BUIP104: Re-elect Peter Rizun for BU Secretary
Proposer: Peter Rizun
Submitted on: 2018-09-22
Status: passed


With this BUIP, I announce my running for a second term as BU Secretary.

A post like this is an opportunity for reflection. A chance to look back
at where we came from, where we’ve been; what went right along the way,
and what could be improved for the future.

So where did we come from and where have we been?

BU was born from discussions that began in @cypherdoc’s “Gold
Collapsing. Bitcoin UP” thread on BitcoinTalk. We were frustrated by
Core’s unwillingness to increase Bitcoin’s block size limit, and so we
planned to take matters into our own hands by creating a competing
client. This competing client would be built around the belief that the
block size limit should be maintained above the free-market equilibrium
block size, and built around the trust that a healthy market for block
space would develop without intervention from developers.

I remember Blockstream PR spokesman BRG444 laughing at the idea: “so you
and Cypherdoc are going to compete with Core?”

With a lot of help, that’s exactly what we did. Andrew Stone (@theZerg)
did the first round of heavy lifting by drafting Bitcoin Unlimited’s
Articles of Federation and implementing the “emergence consensus” logic
to prevent chain splits due to block size, in a fork of Core. Next,
Peter Tschipper joined the team and implemented Xtreme Thin Blocks
(Xthin) – a scaling breakthrough that reduced block propagation times
by a factor of 6x and block propagation bandwidth by a factor of 25x.

Andrea Suisani (@sickpig), Andrew Stone, Andrew Clifford (@solex), Peter
Tschipper (@Peter Tschipper) and I later ran an experiment to
demonstrate the drastic improvements made by Xthin. And it was Xthin
that really put BU on the map. In addition to lighting a fire underneath
Core to compete by releasing Compact Blocks, we also received an
anonymous donation for 750 BTC (about $500k at the time) to allow us to
continue our work making Bitcoin scale.

With this new funding, BU grew at a faster pace. We organized the first
“Satoshi’s Vision” conference in San Francisco in September of that year
(2016) which was attended by approximately 25 people. By the following
spring, the big-block movement had so much momentum that BU’s next
conference in Arnhem, Netherlands had closer to 150 people (as well as a
fantastic GCBU dinner organized by @Norway).

BU was winning over miners too. By the spring of 2017, there were weeks
when we approached 50% of the BTC hash power expressing support for the
BU client!

But BTC could not be saved. The NYA agreement – which would fail later
that November – took the wind out of BU sails. And so BU, and
@deadalnix + @freetrader with ABC, worked to fork the blockchain on
August 1, 2017 to allow Bitcoin to continue without Core’s segwit

BU’s scaling efforts continued with the Gigablock Testnet Initiative,
where we successfully mined and propagated blocks over 1 GB in size. We
also identified the next two bottlenecks to scaling: the
accept-to-mempool bottleneck at 100 tx/sec, and the block propagation
bottleneck at 500 tx/sec.

Already the #4 coin on CoinmarketCap, BCH was thriving. The next
Satoshi’s Vision conference in Tokyo in the spring of 2018 saw over 400
attendees. The connections we made with Brian Levine and George Biasis
at Scaling Bitcoin Stanford bore fruit this summer with Graphene block
propagation. And BU nodes performed better than all other nodes during
the September 2018 BCH stress tests.

This week, BU developer @awemany discovered one of the most
potentially-devestating bugs in the history of Bitcoin – a bug that
allowed a miner to create coins out of thin air – and disclosed this
bug responsibly to Bitcoin Core so that they could fix their software.

From my vantage point, those are the highlights of where we came from
and where we’ve been. I think it is accurate to say that BU began as an
idea on social media, and became a center of excellence for Bitcoin
research and development with several million dollars in funding

What went right, along the way?

From a very general perspective, I think what went right is that the
people who make up BU are truly committed to the vision of Bitcoin as a
global peer-to-peer electronic cash system. Seeing Bitcoin succeed and
change the world is imporant to us, and, unlike what happened with
Blockstream and the Core developers, I know that few here would
sacrifice Bitcoin’s future for a paycheque. (Of course, it helps that
many of us actually invested in Bitcoin several years ago and thus
cannot be easily tempted to sacrifice our beliefs for $.) In December of
2017 at the peak of the last growth spurt, we had over $12 million
dollars in reserves – $11.5 million dollars more than what we started
with after our first big donation. And I believe this number will
continue to increase.

Moving away from generalities and into specifics, I think the big
successes for BU can be grouped into three categories:

  1. Maintaining a leading implementation of the Bitcoin Cash protocol.
  2. Participating in scaling research (e.g., Xthin, Parallel Validation,
    Graphene, Gigablock Testnet)
  3. Organizing conferences and workshops to advance Bitcoin (e.g., the
    events in San Francisco, Arnhem, Tokyo and next in Gargnano, Italy)

What could be improved?

If I were to identify one weakness of BU (and of my role here within BU)
it would be trying to do too much. I think we should do a better job of
less, than a lesser job of more. I think that trying “too much” is
excusable for the first few years, because we didn’t really know where
our efforts were best focussed or what investments gave us the best
return on our time and money. I think we have a better idea now. And so,
I’d like to focus more closely on the three categories I listed above.

What I want to do next as Secretary:

In addition to continuing to assist with conference/workshop
organization and helping to faciliate scaling research, I’d also like to
do a few more projects to make Bitcoin Unlimited more of a finely-tuned
machine. BU’s Voting System (developed by @awemany as part of
is a great example of how a bunch of development work can really pay off
in making BU easier to manage. It used to be a time-consuming chore to
manually check digital signatures for votes. Now it is automatic. In
that spirit, I’d like to propose two further improvements:

  1. I’d like to improve the website by adding a blog section where BU
    members can post articles. Ideally, BU members with blog permissions
    can login with their BU signing keys, rather than the traditional
    username/password method. Right now, the BU website is mostly static
    content. Keeping it updated with regular posts by members will bring
    more traffic, and with that traffic more users running BU and more
    donations from the community.
  2. I’d like to streamline they way BU pays bills and generates
    financial reports(*). Right now, it can be time-consuming to
    collect invoices, organize them on Dropbox, manually create a
    payment proposal, and then get another BU officer to co-sign.
    Reimbursing 20 people’s flights for a conference takes a surprising
    amount of time, especially when people give you their receipts in
    all sorts of varied formats. Furthermore, matching up payments from
    our Copay wallet with scanned reciepts when doing financial reports
    can be difficult because sometimes the payment notes are ambiguous
    or missing. An automated interface that enforced that claims must be
    submitted with proper notes and documentation, and billed against an
    explicit BUIP, would almost fully automate BU’s finances, financial
    record keeping, and report preparation The officers would be
    notified of a claim, could visually verify that all the information
    was in order, and then choose to co-sign the reimbursement. The
    system would track all the details.

(*) You might have noticed that I’m late preparing one this year (don’t
worry, we have 597.678 BTC and 816.436 BCH). I do not want this to

Closing Remarks

I am blown away by all that BU has accomplished in its less than 3 years
of existence. It has been a rewarding experience and an honour to have
been part of that. I look forward to the next 3 years, as we work to
regain for BCH what BS/Core squandered with BTC. Our goal is to grow BCH
into a peer-to-peer electronic cash system that the entire world can
use. Our goal is to change the world.