Bitcoin developer Mike Hearn surprised many bitcoin users and dark web navigators this weekend when he posted a blog in which he claimed that Bitcoin was a “failed” project. He said he has sold all of his bitcoins and will no longer invest time or money into the currency’s proliferation.
For those of you just tuning into the bitcoin world, they’re an encrypted currency overseen by no government agency. Bitcoins allow for anonymous users (generally on the Tor network) to buy and sell goods without being traceable, allowing the currency to play a large part in the dark web black market.
They’re also used in legitimate ways, however, and several banks have begun to work with the currency. That said, many governments have chosen to define bitcoins as a commodity instead of a currency for regulatory reasons.
The value of a Bitcoin has changed dramatically over the past few years, tending to rocket and dive in value as the years go by. As more users use it, unfortunately some problems only grow. The transaction rate for Bitcoins slow as users increase, so many people have complained that payments take too long, to the point that it’s hampering sales.
Mike Hearn worked for Bitcoin full-time after leaving his job with Google in 2016 and devoted himself to the creation of Bitcoin XT software, a programming package that attempted to sort out Bitcoin’s capacity issues.
Gavin Anderson, the second in command after the Bitcoin’s mysterious creator Satoshi Nakamoto, claimed that Bitcoin blocks should just be made larger:
“It is more likely people [will] just stop using Bitcoin because transaction confirmation becomes increasingly unreliable,” he predicted. Bitcoin XT would increase the block size limit to 8MB.
Because Bitcoin is a decentralized currency, software developers are worried about making any changes to it that could alter its fundamental nature in such a way that the Bitcoin culture stagnates or fizzles out. Some members of the Bitcoin community have vehemently attacked any attempts to increase the block size, and death threats have even been made towards the software’s developers.
“This is a matter of perspective,” he stated. “The Bitcoin network has been updated safely dozens of times and will continue to be the most reliable, affordable and efficient way to send value around the world.”
Others believe that the feud is just another sign that Bitcoin is on its way out:
“I’m sure that there are smart people right now working out what the next generation [of Bitcoin] should look like but I have to say I’m not convinced that money or payments is the optimum [use] of technology,” asserted Dave Birch, director of Consult Hyperion.
The Bitcoin’s value has dropped $50 since Thursday, but its value is notoriously volatile. It’s hard to predict if this will be the end of Bitcoin; its end has been predicted so many times, and yet the currency carries on.