a16z Podcast: Hard Forks, Hard Choices for Bitcoin

 

a16z’s Chris Dixon and Mike Hearn talked about all things bitcoin on the a16z Podcast a couple months ago, including an issue that has bitcoin developers on edge these days: the question of how best to scale the bitcoin blockchain before capacity runs out. Hearn and others offered a solution (Bitcoin XT) — in the parlance, a “hard fork” — and quite frankly, not everyone in the bitcoin community is in favor of this approach yet. Which we heard about from various online quarters!

So in the interest of airing diverse opinions and other options for solving bitcoin’s scaling problem, we invited two more experts from the bitcoin world, Adam Back and Alex Morcos, to share their views on the topic. A well-known applied cryptographer whose longtime focus has been digital currency, Back invented hashcash, a proof-of-work system used in bitcoin mining. He’s also the cofounder of Blockstream (which, full disclosure, may also have interests in the outcomes of this debate). Morcos is the founder of Chaincode Labs, based in New York City, and was a co-founder of quantitative trading company Hudson River Trading.