Technology & Security
This past Thursday, the lead developer of Bitcoin ABC, Amaury Séchet, published a paper on the social media platform Yours.org about a protocol technique called ‘pre-consensus.’ According to Séchet, and other BCH developers like Bitcoin Unlimited’s Peter Rizun, pre-consensus could improve block propagation time, benefit zero-confirmation reliability and help delegate decisions tethered to consensus conditions.
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Bitcoin ABC’s Amaury Séchet Publishes a Paper Called ‘On Markets and Pre-Consensus’
This week, Amaury Séchet, the Bitcoin ABC client’s lead developer announced on Twitter that he had wrote a paper called, “On Markets and Pre-Consensus.” The article discusses the concept of pre-consensus which Séchet describes as a protocol that enables network participants to agree on what the next block size will look like. Various developers have discussed this idea before, including Bitcoin Unlimited’s chief scientist, Peter Rizun, who wrote about the subject for the Ledger academic publication, and Rizun also discussed pre-consensus during his talk at the Satoshi’s Vision Conference in Tokyo.
“Even before Bitcoin Cash was a thing, I was promoting the idea of pre-consensus — This refers to a set of technologies allowing network participants to agree as much as possible on what the next block is going to look like,” explains Séchet’s paper. “If done well, this provides significantly stronger 0-conf guarantee that we currently have, while also allowing to reach greater scale by moving work out of the critical path (if a node know what the next block is going to look like, a lot of the validation work can be done ahead of time).”
As it turns out, pre-consensus has the added bonus effect that it allows to delegate the responsibility of picking various values which are currently centrally planned to the market. Actors who use different policies will be able to reconcile their differences in a time scale that is compatible with 0-conf.
Séchet Says Pre-Consensus ‘Too Important to Not be Tackled Now’
Séchet delves further and states that pre-consensus has been on the BCH roadmap since day one, and has made “zero progress” so far. He explains that the past year had been hectic and the latest “flavor of the day” is tokens.
“While all these projects have value, it is clear that I need to ruthlessly prioritize pre-consensus,” Séchet emphasizes.
The actions I have to take along the way will surely irritate many, but this is too important to not be tackled now.
Nchain’s Craig Wright: ‘No Hash Goes to This Crap — They Want It, They Fork It’
After Séchet published his idea and fellow colleagues began to share the paper on Twitter, Nchain’s chief scientist Craig Wright spoke out against the pre-consensus idea. “No hash goes to this crap — They want it, they fork it, without us,” Wright states on Twitter. “Without the apps using our code, our IP etc. — Without the companies, we have invested in.” Of course, the outburst from Wright got the community stirring wildly into a heated discussion.
There’s also a Reddit conversation about pre-consensus and Wright’s comments on the subreddit r/BTC which has over 400 comments at the time of writing. The top comment belongs to Bitcoin Unlimited’s lead developer, Andrew Stone. “At Satoshi’s Vision Conference, Craig Wright said his miners were going to detect and somehow penalize double spends which is a form of pre-consensus,” Stone says. “We don’t even know concretely what Deadalnix (Amaury Séchet) is proposing so how can a person reject it and call it crap?”
An Avalanche of Pre-Consensus Emotions
Other developers such as the Yours.org founder, Ryan X Charles, seemed to be interested in the idea of pre-consensus when discussing the subject in one of his latest videos. Charles gives his viewers a glimpse of what he thinks about Séchet’s latest statements, and details there is also a paper called, Avalanche, which offers a unique approach to pre-consensus. The paper “Avalanche: A Novel Metastable Consensus Protocol Family for Cryptocurrencies,” was written by a group of developers who call themselves ‘Team Rocket’ after the mischievous Pokémon characters.
Other members of the community dislike the idea of pre-consensus and have shared their responses to Séchet’s recent article. One person’s post on Yours.org called “Pre-Consensus Implies Content Without Giving It,” is particularly interesting. In the writing, the author compares pre-consensus to the Segregated Witness…