eCash is Bitcoin
The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated. Mark Twain
Four years ago, I wrote that Bitcoin Cash is Bitcoin. Since that time, much has happened in the crypto circles. Fortunes were made. Fortunes were lost. A few bad actors have been jailed. More will follow them as lessons still haven’t been learned, yet. However, operationally, despite the plethora of cryptos available on the market, the field has made remarkably little progress over the last four years.
For any coin of interest, let’s consider the following requirements:
- No one can deny a transaction - or make it happen without the keys.
- No one can identify the sender(s) or recipient(s) unless they want to.
- Transactions remain almost free up to mankind scale.
- Transactions are globally secure in less than 3 seconds.
- The infrastructure is a public good funded through the coin social contract.
There are still no coins on the market matching those 5 requirements. Bitcoin Core and Ethereum still fail on points 2 to 5 while Bitcoin Cash1 still fails points 4 and 5.
During the last four years, thanks to the stewardship of Bitcoin ABC, Bitcoin Cash has made steady progress on points 2, 3, and 4. However, this progress was not immediately perceptible for a large audience, because it primarily involved extensive, and unfortunately much needed, reengineering of the Satoshi codebase. Reengineering is an unrewarding task: years of effort to make sure that later developments will just “fall into place”, as opposed to letting the codebase turn into an even bigger, more unmaintainable monster than it already is.
Unfortunately, within the Bitcoin Cash community, no meaningful progress was ever achieved on infrastructure funding. This left Bitcoin Cash vulnerable to two problems: an adversarial takeover and an attrition of talent. Historically, Bitcoin Core had already fallen to the former: the team presently in charge has financial interests 2 that antagonize those of the BTC community. Last fall, Bitcoin Cash fell for the latter: talent left3 leaving incompetents in charge.
Enter eCash, the fork of Bitcoin Cash that finally addresses the problem of funding the coin infrastructure in a sensible manner. This fork is brought by Bitcoin ABC, the team who created Bitcoin Cash in the first place. It’s the team who brought about every single positive change to BCH infrastructure during the last 4 years. eCash is a fork and a rebranding of Bitcoin Cash. However, their ambition and their roadmap remain untouched.
eCash is on a trajectory to fulfill the 5 requirements listed above. Their tech roadmap is sound. As far I am concerned, eCash is the continuation of the nascent currency perspective that I have been supporting since 2011. The world doesn’t need another get-rich-quick scheme, but a free electronic currency is needed more than ever.
I wish eCash well.
Transactions on Bitcoin Cash remain almost free, however the BCH protocol still needs extensive reengineering to even scale to gigabyte-sized blocks, let alone terabyte-sized blocks. However, for the time being, due to limited adoption, BCH has all the scalability it requires. ↩︎
The Bitcoin Core team has financial stakes in making sure that the number of transactions over the BTC network remains capped at 7 transactions per second forever, as they happen to be vendors of “solutions”, which happen to precisely mitigate this problem. Unfortunately, those solutions are very much like the traditional banking system. ↩︎
In the May 2021 upgrade, BCHN pushed two dumb changes to the Bitcoin Cash network. BCHN removed the chain limit on unconfirmed transactions, putting the BCH ecosystem at risk of an extra classes of shenanigans - mostly denials of service - while further weakening zero-conf security. BCNH also managed to break some existing tokens by allowing multiple non-financial outputs per transaction. At the present day, BCHN still does not have anything resembling a roadmap. ↩︎