What should Bitcoin be like, in the future?

These six ideas comprise (what I call) the “sidechain vision”.

Few will resist any single idea, in isolation. But rarely will someone endorse all six simultaneously…

…at least, so far!

Here they are:

Bitcoin must ossify.

  • Every change is an attack vector.1 2 3 4 5
  • Previous changes have introduced harmful/controversial elements, even via soft fork:
    • The 4 MB blocksize increase6 in 2017.
    • The SegWit-input perverse incentive7 (also 2017).
  • If the protocol is frozen, then users can learn Bitcoin, via firsthand experience. They do not need to be coders (just as we use electricity without being electricians).

2. The blocksize must shrink.

  • See Luke Dashjr’s argument8 for shrinking the blocksize.
  • If users transact on Layer2s, then 0.2 MB blocks [ie, 36,000 txn/day] for layer1 is already overkill.9 10 11

3. Fee Revenues must rise.

  • Fees are stubbornly low.12 13
  • As the subsidy wanes, total security budget will leave the network vulnerable to attack.12 13 14
  • Merged Mining is both necessary12 and sufficient15 for effective Fee Revenues.

4. Bitcoin must become interoperable (ie, "MultiChain").

  • Today, in any protocol dispute, one group must leave disappointed. (Ie, blocks cannot be both large and small.) But: an idea can still be good, even if it is inferior. (Ie, coach class seats can still be profitable, even if the airline relies primarily on First Class.16)
  • A protocol with willing miners, devs, and users, will exist. If not as a BTC-sidechain, then it will exist as an Altcoin. These Alts “sneak”17 around the 21M coin limit, and threaten the network effects18 that BTC needs to survive. But with sidechains, the Altcoin-justification argument is reversed: there is no story an Altcoiner could tell, that an investor would accept.
  • The “MultiChain Bitcoin” idea is very old19 20, and technical opposition to present-day sidechain-tech is unfounded21.
  • On Ethereum alone, there is already over 275,000 “wrapped BTC”. Bitcoin will become multichain, on Altcoins if not on Bitcoin.
  • Choice isn’t just efficient - choice is a moral issue.22 23

5. Lightning isn't enough.

  • It would take over 120 years to onboard 8 billion people to the LN.24 LN cannot be the only scaling solution. Some senior LN Developers argue this in public.25
  • The onboarding problem has two solutions –CTV and channel factories– but each is unreliable. Each can be DoS attacked, for free, thus consuming many more bytes (hence reducing the onboarding rate further, not increasing it).24
  • LN is inappropriate for many use-cases.16 26 Other Layer2s are needed, sidechains in particular.

6. Bitcoin Development needs Competition.

  • The Bitcoin Core Development process utilizes deliberation. But deliberation is inferior to competition. Especially in fields where so much is happening. Review cannot keep up; it is too much for any individual or group to manage, USSR-style. We need institutionalized opposition.27
  • By design, Core will reject good-but-controversial ideas.28 Thus, today’s protocol is sub-optimal.
  • Most new ideas do not engage with Core, they instead launch as Altcoins.29
  • Core helps devs enhance their careers/reputation; but the end user is neglected.30 This is immoral.
  • Soft forks now take years.31 (Meanwhile, the damage done by the overlarge Blocksize is already being done8, each day.)
  • The “activation” process is based on informed consent, which doesn’t exist.32 Most SegWit supporters did not understand SegWit; and most Drivechain supporters do not understand DC. This is normal and healthy.33

Well, what do you think of this Vision?

If you hate it, you should publish your own! After all, you can’t beat something with nothing.

If you liked it, join our Bip300 sidechain Telegram!


  1. Satoshi Nakamoto; June 2010; “The nature of Bitcoin is such…” 

  2. Peter Todd; Jan 2016; “Forced Soft Forks” 

  3. Vlad Costea; Sept 2020; “Why is Bitcoin Development so Conservative?” 

  4. Shinobi; June 2021; “Bitcoin Consensus” 

  5. See these results for twitter commentary – 3,000+ results, most of them positive. 

  6. Luke-Jr; Jan 2019; “Segwit…is harmful to #Bitcoin by enabling larger blocks and increasing the growing rate of centralisation.” 

  7. P2WPKH-SegWit inputs are 1 byte larger 148.5, vs 147.5, but are charged as if they had 80 or so fewer bytes. And, with P2SH-SegWit the problem is far worse. SegWit does save a paltry 3 output-bytes (which is irrelevant compared to the enormous 79 byte undercharge), relative to P2PKH, but P2PKH could also save these exact bytes, by simply making use of additional txn version numbers (of which there are 4.3 billion unused… so, plenty to spare). 

