Collected Notes on the XT Client and XTCoin fork

Several days after the Mike Hearn and Gavin Andressen announced their coup attempt it is becoming clear that the XT effort is an effort to misrepresent a neutered, less robust, and rapidly changing system as Bitcoin. A number of parties are catching onto the false sense of urgency which has been pushed hard by Gavin Andressen over the past year and supported by a number of flooding attacks presented as "stress tests." Continually the coup's propaganda has been crashing into the hard face of reality as the reaction to the flooding attacks show Bitcoin works as advertised when the attack ends up allowing for a demonstration of transaction fee markets.

Quite a substantial number of mainstream outlets present the XTCoin coup as a serious debate, with XTCoin adoption being the likely outcome as they ignore the relevant history on a number of points as well as the actual value proposition of Bitcoin. The mainstream discounting of history in favor of populism even carried to the Bitfinex flash crash which ought to have raised questions on the sustainability of Bitfinex's continued ability to cover obligations, question which have lingered since 2013. With this context on the discussion surrounding the XT coup it is possible to move on to what is happening with the coup and what it would mean if executed.

Since the announcement of the XTCoin forking client a total of two blocks, 370434 and 370661, were mined with a block version that purports to vote for the XTCoin fork occurring. These two blocks were separated by a blockheight of 227 and both were relayed to the network by Slush's pool which is letting miners direct hash power to either continue mining Bitcoin normally or vote for forking off XTCoin. As the XTCoin fork requires a stretch of 1000 blocks with 750 votes in favor to trigger its creation, the gap between the two blocks on its own nearly creates a stretch of votes sufficient to prevent triggering XTCoin's creation. At the time of this writing it is a mathematical impossibility for that first "vote" to be counted as a part of the trigger for XTCoin's creation. With the current rate of block production compared to XTCoin supporting block production it appears that so far less than a whole percent of the network's hash rate is favorable to XT.

Moving on from mining to the node situation, testing suggests that in the event the XTCoin fork was triggered the actual production of 8 MB blocks would rapidly decrease the number of useful nodes on the XTCoin network. The typical commercially available home computer is not up to the task of verifying 8 MB blocks at a rate of 6 blocks per hour due to CPU caches introducing a bottleneck. This problem is compounded further by the number of nodes which presently display a version string suggesting support for Bitcoin XT have substantial latency suggesting they are parasitic pseudonodes rather than actual full nodes which store and verify the blockchain. XTCoin's blocksize inflation doesn't stop at 8 MB and as it progresses through its exponential growth to 8 GB blocks the verification problem will become increasingly more pronounced with dire consequences for XTCoin's security. As makers of computing hardware struggle against physics to continue improving CPU performance the block growth pattern of XTCoin would force relay node centralization within three to four blocksize increases.

XTCoin's long walk to relay centralization mean nothing less than XTCoin becoming a regulation sensitive eunuch like Visa or PayPal. In no less than six years of block size increases XTCoin would be a defanged and impotent caricature of actual Bitcoin. Censorship, account freezes, inflation, and wealth confiscation and all other evils of the fiat world which Bitcoin defies would become possible in centralized XTCoin. With Mike Hearn at XTCoin's helm anyone who invests in XTCoin would have to constantly sign on to more things as Hearn slowly boils away every last bit of Bitcoin's value from XTCoin.

The publicity push for XTCoin now is nothing less than an attempt to hijack the name Bitcoin and separate it from what Bitcoin actually is. Bitcoin with its hard consensus is a hard problem for its enemies while XTCoin is a soft pliable other thing which can only become more tame over time. There is a clear divide in this dispute between Bitcoin interests and fiat interests with their fraudulent would be usurper to the throne. XTCoin may or may not come to exists, but Bitcoin will survive. If XTCoin comes to pass it will be an expensive, costly endeavor for the fiat interests behind it which Bitcoin will abide1 and those supported actual Bitcoin will get to the screams and lamentation of those who bought into the XTCoin campaign as what they have becomes increasingly unlike Bitcoin.

  1. Incidentally the period of time after a fiat coin fork would present a great opportunity for miners interested in acquiring actual Bitcoin.  

8 thoughts on “Collected Notes on the XT Client and XTCoin fork

  1. "Incidentally the period of time after a fiat coin fork would present a great opportunity for miners interested in acquiring actual Bitcoin."

    How? Until the difficulty changes, the odds of finding a block will not change. If the split occurs halfway between difficulty adjustments, you're gonna hafta mine a thousand blocks before it gets any better for the miners.

    If the fools ever actually achieved their 75% activation number, the miners could wait until the next adjustment to mine the first +1MB block. This would leave 25% of the hash power struggling to mine 2016 blocks before anything would change. (Now taking four hours to find six blocks instead of one, it could take up to two months before anything got better for the miners who stayed on the "those [that/who] supported actual Bitcoin will get to [hear/enjoy/savour] the screams and lamentation…"

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