Bitcoin Q&A: Do miners control consensus? – The 5 Consensus Communities


[AUDIENCE] Basically you are saying that we are
depending on decisions of Chinese miners and pools.
It is not our decision, it is the decision of the miners.
[ANDREAS] No. There are five consensus communities
in Bitcoin: developers, miners, exchanges, merchants,
and wallets.
They [work] together. If you are a miner on
a chain that doesn’t have support from wallets,
exchanges, or merchants, then you are mining a coin
that you cannot sell, use, or exchange for anything.
You are on the wrong side. Maybe you have the longest
chain, but if the economic consensus is [elsewhere],
you would be wasting your time,
Of course, the miners know this.
They will not make a move until they believe
that the economic consensus is with them,
and are sure that this [chain] will
be the most successful way forward.
They are very conservative in that decision,
because they have millions of dollars invested.
Something else: a lot of miners today buy electricity
on long-term contracts, for six months to one year.
They have already paid for this.
They have all of the hardware.
The only option they have is to run [that hardware]
and pay it off. They cannot just turn off the hardware.
They will continue no matter what the difficulty or
the price is, or which side of the fork they are on.
They will not stop mining. So it is not just
the miners making decisions [about Bitcoin].
[AUDIENCE] One additional question.
Right now, no wallet is supporting SegWit.
I don’t know if it will be integrated into the Bitcoin chain.
[ANDREAS] Well, that is not entirely true. One wallet
supports SegWit, the Core client fork by Pieter Wuille…
that runs SegNet, and that supports SegWit; it works
and has been tested for more than four months.
SegNet is the production level test
network for Segregated Witness.
It has been working for four months with
a wallet that produces SegWit transactions.
The standard is not finalized yet. Without a finalized
standard, you [shouldn’t implement it in your wallet].
I can guarantee you that other wallet developers, who
want to stick around, are writing test code right now.
They are trying to implement prototypes of SegWit.
I am writing a prototype SegWit implementation…
for my own uses as part of my company.
It is behind the scenes and everybody is waiting
to see what happens, but the current road map…
[will take effect] somewhere between April and
June for the deployment of SegWit in production.
Have some patience. [Laughter]

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