Brian Hoffman, the man behind company OB1 and the OpenBazaar cryptocurrency e-commerce platform, has had just about enough from what he suggests is a vocal minority of cryptocurrency evangelists. In two blog posts, the first titled “SegWit2X: You’re Fucked if You Do, You’re Fucked If You Don’t” followed by “Bitcoin Enlightenment,” Hoffman outlines both his hopes and frustrations for the much-embattled bitcoin and it’s future scaling.
Bitcoin Has a Problem, Says OpenBazaar CEO
Brian Hoffman’s key position is this: bitcoin has a problem. That problem boils down to scaling. As bitcoin continues to grow in usage and popularity, fees are skyrocketing, at one point even reaching upwards of $100 during the post SegWit2X chaos in order to ensure a reasonable transaction time. For an e-commerce platform that is entirely powered by bitcoin like OpenBazaar, out of control fees and growing transaction times are tantamount to a death sentence.
The first line of his recent blog post states his position on this issue quite clearly.
“Over the last few months there has been no project or company that has suffered more dramatically due to SegWit2x and the New York Agreement than OB1 and OpenBazaar.”
His blog posts go on to detail the harsh comments he has received from some members of the bitcoin community. The comments are related to either his support of SegWit2X or his platform’s current lack of support for bitcoin cash.
We checked in with Brian to get his thoughts on bitcoin scaling and ask him why some people in the community get so emotionally fired up when talking about scaling, forks, and bitcoin cash, and what he would suggest be done to resolve the scaling problem.
Robert DeVoe: It’s pretty clear that bitcoin is suffering from a scaling issue. If you were elected king of Bitcoin for a day, what would be your solution to fix the problem?
Brian Hoffman: I don’t believe in the idea of a king for Bitcoin, but if people were to take my thoughts seriously I believe they should consider a more ambitious on-chain scaling solution like the one that was proposed by segwit2x. I don’t believe most people are opposed to the idea, but rather the method for which it could be implemented. If they believe that then they should work towards delivering an acceptable hard fork to do so and immediately. The process for getting changes into Bitcoin is so slow that any scaling upgrades get outpaced by the growth of the network and are eternally behind.
RD: You mentioned that you were getting a lot of negative comments about your original position on SegWit2x. Why in your opinion were the people that approached you so emotionally charged?
BH: I think there is a small group of individuals that are now worth a lot of money (on paper) from Bitcoin and have built upon a following of fans and supporters that they are using to push an agenda that they think protects against changes that might harm that fortune they’ve built. It’s understandable, but it also forces that conservative mentality on anyone else coming into the space or building businesses on top off of Bitcoin.
RD: You also mentioned getting a fair amount of negative attention about your stance on OpenBazaar not currently supporting Bitcoin Cash. Do you feel that the changes implemented in bitcoin cash are the correct ones to solve the scalability crisis? Also, do you think the highly emotional responses you have been getting about it are in any way justified or understandable?
BH: I’m not completely aware of all of the nuances of Bitcoin Cash or their implementation. I do not endorse Bitcoin Cash as the solution to the problem. I simply know at the moment it offers cheaper transactions and many of our users are asking us to support it and so we’ve begun to take a look at it and try to deliver it as an additional payment option.
Just as there are negative and aggressive voices in Bitcoin Core there are many in Bitcoin Cash as well. I think they’re emotional responses and not super cognizant in most cases. When people attack you personally or violently it’s usually because they have no good argument to make.
RD: In your most recent blog post, you mentioned that OB1 has decided to drop their exclusivity of only supporting bitcoin. Do you already have a few alternatives in mind to support? Are there any cryptocurrencies that you will intentionally avoid for any reason?
BH: We’re currently looking at Bitcoin Cash, Monero and ZCash. Charlie Lee has also offered to assist if we decide to work on LTC.
RD: You seem to be a vocal proponent of using bitcoin as an actual, transactional currency and not just something you buy and sit on. In your own estimation, will bitcoin ever be a truly widespread and well-adopted currency for everyday small purchases? What if bitcoin hits the oft estimated target of $100,000 per bitcoin by 2020?
BH: I think at this point the only way Bitcoin can become an every day payment mechanism is if Lightning or something similar enables it. The path forward for Core does not outline any meaningful path to achieving that goal IMO and I don’t think the group intends for it to ever serve that purpose. At least at layer 1.
Bitsonline would like to thank Brian Hoffman for taking the time to talk to us about his views on the current Bitcoin scalability issue. Bitsonline follows the block size debate closely, and will continue to bring our readers the most up-to-date news on the issue.
What do you think about Brian Hoffman’s stance on Bitcoin scaling? Do platforms like OpenBazaar need Bitcoin to have on-chain scaling in order to operate successfully? Share your thoughts in the comments section.
Images via Pixabay, Brian Hoffman