Is Bitcoin XT Dead? Gavin Andresen Considers Leading Bitcoin XT After Hearn Joins R3

Bitcoin Core lead developer Gavin Andresen said recently that he may take over leading the Bitcoin XT project, according to a report in Bitcoin Magazine.

Bitcoin XT is a hard fork of Bitcoin designed to increase the block size in accordance with Andresen’s BIP101 proposal.

This statement comes after Richard Brown, the Chief Technology Officer of R3, revealed last week that the original Bitcoin XT lead, Mike Hearn, was hired as blockchain firm’s Lead Platform Engineer. R3, also known as R3 CEV, has partnered with 30 global banks to design and apply blockchain technologies to banking systems and financial markets.

Hearn’s new employment is noteworthy as the former Google engineer has been in the forefront of the Bitcoin block size debate. Hearn has regularly railed against what he believes to be conflicts of interest among Bitcoin Core developers, particularly those that work for sidechain startup Blockstream.

Moreover, he appears to be leaving while the Bitcoin XT project has failed to sustain or build enough consensus to successfully become implemented in the Bitcoin Core.

Hearn posted last week on Reddit that he would continue to do what is necessary to keep Bitcoin XT operational:

Andresen said he will see if the other Bitcoin Core developers can reach consensus at the Scaling Bitcoin workshop in Hong Kong and then decide to keep pushing BIP101 forward. He told Bitcoin Magazine the following:

If the other developers can’t make up their minds and reach consensus on a solution, then we’ll have a messy, chaotic couple of months where companies and big mining pools or miners pick sides until a solution emerges. Though, in that case, I do expect that the most likely solution will be BIP101, since it is the only solution with well-tested code they can download and run.

The organizers of Scaling Bitcoin have noted that the major goal of the Hong Kong workshop is to:

…raise awareness of scalability issues and build a pathway toward consensus for increasing Bitcoin’s transaction processing capacity or, barring that, identify key areas of further required research and next steps for moving forward.

Scaling Bitcoin just released its schedule of speakers for December 6th and 7th, with prominent players in the scaling debate, including Adam Back, Jeff Garzik, Pieter Wuille, Jonathan Toomim, speaking about BIP100, BIP101 and other proposals. Neither Andresen or Hearn are attending.