Craig Wright: The hash war and Bitcoin SV fork set us back 6 months
But surprise development roadblocks might be par for the course.
Craig Wright has an ambitious roadmap for Bitcoin SV. As he described in his appearance on Crypto Finder, the next steps will start with onboarding users to the ledger itself – perhaps starting with supply chain solutions – and ending with turning the entire world into a network powered by bitcoin, that is to say BSV.
But the road has been filled with some unexpected obstacles. The original bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash fork wasn't part of the plan, and neither was the recent hash war, and these kinds of issues are hindering development in meaningful ways, he says.
Sticking to the plan
"We'll have the atomic swap code out in the SDK (software developer's kit) next year," he says. "That would have been already, apart from the whole hash war and SV, and having to recode a whole lot of things. That put us six months behind."
Bitcoin SV's move towards atomic swaps (cross-chain decentralised cryptocurrency exchanging) might seem strange on one level, given that Wright has tended to be consistently derisive towards all cryptocurrencies except one flavour of bitcoin at a time, and that the Bitcoin ABC implementation which sparked the entire BSV schism included support for atomic swaps among other changes.
But he doesn't see BSV atomic swaps being for other cryptocurrencies. Instead, he sees it as a valuable tool for tying bitcoin with digital fiat currencies of all kinds in the future.
"That'll happen, and allow people to then create exchanges versus US dollar to whatever else. That will enable people to start using US dollars on chain... I can use bitcoin without knowing I'm using bitcoin. I can go there and pay for my goods in America in US dollars. I can pay for it in euros in France, I can pay with pounds in Britain. And I can instantly change them where I want in the world. Then people will have a wallet that pays for the micro transactions, without even knowing it, in bitcoin," Wright says.
Who's going to be issuing these fiat-backed currencies? Ideally central banks, Wright says.
"Not like Tether, but a real bank... the only way you can have a true stablecoin is you have a Federal Bank in the US, or the Bank of England - or something like that - issue something. And that will be one of the early stepping stones."
With many central banks, including the aforementioned Bank of England, casting meaningful glances in the direction of central bank digital currency, it probably doesn't hurt to be prepared.
Scaling solutions are also as front-of-mind in the BSV camp as anywhere else. The main difference might be that SV forsees scaling taking the form of straight up big blocks, terabytes and up.
The plan is to make this feasible, firstly by leaning on Moore's law and hoping it can take the weight, and secondly, through upshifting bitcoin mining to increasingly more powerful data centres.
"Miners are going to basically have to get larger pipes... if you read the early things, bitcoin was destined to end up in data centres - sorry, but that's how it's going to work - and nodes will specialise over time. Over the next two years we have a scaling roadmap that's very aggressive," Wright says. "We want to get around to between 1 and 4 million transactions per second, sustainably. So that's number one."
"Number two, we want to make it so that we have a distributed microservices architecture from the nodes. We don't want everyone to have to run everything. We want people to be able to configure nodes, depending on what their business is. That will enable people to make better business apps, make better sites. If you're only using part of what Bitcoin is to create a service, then only have that. If you only need the mempool because you're a merchant, then that's going to be part of what you can do."
The end result, Wright says, is for Bitcoin SV and its modular microservices system "allowing the creation of, effectively, a large cluster machine that handles many, many transactions a second".
This vision (this Satoshi's vision, if you will) has always been part of the roadmap, Wright says. But it is a somewhat specific vision of the future of bitcoin that's developmentally incompatible with some of the previous directions taken by bitcoin developers, and the frequent updates.
Moving fast and having things broken
"We actually started trying to do that [distributed microservices model] in 2013," he says. "And what you may guess is every time you change protocol, something like - we were using RabbitMQ at that stage - it just breaks. So whenever Core would change the protocol we would be basically screwed. And they did that a lot."
But beyond the workflow differences, it seems likely that philosophical differences about things other than block size might have seen bitcoin fracture anyway.
"We don't want the concept of making an anarchist coin," Wright emphasises. "Money needs to be neutral."
"That means you work with government. You're not working for government, you're not working against them. It means you work for the average person, the average business. And the average person wants force of law. They want something that actually restrains government."
"What people don't get - like the ABC anarchist's group - is force of law protects people... force of law means law applies equally, whether you're the poorest or the richest in society. That's what force of law means."
There's obviously still a very long way to go on that front, but "that's what bitcoin works towards" Wright adds.
Bitcoin SV is not about under-the-law counterculture, Wright says. It's about driving value by creating an actually useful ledger with big honking blocks, and then getting the world on board with it.
"We'll actually be approaching some banks," he says. "Even go up to the evil credit card companies and try and get them to do this, because at scale we'll be able to have transactions with more security, faster, better settlement than Visa can do. So once we get that I'd actually like to go up to Visa and go "Hey, how about you move over to bitcoin? Why? Because we'll save you money."