Bitcoin Unlimited: The Dictatorship of the Bitcoin Proletariat

A Shared Meaning for Communism

Communism is the idea that that the people might rise up in revolt against their rulers and distribute the otherwise concentrated wealth (bounty) among themselves. It’s not hard to see how such an idea would spread among an impoverished class of (uneducated) people or how such an idea could easily spread beyond national borders (although on the other hand it probably wouldn’t be very well received by patriotic nations).

Marx’s view was that capitalism was the great evil that stole the ability to own the means of production from the common person. The only cure was for the people (the proletariat) to rise up and usurp the rulers (the bourgeois). The intermediate step, known as the “dictatorship of the proletariat”, was the “temporary” de facto government that would lead the people to the new found socialist freedom:

Dictatorship of the proletariat-In Marxist sociopolitical thought, the dictatorship of the proletariat refers to a state in which the proletariat, or the working class, has control of political power.

Lenin defines dictatorship from his Marxist view:

How does Bitcoin Unlimited Governance Work?

The creator(s) behind Bitcoin Unlimited created their own articles of federation as the foundation for the new governance system they propose. The introduction is eerily similar to the Communist Manifesto. The lower class (the users aka Proletariat) has decided that the upper class (the ACTIVE Bitcoin Developers aka Core aka Bourgeoisie) is a corrupt centralized authority that must be usurped in the name of freedom and decentralization. There is a deceleration that the existing rules will be overturned in favor of newer more flexible rules designed to favor the suppressed user. It is stated that the intentions of the current developers is irrelevant. Bitcoin unlimited claims to remove the existing barriers in the name of new found freedom for the people:

Why is a formal Bitcoin Unlimited Articles of Federation necessary?

From the Bitcoin Unlimited Faq’s

Your voice is heard, and your vote is counted, and then the BU officers have the power (if they so choose) to force this process to occur and in a timely fashion.

Bitcoin Unlimited: Articles of Federation

Let’s look at the Articles of Federation that make up Bitcoin Unlimited’s governance structure.

Bitcoin Unlimited claims to lift limations on the peoples preferences however there are a few caveats that must be noted. Firstly bitcoin is to be scaled by the BU interpretation’s vision:

The second article is contradicted by the first, however, and the BU federation itself by stating that the software…should not be, controlled by any single governance entity, as the BU proposal itself is to be the sole controlling entity:

The 3rd article solidifies BU’s political stance, making it impossible for the users to choose a block-size limit:

The 4th article simply re-iterates this political statement:

The 5th is an appeal to the user which claims to put them in control. Notice the statement “we believe that the free market and dynamic network will eliminate bad actors…” This is clearly a dangerous assumption but the rest of the statement is at least equally as alarming, “ differing implementations and behavior make the network more robust against attackers…” since Satoshi has be often quoted as suggesting that differing implementations is NOT a good idea for bitcoin. The last part of this statement is just as interesting since BU developers created a backlash when BU crashed recently crying that Core developers were mocking BU code and not helping to fix the bugs. Later it was released that the bug WAS previously discovered but ignored:

Number 6 is an article that seems to have a hidden exemption for Core and any other proponent of Core or person that does not support the BU federation:

So with the basic ethos formed (usurp the existing authority and eliminate the network’s ability to to restrict block-size) what is left is a governance structure to hold the constitution in place and manage proposals (annoyances) from the users external to the stated mandate.

In order to guard the above framework, 5 roles are created: A President, A Secretary, A Developer, A Pool Operator (yes for the single pool), and a Member role to be held by inaugurated members.

The President, as we will see later, elected himself with impunity, and the rest are (allegedly) chosen by quorum/voting. The problem is, and we will see this later, the president chose all of the initial members.

One thing to note is that each of the President, Security, Developer, and Pool Operator positions, rather than creating a secure separation of duties, each divisions actually (obviously) creates its own centralized security leak in relation to their own specialized duties.

