Since I penned the original Community Fork proposal, I felt the need to address the decision to fork and the medium post attempting to justify the radical departure from what the community sought
. The italics are quotes from the post, the following text is mine.
The first several statements are in regard to what happened in January.
The core developers ultimately decided against forking.
This statement sets the table by clearly laying out what happened in January with a statement the project is centralized as Nebulous went against the community in not forking then. The same holds true on today's statement.
Decentralization is valuable because there is nobody in control, and we weren’t comfortable releasing an update that threatened to rip the community in half.
In other words, we asserted control and made a highly centralized decision to protect the community. It is Orwellian in attempting to explain that war is peace.
ironically the people leaving in the largest droves were those who most aggressively opposed the fork during the earlier debates
Even if evidence existed to determine this, it's doubtful. The people most active against the fork were A3 purchasers and those people had ROI to meet. Even if they decided the Discord was a bit toxic, they still fulfilled a role securing the network. The author frequently makes assertions that cannot be defended with fact.
Sia’s biggest supporters and believers were the ones that got hit hardest by the mining catastrophe, and despite this loss, they were also the ones who stuck through the hardest times.
What did they lose? Obelisks wouldn't ship for another 9 months. How was it a catastrophe? Was the network ever at risk? The use of hyperbole here is indicative of the lack of a serious argument.
They (innosilicon) have the only 14nm miner on the market, and as such they have the only rig capable of competing. Without competition, there is no price pressure, and it seems that there is close to, if not above, a 100% markup on their hardware. For every machine that gets sold, Innosilicon makes enough profit to produce a machine for themselves to mine.
The suggestion is that a highly competent manufacturer fairly competing to create the best possible solution is somehow in the wrong. It then goes on to suggest that gaining a financial reward for being highly competent is somehow wrong and further intimates the profits must be reinvested into working the Sia chain. In fact, Innosilicon didn't have an overly large hashrate until the discussion of a fork seemed inevitable. It seems reasonable they dumped the totality of their inventory online because they would not be able to sell them once a fork occurred. Arguing against capitalism and the freedom to earn profits is a dangerous slope, perhaps revealing underlying political motivations of the author.
For an ASIC that is going to obsolete existing hardware, margins can be anywhere from 50% to 100%. The story is different however for ASICs that intend to compete without being strong enough to become the new monopoly. For these machines, margins are likely to be less than 25% because the presence of competition heavily forces prices downwards.
The argument here is to somehow seek to fight Moore's Law. Just as GPUs defeated CPUs and ASICs defeated GPUs, the strongest ASICs will prevail. There are several manufacturers that can be sought out to compete if the result is a single dominant model. More importantly, Innosilicon sells the majority of it's mining rigs to decentralize the hashrate. A single dominant manufacturer does not guarantee or even make more likely the hashrate will centralize. Finally, seeking to protect less than competent or financially competitive manufacturers runs counter to much of the Satoshi manifesto.
When a manufacturer is also a miner, there is an incentive against manufacturing and selling more machines.
The Bitmain financials clearly show the company makes the overwhelming amount of their profitability on miner sales, not mining. This is likely true for nearly all coins as mining quickly becomes close to breakeven. Even the author later admits the margins on hardware make for a lucrative business model.
High manufacturer diversity is currently limited by the extreme barriers to entry...we like to see manufacturers that share the knowledge and encourage a vibrant competitive environment.
In no industry that I am aware of is sharing of proprietary knowledge common and especially not in highly competitive and extremely capital intensive industries. It's beyond naive to believe this should be a goal. The post continues with other hurdles that no rational enterprise would accept without some sort of regulatory framework. It cannot be fairly policed as we are seeing here. The author has made several statements based on conjecture and formulated a punishment with the entities having no rights of appeal or even an advance guideline to follow that would have avoided the issues.
For the Sia network, an important line was crossed when secret ASIC projects superseded a public project that had substantial community investment.
This may be accurate to the author but such a line was never laid out for the public and as such, crossing it cannot be penalized unjustly.
Sia did not fork initially because there was a lot of confusion, a lot of emotion, and a great fear that the heavy conflicts of interest would cause the development team to make the wrong decision. Since then, there has been time for emotions to cool, for level heads to prevail, and for a second community fork proposal to come forward. Unlike the first fork proposal by the community, this second proposal experienced widespread support and virtually no opposition at all from regular members of the community.
This is accurate in stating the Community Fork proposal enjoyed widespread support. it is totally off base in suggesting the Dev Fork even resembles the CF. This is using the community as a human shield due to the overwhelming lack of an argument. My guess is that the Dev Fork would not meet with anything near the kind of support the CF enjoyed.
Sia is forking today to reprimand the current ASIC monopoly for the damage it did to the Sia community, to make whole the supporters of Sia’s community ASIC project, and to send a clear message to all future Sia ASIC manufacturers: we will not tolerate an abusive ASIC monopoly.
