It's been a frustrating year in bitcoin's progress while at the same time being an explosive year of growth in users and value.
Many new users have joined by buying in and driving up the bitcoin price. And suddenly they find themselves in the middle of a heated debate about SegWit and big blocks. They hear about ASICBoost. They are told that certain individuals are essential contributors and at the same time that those people are trying to corrupt bitcoin.
At the root of this is a problem that will not ever go away. The problem is that discovering the truth requires a level of technical and political savvy that the overwhelming majority of people do not have and never will have.
I could try to provide a list of some of the lies we have been subject to this week from the "The Future of Bitcoin" conference and the subsequent interviews that came out of it. But for the technical neophyte the ability to independently verify whether those statements are lies are hard for each individual lie and impractically impossible as a whole.
So what can I say to a non-technical newcomer to bitcoin who wants to know what is best among the proposed changes? It's this: If you can't contribute and don't know what to choose, choose nothing. Choose the status quo. Keep doing what you're doing.
Now, everyone here who has followed me knows I strongly advocate in favour of decentralization first, and therefore in favour of UASF, in favour of SegWit, and against bigger blocks. But if you don't understand why, and it's too difficult to figure it out, you don't have to do anything. You can continue to run the wallet you've always run because it represents the bitcoin you bought into.
While the technically unsophisticated user of bitcoin cannot verify if Craig Wright or Jihan Wu are lying through their teeth or if some altcoin claiming magical powers is going to deliver, there is still something that every technically unsophisticated user can verify. That is, they can verify the cryptographic authenticity of every bitcoin transaction and block in history. All you need to do is run a full bitcoin core node. This does take up space on your computer if you do it. But it is a verification of the truths that you need to ensure are true to make bitcoin valuable, and if you hold bitcoins, you want to make sure they're valuable.
Let the debates rage on while you do nothing but continue to enforce the existing validation rules. You can simply continue to take the status quo over a fork if you can't tell whether that fork is good or bad, and I myself will stick with the status quo over rolling the dice on getting software that will poison bitcoin with something bad. If those people trying to change bitcoin cannot do it, it's good to know that bitcoin is great without changes and that the fact that nobody can change it means that your bitcoins and the promises made about bitcoin when you bought in are all secure.
And know this too, if there are chain splits in the future, you get to keep your money on both chains.