Article 2: Confederation

We can note in the member section, non-publicly identified members can have their voting restricted. On the one hand this prevents Sybil type attacks, multiple accounts being created to out-vote legitimate accounts. However this also gives power to the President’s chosen member field to be able to restrict the rights of any anonymous participant, and therefore forcing an identity reveal from any member application that wishes to participate in a relevant fashion. The ruling power thus can restrict certain individuals from gaining member with full participation:

The next clause is designed to look sincere and would be if the first election was properly democratic. However since the President is self elected (and elected the first members around him), the 2 year office term actually serves to up hold a dictatorship:

Only members can submit proposals and such proposals must first go through the President (or Secretary or Developer) who has 2 weeks to review it privately to “suggest” modifications. Again the idea is specialization of duty, but when the controlling elite are self-appointed this simply serves as a vetting process for the “BU ideal”:

Then there are the consensus and quorum numbers for acceptance, which on the surface seem standard provided the initial remembers were chosen in a democratic fashion. As it standard these numbers simply serve as thresholds to hold the current BU elite in place:

It is explicitly stated that the same person CAN hold two roles, IF appointed by the President. This statement in itself destroys the intention of checks and balances that a separation of duties is supposed to uphold in the first place. In the American constitutional framework it is very specifically stated that the President cannot create laws which allows the legislative or judiciary to over step their mandate (nor are they allowed to do so). Here we see the President of BU preach this limitation before the constitutional framework was even passed (but by himself):

As long as 25% of the votes uphold the current elite then they cannot be removed, and in order for the vote to count the parties wishing to remove the officer must make up at least 33% of the total membership. It seems such a proposal would have to be proposed to the secretary in order to be publicly debated which gives the residing authority another checkpoint for control:

The ideal is for BU to become a non-profit organization although there is no surety for this. Funds are held in a 2 of 3 multi-sig account, which normally provides some form of security, however in regard to the centralized power, such a system assures the power resides with the President and his appointed authorities.

Donations cannot be paid out except that they can depending on who is assigned to complete which projects. So the President and his appointees, and the membership, can choose the pay themselves based on their own chosen goals:

Article 4: The Bitcoin Unlimited Mining Pool

The mining pools is expected to received donations as well that are to be controlled in a 2 of 3 multi-sig that the President and 2 of his appointees control. Such donations are to be used in relation to proposals vetted by the President, his appointees, and the membership.

What is most alarming is the response to the 51% risk (ie BU federation mining pool controls the majority hash rate). The pool is simply to separate into two entity, CLEARLY creating a de facto divide allowing BU elite to control 51% of the network hash-rate while somehow claiming its just 25.5% + 25.5% of the hashrate:

The last paragraph is a passive aggressive statement against and BU defectors. An admission that defection is a dissenting opinion is an attack on all BU members and supporters:

How the President and Members of Bitcoin Unlimited were “Chosen” (Appointed)

Here is where the Presidency of BU started and how the initial membership was chosen. Again, notice the urgency:

Here is the definition of autocratic:

Here are the members that exist today, and were therefore chosen by the President

Here we have the first proposal, no doubt passed with overwhelming support. Notice time and speed are observably important to the President:

One of the members sympathizes with the existing network users yet suggests malware style annoyances that would push the users towards a BU setup and away from the Core status quo:

Another member agrees but calls for a more subtle approach:

Unbeknownst to each of them, the President has already decided, if adopted, BU users could no longer choose the status quo. Like stated in the articles a block size limit is no longer a choice:

Patterns of Integrity — Separation of Duties

Lastly we turn to Nick Szabo for a refresher on the importance and purpose of the Separation of Duties:

Unlimited

BU is built on a framework that gives total power and authority to one person the President of it. It does not properly separate the duties and function of government in order to secure the users from tyranny from it. Rather it centralizes the power of governance over bitcoin and ensures that power can never be taken away from the Dictatorship of the Bitcoin Proletariat.

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