Bitcoin Developers Write an Open Letter to the Community About Network Scalability

The letter aiming at uniting all bitcoin supporters has been signed by many of the virtual currency developers.

Photo: Katarina Ribnikar/Flickr

Photo: Katarina Ribnikar/Flickr

Bitcoin XT has brought much disturbance in bitcoin society. Since the moment when Gavin Andresen and Mike Hearn offered to increase block size from 1 to 8 MB, it has been the most debated topic among bitcoin supporters.

After the announcement of Bitcoin XT the following message of Satoshi, a mysterious bitcoin creator, became available in the Internet: “If two developers can fork Bitcoin and succeed in redefining what ‘Bitcoin’ is, in the face of widespread technical criticism and through the use of populist tactics, then I will have no choice but to declare Bitcoin a failed project. Bitcoin was meant to be both technically and socially robust. This present situation has been very disappointing to watch unfold.” We want to repeat that the belonging of this opinion to Satoshi has not been confirmed.

Bitcoin XT had been programmed in such a way that it will be activated on January 11 and only if 75% of “miners” – computers maintaining transactions – will have agreed to the change by that time. So no wonder that debated over the choice between Bitcoin Core and Bitcoin XT are running higher and higher.

Bitcoin supporters have come up with quite unexpected move. More than 30 bitcoin core developers have signed an open letter. They appeal to bitcoin society in order to find a consensus in the current situation underlining how much bitcoin means for many people all over the world. Only team work of bitcoin developers and enthusiasts can contribute to its further development.

The letter emphasizes the importance of taking only well-considered measures and careful evaluation of all proposals. It also informs of two upcoming workshops – the first one will take place in Montreal on September 12-13 and the second one is planned in Hong Kong on December 6-7.

The full text of the letter you can find below:

As active contributors to Bitcoin, we share this letter to communicate our plan of action related to technical consensus and Bitcoin scalability.

Bitcoin is many things to many people. However, the development and maintenance of Bitcoin is a human endeavor. Satoshi sought review and cooperation, and the subsequent work by Bitcoin’s developers has made the system more secure and orders of magnitude faster. The Bitcoin developer community is dedicated to the future of Bitcoin, looks after the health of the network, strives for the highest standards of performance, and works to keep Bitcoin secure on behalf of everyone.

We’re committed to Bitcoin and responsive to the needs of the community. For the past five years, we’ve written code and managed over 50 Bitcoin releases and reviewed more than 45 formal proposals to improve Bitcoin’s performance, security, and scalability. Technical discussions, while heated at times, are always focused on improving Bitcoin.

Much work has already been done in this area, from substantial improvements in CPU bottlenecks, memory usage, network efficiency, and initial block download times, to algorithmic scaling in general. However, a number of key challenges still remain, each with many significant considerations and tradeoffs to evaluate. We have worked on Bitcoin scaling for years while safeguarding the network’s core features of decentralization, security, and permissionless innovation. We’re committed to ensuring the largest possible number of users benefit from Bitcoin, without eroding these fundamental values.

There will be controversy from time to time, but Bitcoin is a security-critical system with billions of dollars of users’ assets that a mistake could compromise. To mitigate potential existential risks, it behooves us all to take the time to evaluate proposals that have been put forward and agree on the best solutions via the consensus-building process.

In the upcoming months, two open workshops will bring the community together to explore these issues. The first Scaling Bitcoin workshop will be in Montreal on September 12-13. The second workshop is planned for December 6-7 and will be hosted in Hong Kong to be more inclusive of Bitcoin’s global user base.

We ask the community to not prejudge and instead work collaboratively to reach the best outcome through the existing process and the supporting workshops. It’s great to already see broad excitement for the event and the high concentration of technical participants attending.

We’re confident that by working together we can agree on the best course of action. We believe this is the way forward and reinforces the existing review process that has served the Bitcoin development community (and Bitcoin in general) well to date.

We welcome your participation as we continue our efforts to bring Bitcoin into the future.


Wladimir J. van der Laan
Pieter Wuille
Cory Fields
Luke Dashjr
Jonas Schnelli
Jorge Timón
Greg Maxwell
Eric Voskuil
Amir Taaki
Dave Collins
Michael Ford
Peter Todd
Phillip Mienk
Suhas Daftuar
R E Broadley
Eric Lombrozo
Daniel Kraft
Chris Moore
Alex Morcos
Warren Togami
Mark Friedenbach
Ross Nicoll
Pavel Janík
Josh Lehan
Andrew Poelstra
Christian Decker
Bryan Bishop
Benedict Chan
Charlie Lee
Jeremy Rubin

If you’d like to express your support of this letter, please sign the petition on

Share This article

We welcome comments that advance the story directly or with relevant tangential information. We try to block comments that use offensive language, all capital letters or appear to be spam, and we review comments frequently to ensure they meet our standards. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Coinspeaker Ltd.