The Bitcoin Cash community was at loggerheads over the weekend as Bitcoin ABC developer and self-described “benevolent dictator” Amaury Séchet announced that the much-disputed miner tax would be implemented in the next update. Séchet confirmed that a 5% tax would be levied to go towards development of Bitcoin Cash, which caused the expectant backlash, and raised the prospect of another hard fork little more than a year after its fork into Bitcoin SV.
Tax Has “No Place in a Decentralized Cryptocurrency”
The idea of a miner tax, dubbed the ‘Infrastructure Funding Plan’, was first raised by Jiang Zhuoer, CEO of mining pool BTC.TOP, in late January. It did not go down well with the community, to the point where talk of a hard fork was proposed by the Bitcoin.com team:
As it stands now, Bitcoin.com will not go through with supporting any plan unless there is more agreement in the ecosystem such that the risk of a chain split is negligible. […] We think it is clear that the existing proposal does not have enough support.
However, as we reported at the time, Bitcoin Unlimited Chief Scientist Peter Rizun warned that the proposal was “wounded but not dead”, and indeed, his proclamation has come true. Séchet posted confirmation of Bitcoin ABC’s plan to levy the tax on Saturday, a tax which Rizun himself had said “has no place in a decentralised cryptocurrency.”
Hard Fork May Be on the Cards
In his post, Séchet acknowledged the backlash the edict would receive but claimed it was for the greater good of the project:
As a project, Bitcoin ABC believes that stable funding of Bitcoin Cash software infrastructure is vital to the success of the project. While we recognize that some aspects of this plan have been controversial, we believe that overall the benefits of the plan create the potential for a very exciting future in which Bitcoin Cash can grow and compete, and can reach its goal of becoming the best money the world has ever seen.
Rizun was among the first to comment on the measure, calling it a “poison pill”:
2/2 This will test if Bitcoin Cash can avoid being captured by a group of developers. Bitcoin does not have payouts to 3rd parties encoded into its protocol. If exchanges and miners download and run the new version of ABC, BCH will be Bcash with no rights to the name “bitcoin.”
— Peter R. Rizun (@PeterRizun) February 15, 2020
As he states, miners have until May 15 to download the new ABC version, with each download being a de facto vote for the new protocol. A majority rejection would not force a hard fork, but it would be a concrete display that there is a chasm between miners and ideologies, which, as we have seen in the past, usually only ends one way.