Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Wright and nChain: Forget SegWit, Bitcoin Must Scale Exponentially

Wright and nChain: Forget SegWit, Bitcoin Must Scale Exponentially

Bitcoin needs to grow exponentially — but right now it’s lagging behind other technological advances, says nChain Chief Scientist Craig Wright. He spoke to a crowd of TV cameras and Bitcoin enthusiasts in Tokyo — on the same day his company announced it would support further development of the Bitcoin Unlimited client.

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“You haven’t seen anything yet … what we have planned for Bitcoin is going to blow your mind,” promised Wright when asked about nChain’s goals.

The company’s announcement comes at an interesting time, as Bitcoin looks increasingly ready to implement SegWit as a scaling solution. However from Wright’s words, it seemed clear many large Bitcoin players are still looking elsewhere.

Wright: ‘Scale Massively, or Bitcoin Will Die’

Craig Wright nChain
Craig Wright

“We utterly reject SegWit,” Wright said. nChain will deploy a Bitcoin mining pool that rejects SegWit transactions. Its vision (like Unlimited’s) is uncapped blocks, which he said will lead to lower fees but much higher usage overall — and much higher BTC value.

SegWit will become difficult and slow to use, Wright added, driving users to a more efficient network. He hinted that would be the proposed “Bitcoin ABC” (now named “Bitcoin Cash”) though noted nChain isn’t formally affiliated.

“Unless we scale massively, and I mean massively, Bitcoin will die. It won’t be here,” Wright warned. “Bitcoin isn’t competing with other altcoins, it’s in competition with every form of money, every form of payment.”

The very nature of money will change, he said. The Bitcoin scaling debate and its SegWit solution are too short-term focused, and Bitcoin is falling behind the advance of computational power and rate of new device penetration.

Billions of People, Machines and AIs – All Using Bitcoin

nChain and Wright’s vision is one where every transaction in the world is denominated in Bitcoin, with 7 billion people using it every day. The value of one bitcoin could easily be in the millions.

He took the vision even further, describing the rise of artificial intelligence, economic interaction between people and machines, machines and machines, and other intelligent agents linking billions of IoT devices.

In the future, revenue streams for Bitcoin could include “new types of exchanges, P2P exchanges” with split-key storage making them impossible to hack. There would be fees for faster validation, coin-mixing, smart contract scripting, and escrow and insurance services.

Bitcoin is actually Turing-complete, he said, but few know it. When asked if Bitcoin could do everything that platforms like Ethereum could, Wright replied “only if you think small”.

nChain Plans to Accelerate Bitcoin Unlimited

nChain Jimmy Nguyen
Jimmy Nguyen

In a statement, nChain promised to “accelerate” Bitcoin Unlimited by contributing its staff and processes to strengthen the software. It will apply rigorous software testing and quality assurance, including a “Secure Software Development Life Cycle” — consisting of unit, regression and performance testing. It will also work on documentation and project management.

Also speaking in Tokyo today was nChain’s Jimmy Nguyen, who reiterated points he previously made in blog posts. That is, under current national laws SegWit transactions may not count as legally binding digital signatures — as they’re not “attached” to the contract, or transaction they sign.

The scaling vision sounded impressive. But can it actually succeed?

For Wright and nChain’s vision to succeed, though, there will need to be a dramatic shift. Even if the contentious SegWit2x plan succeeds, the block size will only increase to 2MB. That won’t even come close to world domination.

While nChain says it will “follow the longest chain” whatever changes are adopted, the company’s rhetoric clearly wants something more radical than current mainstream proposals.

Bitcoin Cash, or Bitcoin ABC, would result from a hard fork in August if SegWit looks like becoming an official part of the Bitcoin protocol.

Do you agree with Craig Wright’s vision? Tell us your opinion in the comments below.

Images via Jon Southurst

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