Bitcoin Classic: A New Hope following the Revenge of the Hearn

News and Analysis

Surprisingly for many bitcoin community members, Jonathan Toomim’s Bitcoin Classic proposal has garnered support from as much as 72% of the network’s mining capacity. With the consensus threshold set at 75%, the proposal is very likely to become active in no time.

Jonathan Toomim is an American miner and developer. In the heat of the block size debate he came up with a possible solution thereto, however, none of his findings seemed to appeal to the community. Unlike other developers, however, Toomim went to China himself, interacted with local miners, and held an informal survey in order to find out what block size might seem appropriate. Having discovered that 2 MB is quite sufficient for the purposes of the project, he collaborated with Bitcoin Core’s former lead developer Gavin Andressen and Jeff Garzik, authors of the most non-conservative BIP’s available so far, and many others in developing Bitcoin Classic features and further amendments.

Notably, most of those activities were happening somewhere behind the scenes of the raging block size dispute. Even though Toomim addressed to the attendees of Scaling Bitcoin workshop in Hong Kong, much of his proposals remained unnoticed. That explains why the news as to the enormous support to the project became a surprise for the most of the community.

The collaboration between Toomim and Core developers happened just a few days ago, however, all the previously surveyed miners who stated that 2 MB was well enough, expressed their explicit support for the proposal.

Toomim himself wrote a post on Reddit, where he described his vision of the system. He stated that the proposal’s main features are making “decisions democratically with user and miner input” and keeping true to “Satoshi’s vision of Bitcoin.”

Among the miners that supported Bitcoin Classic are BitFury and KnC Miner, while the list of supporting companies includes such prominent players as Coinbase, OKCoin, Bitstamp,, Xapo, and Coinify. The latest in the list of major miners supporting Bitcoin Classic is F2Pool.

Peter Smith of tweeted:

Jeff Garzik stated that Bitcoin Classic might be the best way to overcome the current crisis in the community:

BTM manufacturer Lamassu also expressed their support for the proposal:

However, Samson Mow of BTCC stated that, while supporting the move towards 2 MB limit, the company is still cautious about Bitcoin Classic itself.

“We support a 2 MB increase but we will not sign on to support Bitcoin Classic until we feel there is a real long term plan behind it, and enough engineering talent. Just because people are gravitating to something doesn’t mean you automatically jump on board without some serious analysis,” he said.

Ironically, Mike Hearn’s recent departure from the ecosystem could play into the hands of the community. In his notorious post proclaiming bitcoin a failure, he even pointed out that Bitcoin Classic might be the solution that could eventually “revive” the cryptocurrency. However, he also said that his own Bitcoin XT could do the same, while it garnered zero support from miners, and eventaully failed as it was. Hearn’s departure thus might consolidate the community around Bitcoin Classic.

Hearn’s opinion as to Bitcoin Classic bears some vibes of bitterness:

“When we were preparing for XT, we also went and talked to the Chinese miners. They told us that the original 20mb limit Gavin proposed was too high, but that they could accept 8mb. So we compromised and went with 8 + a growth function. Then after XT was launched they changed their mind and said any growth after 8 at all was totally unacceptable. Now they’re telling the Classic guys that 2 is the most they could handle. Did the Chinese internet border really get 4x worse in the span of 3 months? I doubt it,” he said.

Still, Hearn apparently hasn’t changed his mind as to the future of bitcoin.

“So right now I’m seeing some excitement (maybe more like desperate hope) that Bitcoin Classic will solve anything. Maybe now the “Scaling Bitcoin” conferences have come and gone and Core’s reputation is much worse, they’ll have better luck, but even then the best case scenario is that Bitcoin gets a 2mb limit. That isn’t nearly enough and big backlogs will still occur,” he stated.

He concluded his allegiations with yet another statement that the system is doomed for further centralization and failure.

“More to the point, even in the best case scenario, the community will essentially accept that Bitcoin is controlled by the Chinese government and grows or shrinks at their whim.”

Bitcoin Classic has effectively replaced Segregated Witness as the community’s most hoped solution for overcoming the crisis it is currently in. However, even in that case SegWit might not be off the table, as it still proposes some amendments to the bitcoin architecture concerning malleability and payment channels that still await resolution. Still, it loses support as a solution for the block size problem.

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