Interview with Peter Rizun: big blocks and decentralization are now possible
Interview with Peter Rizun: big blocks and decentralization are now possible
Interview

Interview with Peter Rizun: big blocks and decentralization are now possible

By Lorenzo Dalvit - 1 Feb 2020

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In recent times we have witnessed the appearance of proposals, debates and controversy related to the world of Bitcoin Cash, reason why Peter Rizun seemed to us a valid point of contact for an interview following his intervention in the debate and the facts that have affected this ecosystem.

The main feature of this project is to consider outdated the time in which the limit of one Megabyte, set on the block size, was a benefit for the network.

The problem of funding the developers at the heart of BCH has not yet found a definitive solution.

Rizun has been a supporter of big blocks since the beginning, alongside Andrew Stone, representing the soul of Bitcoin Unlimited. 

Bitcoin Unlimited was born as an alternative client to Bitcoin Core, it established itself in 2015 with the goal of increasing the block size and lowering transaction fees. According to its supporters, Bitcoin should have been used as currency and the vocation of “digital gold” – without a proper on-chain scaling – would not be functional to the success of the project. At that time, his proposal never ended up generating a split in the chain.

With the fork made possible instead by Bitcoin Cash, through the contribution of Amaury Sachet and its Bitcoin ABC client, Bitcoin Unlimited finally found a home among the Big Blockers and still continues to support the BCH network with its software. 

The interview with Peter Rizun

Your comment on Jiang Zhuoer’s proposal was strong and immediate. You have long captained the reasons for big blockers in the Bitcoin ecosystem. What do you think of the future of Bitcoin Cash considering some deviations towards the proof of stake and Avalanche? 

The Bitcoin protocol has proven to be both useful and robust over the past decade. We need a stable protocol for businesses to build upon and for engineers to scale to global levels. We do not need a new science project like PoS or Avalanche. Those experiments should be carried out on new blockchains. 

What do you think decentralization is for and what minimum parameter you would choose to consider a secure blockchain for this purpose?

Decentralization is needed so that the rules of bitcoin are not easily subjected to politics. E.g., politics that would issue new money at no cost for some “important need” (like the dev tax proposal), confiscate someone’s wealth, or forbid a transaction between two willing parties.

In your last article that appeared on read.cash you considered the miners’ cartel proposal as an attack: How do you think economies of scale will develop where the block limit is eliminated, do we not risk finding ourselves more and more often in similar situations?

I don’t think so. Mining is fairly centralized today around a handful or large pools, many in China. SHA256 ASICs are approaching the limit of what is attainable with today’s best semiconductor fabrication technology, and so mining hardware is becoming commodified. The commodification of mining hardware makes for a bigger playing field and I expect to see the number of companies and individuals involved in mining grow over the coming decade.  

You mentioned the phrase from Satoshi’s WP: “By convention, the first transaction in a block is a special transaction that starts a new coin owned by the creator of the block.” Why do you think his writings should be respected?

Because the whitepaper defines what bitcoin is. It was written by bitcoin’s inventor and so we can safely say that it describes the system that he intended for bitcoin to become. Today it serves as a sort of “constitution” for the project and has become an important part of bitcoin’s social contract. It is a stable reference that prevents political processes from slowly pushing us away from bitcoin’s original design goals (which is a global p2p ecash system).    

If you had to define what the cryptocurrency behind Bitcoin is, would you prefer to consider it as a cost for the “bit” transaction and therefore an economic unit of information, or a digital currency?

It’s funny because a lot of people I talk to say “but bitcoin isn’t real, it’s just digital.” As a physicist, I see bitcoins as very real because of the proof-of-work that each coin contains. The digital makeup of each bitcoin is proof itself of the huge pool of computing power and energy that went into forging that coin. Bitcoin to me is more physical than paper money.

What can and cannot be included in the block and who decides it when we talk about data storage?

Storing data in a blockchain is expensive. At scale, it might cost 1 penny to make a financial transaction. The size of that transaction would be around 500 bytes. The size of a photo you might want to save could be 1,000,000 bytes — 2000 times bigger. And thus storing a photo would cost $20. And you might even have to pay to later retrieve it. So I don’t think blockchains will be used that much to store large amounts of data.  

But it could still be useful for storing small amounts of data. For example, a tweet is 280 bytes. I might pay half of 1 penny to make tweets to the blockchain, as I would then know that no one could erase them and my message would exist for possibly hundreds or even thousands of years. 

In general, I think writing data to the blockchain is a problem that will solve itself. I’m not worried about it. I think some of the stuff SV is doing is interesting and will work. But writing large files will be too expensive to ever catch on in a big way.

In your opinion what was a mistake made by Satoshi Nakamoto?

Adding the block size limit without making it automatically increase, or disappear by a certain date, was a mistake.  

What is your favourite blockchain beyond bitcoin and its forks?

That’s a tough one. I like Ethereum for their ambition and creativity, but I do not think Ethereum can scale globally as Bitcoin can. I am mostly just interested in bitcoin and its forks.

What do you think about about Proof of Stake?

In Proof of Work, physical work in the real world must be performed to solve a block (i.e., electricity and computing chips) and confirm a new set of transactions or create a new coin. Resources that have value must be consumed. This creates a tether between the physical world and the bitcoin blockchain and helps to keep the system honest. Proof of Work is objective. Money cannot be created out of thin air. 

Proof of Stake, on the other hand, is subjective. No work needs to be done and no physical resources need to be consumed. There is no tether to the physical world. Money can be created out of thin air. Its security and value are illusions that could one day vanish. 

 

 

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Lorenzo Dalvit

Blockchain enthusiast tutor, expert in sales and marketing, social community manager, artistic director, musician, lover of disruptive paradigms and life. All my skill are about human interaction and connection

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