The recent drama with ASICBOOST is heavily highlighting how hard it is to get a blockchain to work properly. There are just so many variables to get right and even when you think you’ve covered everything, a surprise vulnerability or bug in the game mechanics comes out and bites you.
They say there are programmers with vulnerabilities in their code and then there are non-programmers. And this rule applies equally well to blockchains. If you think your blockchain is safe you’re probably not worrying enough.
There are hundreds of core developers and hundreds of companies working on Bitcoin. If you’re worried about problems like (a) transaction fees and the block size (b) governance issues and fork risks © proof-of-work gaming and ASICBOOST… and you think you should switch to another blockchain because of one of these, just stop.
This decision is akin to leaving Fort Knox to start your own fortress because you saw some guy come within 200 feet of the building.
If you leave because of high transaction fees and block size issues, you’ll simply end up going to a blockchain that’s way less stable and secure and easily trashed with a few million dollars. Why not just use Stripe or PayPal? Why not use a centralized database?
If you leave because of governance issues and fork risks, you’ll simply end up going to a blockchain with either (a) a much more concentrated system of governance or (b) a system with exactly the same problems of governance and risks of forking. Why not just make your own centralized or federated system like Keybase?
In my opinion, one should leave the blockchain building and maintenance to the team/teams that have been doing it the best and the longest. The best strategy for surviving the ups and downs of an individual blockchain is to stop being tied to one blockchain. Support multiple chains and have systems running across each of them. If one is bumpy, you still have systems running smoothly on the other chains. The easiest way we at Blockstack have found to be able to do this is to work on a virtual layer above the underlying blockchain. This allows for easy porting of the logic across chains. The details below are not important to the virtual layer on top.
Oh and remember that Bitcoin has had 99.999% uptime over the past 4 years.
The state of Bitcoin is strong. Or at least it’s stronger than everything else.