A Major Bitcoin Scaling Meeting Could Take Place This May

An attempt is being made to gather representatives of bitcoin's diverse communities to discuss bitcoin scaling.

AccessTimeIconMar 23, 2017 at 3:30 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 11, 2021 at 1:11 p.m. UTC
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A small group of bitcoin industry leaders, developers and miners are planning to discuss the digital currency's development roadmap at an invite-only meeting in May.

A notice of the gathering, as well as a list of potential guests, was posted to a private mailing list today, with participants reportedly including major players from the ongoing, and recently active, scaling debate.

Bitcoin.com owner Roger Ver, Bitfury CEO Valery Vavilov, Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong, Blockchain CEO Peter Smith are among those listed as possible attendees.

Other participants suggested to be attending include Bloq CEO Jeff Garzik, an undecided representative from BitGo and Digital Currency Group CEO Barry Silbert.

"It is certainly my hope that each of you see somebody below that you know and trust to advocate for – and hopefully agree on – a path forward that is best for our industry," Silbert wrote in the mailing list message.

DCG confirmed it is helping to organize the meeting, which would be held in New York in May.

BitPay CEO Stephen Pair and Bitmain co-founder Jihan Wu confirmed they were participating in statements to CoinDesk.

Though some declined to comment, others indicated that they are keen to use the venue as a way to increase their understanding of ongoing disagreements.

"I am hoping to better understand what those that want a hard fork are hoping to achieve. We think a hard fork is unnecessary and that their goals could very likely be achieved without one. But I would like to hear their reasoning," Pair said.

Yet, at press time, it is unclear whether the meeting has broader buy-in, with Back reporting he would not attend, despite the invitation.

He told CoinDesk that he believes miners are "profiting from high fees" on the network, and that they stand to gain by delaying SegWit, Bitcoin Core's proposed scaling option. Blockstream is one of the largest employers of bitcoin developers.

"At root this is an economic question, not a technical discussion," Back said.

Other industry participants are reportedly aware of the meeting, with former BitInstant CEO Charlie Shrem telling CoinDesk that he is involved in helping to promote the planned event as a way to resolve the debate.

"I messaged Roger [Ver] this morning, saying 'I implore you to go in person because no one speaks for Roger except Roger'," he said, adding:

"I will do everything I can to make sure the right people get into that room together, for the sake of bitcoin."

Ver has been among the more vocal and controversial critics of the Bitcoin Core roadmap, going so far as to back alternative development teams and alternative softwares in order to fix perceived problems in its operation.

Another attempt

Rumors of a larger meeting follow weeks of increasing discussion that the bitcoin network could possibly undergo a hard fork, a process by which its blockchain could be at risk of splitting into two separate networks (with two separate tokens).

Further, it is the latest in what have been several past attempts to settle the so-called 'scaling debate' via in-person events, though none, to date, have been successful.

In recent weeks, developers and miners have shown a willingness to back alternate proposals, a development that has prompted wider discussion.

According to the message, a list of the participants includes:

  • Bitcoin.com – Roger Ver or Jake Smith
  • Bitfury – Val Vavilov
  • BitGo – Mike Belshe or Ben Davenport
  • Bitmain – Jihan Wu
  • BitPay – Stephen Pair
  • Blockchain – Peter Smith
  • Blockstream – Adam Back
  • Bloq – Jeff Garzik
  • Coinbase – Brian Armstrong
  • DCG – Barry Silbert
  • Gavin Andresen – Jeff Garzik will represent Gavin

Disclosure: CoinDesk is a subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, CoinDesk's parent company.

Meeting room image via Shutterstock


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