  8. Luke-Jr; May 2019; “Briefly, Why Blocksizes Shouldn’t Be Too Big”. At 16:09, Luke says “It may be already too late… we should have reduced the blocksize years ago.” If it was too late then [mid 2019], then it is certainly too late now [mid 2022].  2

  9. Turr Demeester; May 2015; “The LBMA…contains $262b worth of gold bullion, and yet on average it only needs 106 tx/day” 

  10. Nick Szabo ; Feb 2017 ; “Money, Blockchains, and Social Scalability” 

  11. Michael Goldstein; Apr 2022; “In 2021, 12 Fedwire nodes processed < 7 transactions per second, but a total volume of nearly a quadrillion USD.” 

  12. Paul Sztorc; Oct 2021; “Security Budget II, Low Fees, and Merged Mining”  2 3

  13. Joe Kelly; Nov 2021; “On Bitcoin’s Fee-Based Security Model”  2

  14. Peter Todd; June 2022; “if that does result in Bitcoin eventually failing…” and also “a fatal flaw” thread 

  15. Paul Sztorc; Feb 2019; “Security Budget in the Long Run”:viii 

  16. For more, see the “first class vs coach” argument here, as well “people are different, and transactions are different” 2

  17. Gavin Andresen; Apr 2016; “Full English Transcript of Gavin’s AMA on 8BTC” – “..a sneaky way of increasing the 21-million coin limit” 

  18. Daniel Krawisz; Jul 2016; “It’s Not About the Technology, It’s About the Money” 

  19. Satoshi Nakamoto; Dec 2010; “Re: BitNDS and Generalizing Bitcoin” 

  20. Reid Hoffman; Nov 2014; “Why I Invested in Blockstream” 

  21. Paul Sztorc; Jan 2022; “Peer Review (and Drivechain Controversies)” 

  22. Ian Shapiro; Mar 2010; “The Moral Foundations of Politics 23.5 - Schumpeter” 

  23. Milton Friedman; 1978; “Is Capitalism Humane?” 

  24. Paul Sztorc; Apr 2022; “Lightning Network – Fundamental Limitations”  2

  25. Tadge Dryja; Apr 2019; “Limitations of the Lightning Network”; (27:50) “So, yeah: increase the blocksize … (or some kind of extension block, who knows), these [scaling solutions] all have to happen in concert…and I think that most of the Core Developers have said that…It’s weird…it became this polarized thing”. (43:20) Peter: “This isn’t the call I expected…I expected a very pro-lightning [talk]”, Tadge: “… I’ve seen, like, a tribal … everyone’s like: ‘LN is the gonna be the best thing ever’ – wait, uh, it [LN] can’t actually do that. … It’s a part of a scaling solution, but I think there’s other stuff.” 

  26. See also “everything else is probably up for grabs”

  27. Specifically, there need to be people who benefit from the downfall of the current leadership (aka Wladimir), without this harming regular users. This is the only way to ensure that the review process is rational. See “Her majesty’s loyal opposition”

  28. There is intentionally a “gap” between what Core works on, and what is best for the Bitcoin user. 

  29. First, this is often attributed to BTC’s superior quality control. Supposedly, BTC allows in only the best ideas, and Alts will take any old idea. But sidechains already perform this quality control function. Second, it is attributed to Altcoin greed. Supposedly, Alt-dev exists only to pump its coin. But we Bitcoiners also use our new ideas mostly for hype. The problem is that these (LN, Taproot) are now rare. Third, many Alt ideas –Mimblewimble, zk-snarks, ring signatures, etc– came first from Bitcoin devs (big Alt-haters, in fact). They simply have no way of moving further through the process, other than as an Alt or as a Sidechain. 

  30. Udi Wertheimer; May/Jun 2022; “when are we going to have an honest conversation about how taproot was a complete failure”, “the plot twist is it doesn’t do anything and no one wants it”, and this graph

  31. Paul Sztorc; Jan 2019; “Table of all Fork-Events” 

  32. The variety of views, even within the Bitcoin Orthodoxy, is extreme. See this controversy about Taproot pubkeys or Luke-Jr’s belief that everyone MUST run the exact same software (which, among other things, means that EVERY Bitcoin user MUST [1] participate in Bitcoin development, [2] always switch their software to the latest version released “by Core”, etc). 

  33. F.A. Hayek (invoking A. Whitehead); Sep 1945; “The Use of Knowledge in Society”:”…without thinking about them.” 

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