Bitcoin Core developer Gavin Andresen took to Reddit today to engage the community in an ask-me-anything (AMA) session that tackled a variety of topics both silly and serious.
In his post kicking off the session, the 47-year-old chief scientist at the Bitcoin Foundation detailed his contributions to the bitcoin space so far.
These included the nine Bitcoin Improvement Protocols (BIPS) he has written, including multi-signature transaction support and the Payment Protocol, plus the thousands of lines of code he has added to Bitcoin Core.
The extended session, however, focused mostly on the future of bitcoin, with Reddit participants asking for Andresen's insights on what they can do to help spread the use of bitcoin and what he sees as the biggest challenges that remain for the technology.
Here are some of the top questions and answers from the AMA session:
(Beaucoin) - What can the average noobie do to help spread adoption of this fantastic technology?
(Sorcery-Sorcery) - What is in your opinion the biggest obstacle for bitcoin at this moment? What do you think would be the most important factor in bringing bitcoin to the masses? Where do you see bitcoin is five years?
A: Obstacle/factor: getting to where people are earning bitcoin directly, instead of having to jump through some hoop to trade the currency that they earn for BTC.
Bitcoin in five years: uhhh.... 2019.... I left my crystal ball in my other coat pocket. I think it'll either disappear and become an under-the-covers ledger system that Joe-ordinary-consumer never sees. Or it will be the de-facto currency of the Internet (prices still quoted in your local currency, but payment in bitcoin always accepted).
3: Bitcoin ban
(David722) - If a country were to "ban" Bitcoin, how could that be enforced? Is it possible for bitcoin internet traffic be blocked at the ISP level (or any other)?
A: It would be enforced the same way banning any activity a government doesn't like is enforced, with fines and jail sentences for anybody found doing the thing they don't like.
They would probably start by making it very difficult to exchange bitcoin for the national currency via banks.
Unencrypted bitcoin traffic would be pretty easy to block at the ISP level, but it is also pretty easy to tunnel it through Tor, which is harder to block. But talk to the Tor folks about that, they know a whole lot more about blocking internet protocols than I do.
4: Hopes and fears
(PaulCapestany) - What are you currently most excited about with regards to bitcoin development? And, conversely, what are you currently most worried about?
5: From experiment to established
(Piper67) - You've long been a proponent of the "Bitcoin is an experiment" line of thinking. While that is technically true, so is "Gravity is just a theory". What needs to happen for you to switch from "bitcoin is an experiment" to "bitcoin is established"?
Q: (bitcoinoisseur) - What was the first physical thing you paid for with bitcoin?
maraoz - What are your thoughts on non-financial transactions or uses of the bitcoin block chain? (e.g counterparty, colored coins, proof of existence, etc.)
A: I'm excited about the possibilities. I think a lot of projects unnecessarily mix up the various services the block chain provides, and try to make it do things it is not good at doing (like storing data).
I think the best projects understand that they don't need to invent a new currency. They don't need to use the block chain as their long-term data storage solution. And they don't need to use the peer-to-peer (p2p) network as their communication mechanism. They should use the block chain as the world's most secure distributed ledger.
8: Hard fork
(NedRadnad) - Do we really need to hard fork the chain to achieve scalability? When do you plan on making the fork?
(Aviathor) - The eight decimal spaces of bitcoin stand in the way of the "ease of use" in my humble opinion. What do you think? Thanks for your time!!! (sorry for bad English)
11: Other projects
(bubbasparse) - What are some of the most exciting code implementations/projects/companies that you've been keeping an eye on?
12 : New title
(bitbeliever) - For how long will you stay on as chief scientist?
Note: the Reddit comments were left unedited to retain the original style.
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