No one will deny that the conflicting opinions on how Bitcoin should evolve are quite amusing to follow. The course of action maintained by the Bitcoin Core developers raises a lot of questions and very few solutions to ongoing problems. We have seen hard forks pop up out of nowhere, although Bitcoin Cash is the only one with any sort of traction. According to some users, a hard fork of Bitcoin needs to remove proof of work. Whether or not such a concept is even viable has yet to be determined.
A Proof of Stake Version of Bitcoin?
We have seen a very interesting discussion on Twitter over the past 24 hours. It all began with Vinny Lingham promoting Bitcoin Cash, which immediately drew a response from Litecoin developer Charlie Lee. Lingham pointed out that BCH not having SegWit is the main reason why it is superior. At the same time, SegWit paves the way for the Lightning Network, which may finally make Bitcoin useful again. We also can’t forget that SegWit is a big reason why the Bitcoin community is so fractured right now.
Moreover, it seems Lingham is clearly against a user-activated soft fork which changes the economic rules of the system. That in itself is interesting, considering that the UASF had zero impact on those rules whatsoever. Instead, it was the first time all Bitcoin users – not just miners – could flex their muscles and make decisions. Opinions on this particular matter will always remain divided, though.
The conversation took an interesting turn when someone proposed that a peer-to-peer network governance model could only be achieved through proof of stake. PoS removes the need for mining, which means that miners can no longer “make the rules”. At the same time, there is nothing which dictates that a P2P network consensus model doesn’t need miners or would be better off without miners. Both models will slowly push toward a more centralized consensus model.
To put this into perspective, the current Bitcoin mining hashpower is very centralized. So are the network nodes, as has been documented before. With proof of stake, the centralization would not necessarily end. People could set up multiple wallets on centralized networks, and those with the most coins could still “make the rules”. It’s evident there will need to be some sort of compromise between the two camps, but for now, that seems further away than ever before.
Uh .. if users want a voice they should choose a coin that isn't POW .. as I said, hard fork to proof of stake and it makes sense. Miners are nodes in a POW system .. a non-mining node is quite useless .. POW is completely broken if miners break the rules
— Joe Kunzler (@josephkunzler) January 26, 2018
If the above tweet is any indication, it seems there are at least some entities in favor of creating a future proof of stake-based Bitcoin hard fork. It would certainly be a very interesting development in the world of cryptocurrencies. Proof of stake for a currency such as Bitcoin wouldn’t necessarily work, mainly because of the issues associated with proof of stake as of right now. This technology is far from perfect and would not necessarily serve a purpose for Bitcoin. A hard fork of Bitcoin, on the other hand, could certainly take this route without too many problems.
It is unclear if such a project will ever come to market, though. We have seen a handful of Bitcoin hard forks already and none of them even considered using proof of stake, for obvious reasons. Whether or not any future Bitcoin hard fork will decide to take this route remains to be seen. It may not be until Ethereum’s Casper is released before proof of stake becomes a lot more popular. Only time will tell how this situation evolves, but it’s always interesting to hear different people’s opinions on these matters.