The Two Best April Fools’ of Bitcoin 2017
Like every year the Bitcoin world saw some April Fools’ in 2017. While many have not been very funny, F2Pool and Ethereum’s Vitalik Buterin surprised the world with a terrific sense for a geeky humor.
It is not that the Internet was a good place to get solid knowledge about anything. Health, food, finance; you better take everything you read online with a grain of salt. This is especially important on one day every year, that is April 1. The tradition to fool other people on this day with funny lies is rooted deep in the medieval times and spread through the whole world.
In the Bitcoin scene, there are some April Fools’ hoaxes every year. Some are good, some are bad. For 2017, the Chinese mining pool F2Pool and Ethereum’s chief developer Vitalik Buterin did shine in delivering the best April Fools’ of the year.
F2Pool Signals… Everything!
As most of you might know, the Bitcoin community brews about the block size problem full throttled. F2Pool, the biggest or second-biggest mining pool, depending on daily luck, is in the middle of the debate. While most other pools decided which solution they support to increase Bitcoin’s capacity, Segregated Witness or Bitcoin Unlimited, F2Pool has not decided as of yet but puzzles the community with enigmatic tweets. The pool and its administrator Wang Chun could become the vote which decides the long-standing fight.
On April 1, Wang Chun demonstrated that being in such a serious situation is not an excuse to forget humor. Since Block 459,811 the pool did not just signal for one solution at issue, but for all; SegWit, Unlimited, 8MB, 2MB. At first glance, all the supporters of one of the solutions cheered F2Pool; SegWit fans for signaling SegWit, BU fans for signaling Unlimited. Shortly later, after a second glance, they realized they had been spoofed.
Wang Chun can pride himself to be the first human using Bitcoin blocks for an April Fools’. As of now F2Pool already cut the signals and mines neutral blocks again. Still no signal, no decision.
Sure, you could promote the lesson from all this, that the miners should really, and not just for fun, vote for several options. At least when they are not mutually exclusive, like 2MB, 8MB, BU, and SW. But let us not go down this road for now. Here we are talking about April Fools’.
Ethereum Goes for Proof of Authority
On the blog of the Ethereum Foundation Vitalik Buterin, chief developer of Ethereum, announced a bunch of news for the cryptocurrency. Like with many good Bitcoin April Fools’ you need to know the context to understand them. More precisely, you have to be somehow obsessed with all this cryptocurrency stuff to compute all the jokes Vitalik’s post lays out.
An important background is that the Ethereum developers are working for some time on the transition from Proof of Work to Proof of Stake. “After three years of trying to find solutions to the ‘nothing at stake’ and ‘stake grinding’ attacks,” Buterin writes, “we have decided that the problem is too hard, and secure proof of stake is almost certainly unachievable.” Instead, Ethereum plans “to transition the Ethereum mainnet to proof of authority in 2018.”
But that is not the only exciting April 1 announcement from the Ethereum developer. A further new feature of Ethereum should be the “Proof of Vitalik,” a mechanism to reverse transactions and contracts if their outcome is not desirable. For this feature the developers already found a prominent partner:
“We are pleased to announce our cooperation with the government in Pyongyang, which will work with us to identify transactions that promote American imperialism or are otherwise not in the interest of our Dear Leader or the Juche idea, so that they can be efficiently scheduled for reversion.”
Vitalik Buterin could not resist to adding side blow to the block size debate to his April Fools’ Day announcement. Precisely he took shots at Core’s Segregated Witness Soft Fork:
“In the interest of maintaining protocol immutability, the current four million gas limit will be set in stone and no longer changeable through miner voting. However, we will add an opcode, OP_SEGREGATED_EXECUTION, which allows users to execute any desired piece of code at 1/4 the normal gas cost.”
Vitalik Buterin announces several further new developments, like a Proof-of Death, the relocation of next big Ethereum event to Pyongyang and the upload of 100MB of alt-right propaganda on the Ethereum Blockchain, “with the goal of getting the blockchain banned in as many countries as possible. We believe that by forcing mining and full nodes underground, and encouraging governments to go after services that become too prominent, we can make the Ethereum ecosystem more decentralized and reduce the risk of attracting interest from malevolent institutions such as banks and large enterprises.”