A number of very high profile bitcoin companies publicly supported the Segwit2X hard fork.
As we have just learned, had the HF occurred, the entire Segwit2X network would have frozen; probably causing a significant price crash.
This is the network that CEOs were telling everyone to run. This is the network that NYA companies had fired up AWS nodes for. This is the network that was running non-consensus software that had fallen well behind the current core version, running code that was not in compliance of the most basic standards of safe secure software engineering practices. This is the network these CEO's falsely claimed was a 'safe upgrade' for bitcoin.
The existing chain would have still continued to function in this case, but it would have still been very bad reputationally.
Those of us who fought against the S2X hard fork were called trolls, brainwashed, paid shills, and worse. We suffered through endless online attacks while we tried to make the clear, cogent, rational, argument that any agreement which didn't include the core developers was meaningless.
It is not enough that these companies dropped out of the agreement when they realized it was going to fail in the marketplace anyway; they were prepared to drive the network off a cliff up until the last moment.
They never should have gone along with it in the first place without technical leadership and competence behind it; without the support of the core devs and without professional software engineering practices.
The mistakes they made are profound and, if they don't learn anything from it, they are destined to repeat them.
Some have spun conspiracy theories, but I'm willing to chalk it up to technical incompetence and naivete. Most of these CEOs are business people not software engineers and lack the background or experience to know the degree of process that is required to mitigate risk.
You would think security disasters in other alt-coins, such as ETH repeatedly losing tens, if not hundreds of millions, of customer funds due to their fundamentally insecure network, would have been enough, but apparently not.
I believe the CEO of every NYA company that was willing and ready to move forward with Jeff Garziks' buggy code which would have caused major market disruption as he tried to spit out a hard fork fix, needs to seriously reflect on their decision. It was bad enough that S2X didn't have replay protection; which all NYA participants should have adamantly insisted upon.
- Issue an apology. A real apology. One acknowledging their mistake in cutting out the core devs, failing to actually test the software, and putting the entire network at fatal risk.
- Promise to never do it again. Recognize that no consensus can be reached without the support of the technical community as well as those who actively support the network in terms of running full nodes and being deeply informed about the technical merits of changes.
- Commit that they will never support any change to the bitcoin network which has not undergone extensive peer review and testing. To never rush a change, unless 100% absolutely necessary in the form of an emergency fix and, even then, to be remarkably careful.
- Commit to supporting segwit immediately.
- Commit to supporting layer-2 scaling efforts, which are the official roadmap for bitcoin core. If they don't 'believe in layer-2 scaling', then they need to abandon bitcoin and move to BCH, IOTA, ETH, or some other network with a different roadmap. Had these companies devoted resources to advancing the roadmap, instead of diverting everyone onto counterproductive hard-forks, we would be much further ahead than we are now.
- Hire core devs! Some of these companies have enormous financial resources. Every single one of them should be hiring the best and brightest software engineers in the world and providing resources to support the network; not just the base layer, but every single part of the ecosystem.
It is not enough that we just 'let this pass' without there being some real change.
This isn't a joke here. Bitcoin has a market cap over 120 billion dollars right now. Most of us hope/expect to see it hit a trillion dollars some day.
You don't treat a financial network of this size like you were updating some java-script on a webpage.
This is serious business and requires the absolute highest degree of software engineering processes.
No more amateur hour.
If these companies don't have a culture that supports professional software engineering practices, then they need to hire people who do; and empower them to do their job.
Every single day, every person involved in this space, needs to understand that the fortune of millions is tied up in this network. It's not your toy to be handed off to one incompetent dev who doesn't understand the most basic concepts of software process.
'Must' is too strong a word. Take these as very strong recommendations. These companies burned an enormous amount of reputation in this near disaster. I implore them to learn from it.