A few days ago on January 15, 2016, Mike Hearn, a contributor to the Bitcoin project publicly announced his departure from as well as the total failure of the Bitcoin project.
Just six weeks earlier, he joined the R3 Consortium, comprised of 43 major banks that have been trying to handicap Bitcoin development through bank account closures, regulatory changes and lobbying the government to crack down on Bitcoin.
Unlike most blog posts which go relatively unnoticed by the mainstream media, this particular blog post has been written into dozens of articles on the clear and absolute failure of the Bitcoin experiment.
Interestingly, the timing of the first article to come out in the NY Times was predicted at nearly the exact moment it was released by a spokesperson for R3 during a talk at the Brookings Institution. Well, how did they know about that, and how did they get it into the mainstream media so quickly?
(You only need to watch the first 10 seconds of this clip for the proof.)
In his open letter announcing his reasoning for changing sides, Hearn writes,
“But despite knowing that Bitcoin could fail all along, the now inescapable conclusion that it has failed still saddens me greatly. The fundamentals are broken and whatever happens to the price in the short term, the long term trend should probably be downwards. I will no longer be taking part in Bitcoin development and have sold all my coins.
Why has Bitcoin failed? It has failed because the community has failed. What was meant to be a new, decentralised form of money that lacked “systemically important institutions” and “too big to fail” has become something even worse: a system completely controlled by just a handful of people. Worse still, the network is on the brink of technical collapse. The mechanisms that should have prevented this outcome have broken down, and as a result there’s no longer much reason to think Bitcoin can actually be better than the existing financial system.”
Even just 5 months ago, Lead Developer of Bitcoin, Gavin Andresen, said that Mike Hearn would be the “Benevolent Dictator of Bitcoin XT“. Well, it didn’t take long for the true colors to appear. Apparently, he thinks that the existing financial system is better than Bitcoin!
How could this have happened just seven months after proposing the Bitcoin XT platform which would increase the block size (and space required to store the blockchain by 8 times), and also put him as #1 Core Developer of the new platform?
Simple, because he was opposed by many in the community.
His attempt to take the Lead Developer role in Bitcoin being shunned, his ego would not allow him to step back into a “one of many” position and instead he chose to jump ship and join the mortal enemies of Bitcoin. Time for a meme to celebrate:
Even his coding partner on Bitcoin XT, Gavin Andresen who considered taking over the Lead Developer position on Bitcoin XT when Mike Hearn left Bitcoin for R3, is now taking a step back from the situation, at least suggesting so on Twitter:
[@OctSkyward is Mike Hearn’s Twitter address]
So three questions remain:
- What next for Bitcoin?
- What next for R3?
- What next for Mike Hearn?
1. Bitcoin is working collectively on a scaling solution that meets Consensus. Most old-school types are unfamiliar with this methodology, but it has worked in millions of cases. It’s very simple, and works like this: Everyone Agrees, and if everyone doesn’t agree, the Vast Majority do and that’s the way it goes.
Bitcoin keeps on doing what it does, which is developing and supporting a 6 Billion Dollar financial ecosystem without any one in clear control.
If a Block Size Increase does not happen in the short term, transactions without fees attached may get stuck in the memory pool of transactions waiting to be processed, and will be processed in due course once transactions that do have fees attached have been processed.
Mike Hearn is gone, and as long as he stays that way, most everyone is content to let bygones by bygones and wave bye-bye, then continuing on with their work, like in this kind interview with Austin Hill from Blockstream.
2. R3 will continue to support the publishing of negative media on Bitcoin, and will encourage more anti-Bitcoin trolls to become involved in disrupting the discussion. But it won’t affect the Bitcoin system, and the Banksters (or Bankstards) will have to accept the competition on Wall Street.
R3 will continue their efforts at Regulatory Protectionism, marshalling their lobbying power (that kept them from Prison for what they did in 2008) to use against Bitcoin.
In the end, bad publicity or good publicity is good for Bitcoin.
3. What’s next for Mike Hearn is yet to be seen. Will he accept a quiet programmer’s job at R3 and focus on that. Will he just accept the nice bye-bye waves and leave the issue alone now that he’s gone?
Or, will he divide his time between more attacks on Bitcoin, identifying and trying to open up criticism on perceived weaknesses in the system, speaking publicly at every opportunity about the evils of Bitcoin and trying to steer young followers away from Bitcoin, while joining the ranks of paid consultants for a variety of anti-Bitcoin interests?
Have we heard the last of Mike Hearn’s proclamations about the failure and death of Bitcoin? Or not?
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This is an archetypal story of the overlooked person with the large ego who becomes disgruntled at being overlooked and eventually trades their loyalty to the oppostion, becoming a traitor to the cause they had become well-known for supporting.
It seems that there’s a history of this kind of behaviour in certain types of individuals. Here are three examples:
‘Twas the year 1780, when a young general distinguished himself through acts of intelligence and bravery on the battlefield. Having felt overlooked, and having to share the glory with others fighting the war, passed over for promotion, he becomes disgruntled and opens up communication with his enemy, offering the opportunity to fix battles in his enemy’s favour, and provide intelligence useful to their advantage in exchange for cash & prizes. Once the plot is discovered, he makes a hasty escape to an enemy ship, and becomes a commanding general for the opposing side.
Not long after defecting to the British side, he writes an open letter to his former compatriots to explain and justify his actions. In it, he outlines everything that is wrong with his former side: the corruption, the tyranny and the failure of their effort, exhorting people to give up the struggle and go back to the old system, which is better.
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In 1971, a young environmental activist joined a small activist group in Vancouver, and due to the groups small size and recent establishment, quickly joined the inner circle to become one of the group’s leaders. Over time, he become’s one of the organizations leaders, a position he holds for many years.
Following an incident which could have cost him his life, and seeing the organization as a whole move in ways he disagrees with, he leaves and returns to his family business in natural resource extraction.
Claiming to be a co-founder of Greenpeace (although he is not) and making himself available for hire to government and corporate efforts to cover up their destruction through a new methodology now known as “Corporate Greenwashing”, he quickly makes a name for himself with his former opponents, carrying with him the credibility of an environmental movement leader disillusioned with its perceived failures. He now works for whichever corporation offers him a position, whether in clearcut forestry, oil extraction, climate change denial, nuclear energy, genetic modification, etc.
He spends his time spreading Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt (FUD) which are the tools of the trade in fighting the genuine efforts of others, and the truth.
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Raised as a slave, this young boy’s talents become noticed and he is taken into a brotherhood and given training and special responsibilities. Despite his talent and effort at being noticed, he is overlooked and instead asked to spy on the person he has been assigned to protect. His respect for his brotherhood declines to the point where it intersects with his opponents search for a suitable leader that will do their bidding without question.
Fearing his wife will die in childbirth, his new masters promise to do their best to prevent this from happening, in exchange for his loyalty. He switches sides and massacres the young students in their school. Despite fulfilling his end of the agreement to the fullest, they betray him by allowing his wife to die, but having already chosen the other side, there is no turning back.
He tries in vain to convert his family members but is opposed and defeated at every turn, and labeled as disloyal and weak by his masters.
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