“Despite knowing that Bitcoin could fail all along, the now inescapable conclusion that it has failed still saddens me greatly. The fundamentals are broken and whatever happens to the price in the short term, the long term trend should probably be downwards. I will no longer be taking part in Bitcoin development and have sold all my coins.”
The above is the sentiment of Bitcoin (former) advocate and developer Mike Hearn on the pages of a Medium published yesterday. Hearn was also the creator of a Bitcoin crowdfunding platform called Lighthouse.
Hearn, called “one of Bitcoin’s most prominent software developers” by the Economist, slammed the cryptocurrency and stated the “network is on the brink of technical collapse”. Harsh words for an industry that has generated so much interest, and investment, in just a few years.
Hearn poses the question to readers;
“…would you care about a payments network that:
- Couldn’t move your existing money
- Had wildly unpredictable fees that were high and rising fast
- Allowed buyers to take back payments they’d made after walking out of shops, by simply pressing a button (if you aren’t aware of this “feature” that’s because Bitcoin was only just changed to allow it)
- Is suffering large backlogs and flaky payments
- … which is controlled by China
- … and in which the companies and people building it were in open civil war?
I’m going to hazard a guess that the answer is no.”
“The blockchain is full. You may wonder how it is possible for what is essentially a series of files to be “full”. The answer is that an entirely artificial capacity cap of one megabyte per block, put in place as a temporary kludge a long time ago, has not been removed and as a result the network’s capacity is now almost completely exhausted.”
If you have not heard about this you are not alone
Hearn checks off a growing list of problems including; bogus conferences, massive DDOS attacks, developers that should not be involved, the list is long. He is of the belief, Bitcoin is in a death spiral.
Bitcoin, part of a decentralized community, that avoided the “too big to fail” and “systemically important institutions” – has now become “something even worse”. The ecosystem managed by consensus has now become death by (dysfunctional) committee according to Hearn.
There is an interesting thread on Reddit where some of the commenters believe this is a staged attack designed to undermine an existing cryptocurrency ecosystem, to the benefit of another. Referencing the apparent new employer of Hearn, one person states, “They want to be the ‘Microsoft that killed Netscape’ for the crypto era”.
While cryptocurrencies and blockchain are not going away anytime soon, it will be interesting to see how much substance there is in Hearn’s attestations.