December 4, 2017

Bitcoin Cash Development & Testing Accord



nChain believes Bitcoin Cash is the true Bitcoin. With its bigger blocks, faster speed, and lower transaction fees, Bitcoin Cash can fulfill the Satoshi Nakamoto white paper’s vision – a peer-to-peer electronic cash system. nChain is committed to using its research, technology and resources to ignite the growth of Bitcoin Cash, and help change the world.

To advance this vision, we look forward to working with other members of the Bitcoin Cash community. nChain is pleased to join in the Accord recently announced among key developer and testing groups for Bitcoin Cash client software – Bitcoin ABC, Bitcrust, Bitprim, Bitcoin Unlimited, Bitcoin XT, ElectrumX, nChain and Parity (collectively, the “Developer and Testing Groups”). Last week, some other developer groups published statements about key aspects of this Accord, as well their additional interests. This is nChain’s statement about the Accord.

As other groups have explained, all the Developer and Testing Groups operate independently. However, even in a decentralized ecosystem, the Developer and Testing Groups realize the value in having an organized approach to support the future of Bitcoin Cash and its protocol. To that end, after conferring with the other Developer and Testing Groups, nChain is pleased that the groups will coordinate in these areas:

  1. Massive Scaling. The Developer and Testing Groups commit to enable massive scaling of the Bitcoin Cash network, so that Bitcoin Cash becomes a fast, low-fee, global peer-to-peer electronic cash system.
  2. Regularly-Scheduled Protocol Updates. To achieve that vision, the Developer and Testing Groups will schedule Bitcoin Cash protocol upgrades on a planned date every 6 months – beginning May 15, 2018 and November 15, 2018. This regular schedule gives the Bitcoin Cash user community significant advance notice to prepare for protocol upgrades in an organized manner.
  3. May 15, 2018 Protocol Upgrade. Under the semi-annual schedule, the next protocol upgrade is planned for May 15, 2018. nChain is pleased to see that the Developer and Testing Groups will work towards incorporating the following features, to the best extent possible:
    1. Block Size: Increase the default block size limit, with a goal of 32MB for the next upgrade. nChain will support appropriate testing with the Developer and Testing Groups, which will help determine the increased block size. Whatever size is ultimately decided, nChain is pleased to see a commitment to larger blocks. Additionally, for a future protocol upgrade, the Developer and Testing Groups intend create an adaptive algorithm to determine the maximum block size.
    2. Difficulty Adjustment Algorithm: Implement further improvement to the DAA to continue stabilizing mining on the network;
    3. Op Codes: Begin the process to restore op codes that were previously disabled in the legacy BTC chain (now SegWit)
    4. Transaction Order in Blocks: Remove the current restriction on transaction order in blocks, and replace it with a canonical order by transaction ID.

    For the next following upgrade (on November 15, 2018) and subsequent upgrades, the Developer and Testing Groups will confer on what features to include.

  4. Extension Points. The Developer and Testing Groups intend to use known extension points to introduce new features into Bitcoin Cash. To date, there have only been 2 ways to upgrade the Bitcoin (or Bitcoin Cash) network, commonly known as a hard fork or a soft fork. Both mechanisms have their own shortcomings. Soft forks are activated by miners and there is no way for node operators to voice their opinion nor oppose on the fork. On the other hand, hard forks require all users to upgrade in lockstep and creates risk at time of activation. Extension points provide a new, and easier, third method to implement protocol upgrades. (Extension points are a method by which nodes implement new Opcodes and other changes that are not, strictly speaking, hard or soft forks. This is accomplished by introducing an indeterminate state that is neither “valid” nor “invalid” but temporarily valid and dependent upon proof of work using a form of emergent consensus.) The Developer and Testing Groups will evaluate when, and how, to begin using extensions points for the upgrade process.
  5. New BCH Address Format. The Developer and Testing Groups will work on a new address format for BCH, in order to prevent the risk of users mistakenly sending BCH to a BTC address, and vice versa.

nChain will continue its collaborative dialogue with the other Developer and Testing Groups, and we welcome input from the Bitcoin Cash community. We all need to work together in order to achieve the vision of a true peer-to-peer electronic cash system. Let’s go change the world with Bitcoin Cash.

– Jimmy Nguyen
CEO, nChain Group