as a favor to him), deliberately to misrepresent this as ..gasp.. ‘a THREAT’. Unfortunately, he forgot that no one cares (ie, liked by the “Peer Review Bot”, lol!), and he also forgot that, as the author, I can just publish the email so that everyone can read it and learn for themselves that the email is uniformly disdainful, and that the sentence in question follows many informative, non-minatory paragraphs. Fourth, he then had his mom make him a sandwich so that he could pretend to have a girlfriend and then tweet about it.

We hope that Greg is getting the help he needs, and wish him a speedy recovery.

Footnote

Please submit a pull request or contact me with any links I’ve overlooked…if you think it is worth replying to. It is hard to track everything that’s written!