Recent events in the BCH world point to small-time thinking and often conflicted vision. The project has struggled to raise funds to fund the protocol and service development, and its best-known backers are scaling back. It raises two questions: is small-time thinking appropriate for the times we live in; and does BCH really have any choice?
BCH’s most prominent corporate backers to date have been Bitcoin.com and Bitmain, with additional support from Chinese transaction processing networks like BTC.TOP and ViaBTC. Last week, Bitcoin.com announced the departure of CEO Stefan Rust amid calls for a “leaner” team. The company also reportedly laid off 50% of its staff.
Bitmain, meanwhile, has problems of its own and its management has rarely engaged in public support for BCH since the November 2018 split from Bitcoin SV. A failed IPO saw the ouster of co-founder and CEO Jihan Wu, who returned later with a takeover attempt against fellow co-founder Micree Zhan. The two factions are currently embroiled in legal battles against each other for control of the company. Bitmain’s plans for BCH development and promotion were mothballed long ago, and the firm announced layoffs as early as January 2020.
BCH forums are regularly active with ideas to solve the “funding problem.” BTC.TOP CEO Jiang Zhuoer’s solution — taking a percentage of block rewards for an “infrastructure funding plan (IFP)“—was met with howls of protest, with everyone from users to protocol developers threatening another chain split if it went ahead.
In March 2020, majority protocol developer ABC released a new business plan it said was “fully funded with funding in hand by 30 April 2020”. However the plan also makes it clear it requires further funding from businesses in the BCH community to achieve its goals.