Which is sort of a heavy handed way of saying there is one final boss at Sia and you made him mad to the point that he must now "reprimand" you. The items characterized as abusive were never outlined in advance and are highly debatable as to whether they actually are abusive, but again, Final Boss.
We fully expect that the 28nm Obelisk ASICs will be replaced by a 16nm chip from another manufacturer, who will become the new manufacturing monopoly for Sia... the Sia community is not afraid to take action a second time to break a parasitic or abusive ASIC monopoly.
Hopefully any manufacturer understands the shifting sands that exist within the Sia leadership could decide virtually any action to be harmful as there has been zero harm done up to now. There have been no attacks, no overt centralization and plenty of supporters own/mine with these company's devices.
Sia is an ungoverned blockchain. There is no built-in mechanism on the Sia network to change the consensus rules, and there is no mechanism in the software that the developers can use to force people to upgrade. The only way that Nebulous can encourage a fork is to release new code, and then encourage people to upgrade. This leaves people with the opportunity to reject the upgrade, and to instead continue using the old software and the old blockchain. If enough people rally around the old software, there could be a network split, and Sia could divide into two blockchains, in the same way that Ethereum split into Ethereum and Ethereum Classic, and in the same way that Bitcoin became Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash. At Nebulous, we view these cryptocurrency splits as one of the most powerful innovations of the blockchain space. Under traditional governance structures, a single decision gets made and everyone has to live with that decision. But when the network is able to split, you can get solutions where two groups of people with incompatible demands can both get what they want. We will be structuring the Sia hardfork code to enable a group of dissenters to easily split off and be on a separate blockchain where the hardfork was never implemented. The hardfork will be released as its own release, v1.3.6, where the only code updated is a handful of lines of code + tests required to implement the hardfork. The code will be implemented in a way that easily allows a dissenting group to remove the hardfork code and yet continue merging changes that are made to the primary Sia repo. So long as the siafund ownership is maintained on this fork, members of the dissenting community will be welcome in the Sia community, on the Sia discord, on the subreddit, and will be able to receive support and help directly from the Nebulous support staff. Perhaps the most amazing thing about a potential Sia network split is that all users will be able to continue to use their current files that they have on Sia. Uploads and downloads will continue to work, no matter what side of the split you are on, and so long as the minority side of the split has enough hosts (50–80 is what most users will require), the repair mechanisms of the Sia network will be able to repair your files from across both networks and ensure that your files continue working into the future. If the minority side of the fork does not have enough hosts, users will have time (most users will have several weeks) after the split to download their files and find an alternative way to back them up.
These paragraphs are simply amazing. The author appears to be goading people resistant to his iron control over the project to continue the legacy chain. While this makes sense if you are simply building a protocol and have no interest in marketing and selling the tech to say, Fortune 1000 companies, it is a terrible message if you do plan to. You are seeking community schism, making a competitive environment for hosting when hosting is already horribly unprofitable and seeking to sow chaos in how the network evolves into the future. The logical approach would be to let dedicated foes seek out the info on their own if there is a desire to work the legacy chain, not encourage it. It continues to show the author, while a strong technologist is a weak business individual.
we like to see is low margins for miners and manufacturers. When there are high margins, at least one player (the benefactor of the high margins) is able to acquire hashrate more cheaply than everyone else, and therefore is able to more easily attack the network.
What is the evidence and argument here? That people with more money are more able to attack? People with large trust funds are equally likely to be more able to attack. High profit margins simply indicate a competent agency, nothing more.
ASIC manufacturers ultimately exist to serve the network, and specifically to protect the network against 51% attacks.
ASIC manufacturers exist to serve their customers, full stop. They have no role or responsibility to the network at all. Increasing a circle of responsibility to an entity with no control over how their products are used is silly.
Overall, I am disappointed the team chose to ignore the Community Fork proposal in order to run their own fork. But, this is a Nebulous project and ultimately they can do whatever they want. They cannot assert decentralization though and very little about this current action suggests there is a long term goal of decentralization. Decisions to exclude some faction today will most certainly arise down the road as the team concludes that certain storage customers or developers or vendors are unacceptable for various reasons. This hasn't even discussed the awkward part of the equation where Obelisk is owned by the author and stands to gain now and in the future when more powerful, 2nd gen ASICs can be created and no outside manufacturers wanting to risk losing on the Sia project.
The point of the post is to attempt to continue to get Mr. Vorick to recognize the issues with his sole governance of the Sia project. Even the most ill-willed posts from various authors have a goal of improving the project. It is hoped that at some point, Vorick will recognize his project is stronger with community participation, even to the point of going along with community desires sometimes even if it runs counter to his own desires. There is value in learning to negotiate. You learn what to give away and what is sacrosanct. In the end, the project will grow much stronger and there will be copious numbers of supporters ready to do battle against the hyper-competitive world of cloud storage.
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