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Mike Hearn: Bitcoin Cash Is Repeating Bitcoin's Mistakes

Early bitcoin developer Mike Hearn offered new insights into his outlook on the project and its rival implementations in a Reddit AMA Wednesday.

Apr 6, 2018 at 4:00 a.m. UTC
Updated Sep 13, 2021 at 7:47 a.m. UTC

A long-time bitcoin developer who quit the project in 2016 broke his silence on Thursday, opening up on the state of the project in a lengthy reddit Q&A.

There, Mike Hearn, who has since joined banking consortium startup R3, discussed a range of topics, including the bitcoin cash hard fork and the block size debates that ultimately led developers to part ways over the roadmap for the world's largest cryptocurrency last summer.

Of note were Hearn's remarks here given his own attempts to reshape the bitcoin protocol in 2015 and early 2016 presaged the split. Together with Gavin Andresen, then bitcoin's lead maintainer, Hearn even introduced a software to raise the block size, proposing a hard fork that was voted down. (Hearn later quit the Core team, writing that bitcoin "failed" because of issues with its community.)

However, Hearn now believes bitcoin cash has inherited many of the original project's problems.

He wrote:

"[Bitcoin cash] strongly resembles the bitcoin community of 2014. This is not good."

Hearn went on to assert his belief that bitcoin cash, like bitcoin in 2014, lacks "formalized governance" and mostly communicates via reddit, where he said users are able to censor unpopular views.

As such, he advised bitcoin cash users to "find a replacement" forum where moderator power would be limited and community views on future upgrades could be properly assessed. In particular, he expressed "alarm" that bitcoin cash was planning to hard fork its chain "with no attempt to measure support."

Still, he also urged the community to "be bold."

"Liberate yourselves from just proceeding along the path Satoshi imagined and be willing to think radical, even heretical thoughts," he concluded.

Mike Hearn via CoinDesk archieves

DISCLOSURE

The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

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