Former Core developer Mike Hearn’s acerbic departure from the bitcoin scene has sent the cryptocurrency’s price plummeting, while ironically more support grows for Bitcoin Classic and effectively increasing the block size limit to 2 MB.
Since Hearn published his letter on his Medium blog just over 24 hours ago, the price of bitcoin fell 14% from $420 to $362.
Many observers, including this humble correspondent, are surprised at the market reaction to Hearn’s raging goodbye letter to the bitcoin community and ecosystem. However, the fall of the bitcoin price was mostly driven by the media frenzy over Hearn’s statement. That media frenzy started with a sympathetic article in the New York Times written by Nathaniel Popper.
Coindesk highlights how the news of Hearn’s poison pen provoked a storm in wide-ranging media:
At press time, Hearn’s exit had been profiled by news outlets as diverse and far-reaching as The New York Times, The Guardian, Fusion, PC World and Fortune, all of which emphasized his declaration that the project should be considered dead despite its position as the longest-running blockchain and digital currency with the highest market capitalization.
There was also the usual bomb throwing response from the Blockstream-led anti-block size increase faction that many believe is paralyzing the innovation and progress of bitcoin.
The RBF section of Mike Hearn’s “Leaving Bitcoin” post reminds me I’m not going to miss working with blatant liars. https://t.co/Jl4Rb5be6O
— Peter Todd (@petertoddbtc) January 14, 2016
Farewell to Mike Hearn, who says he’s leaving Bitcoin. Try not to let your ego hit you on the way out. https://t.co/ZHLxBx5RRn
— Ben Davenport (@bendavenport) January 14, 2016
Certainly, lobbing grenades of vitriol is not conducive to constructive debate and resolution of bitcoin’s flaws in scalability.
Interestingly, as the price of bitcoin is falling sharply, support for a bitcoin block size increase seems to be growing. Valery Vavilov, co-founder and CEO of BitFuryGroup, yesterday declared support behind Bitcoin Classic:
— Valery Vavilov (@valeryvavilov) January 15, 2016
Sam Cole, the CEO of KNCMiner, released an open letter also announcing support for Bitcoin Classic:
So I propose that we jump to 2mb in the Bitcoin classic idea. Not only will this allow us to expand bitcoin and on board more users, it will also show that:
· We will protect our investments and businesses.
· Sound economic rules govern bitcoin businesses and not just ideological ideas.
· Under pressure we can make tough decisions that are for the best of bitcoin and not for any one individual company.
· The ideas and fixes the development team produce need to be more influenced by the economic requirements we have, not just the technical ones.
Indeed, Bitcoin Classic has gained support from a growing list of bitcoin service providers and companies: Coinbase, OKCoin, Bitstamp, Xapo, Bitcoin.com, Foldapp, Bread Wallet, Snapcard.io and Cubits.
Crucial to effecting a fork of the bitcoin protocol, Bitcoin Classic has support from almost 60% of the mining pools, including Bitmain (Antpool), BitFury, BW.COM, HAOBTC.com, KnCMiner and Genesis Mining.
In regard to Hearn’s dire predictions about bitcoin, former lead maintainer and a participating developer on the Bitcoin Classic project, Gavin Adresen summed it up quite nicely:
— Gavin Andresen (@gavinandresen) January 15, 2016