Is that the chill of winter?
November is here, bringing with it (in the northern hemisphere at least) all the trappings of fall. But it’s also brought a shiver to the world of blockchains, none greater than in bitcoin.
Casting a darker shadow over the digital asset’s recent price highs (and mainstream acceptance) is the ongoing technical discord, and the threat of the unknown approaching.
Those who have been following closely will no doubt know that November is to bring the Segwit2x hard fork, emphasis on the 2x, though it’s not been clearly communicated what this change will mean, nor are the full implications understood.
In parts one and two of a four-part series to run today, CoinDesk begins unpacking that very question, starting with a high-level explainer. Also live now is a profile on developer sentiment (to be followed by looks at the miner and startup outlook).
Feeling out of touch with the debate? Now’s the time to engage.
Even those in the bank blockchain world will no doubt want to mind the implications. For public blockchains, this represents nothing short of the first large-scale test of a blockchain operating amidst discord.
Brace yourself, November will be a step into the unknown.
Another dot-com bubble?
While the idea that this comparison is apt for the cryptocurrency market has certainly been embraced by the financial mainstream, new remarks by long-time technologist Joi Ito gave a rare view of how this concern is shared among blockchain believers as well.
In a talk at the Scaling Bitcoin conference series, the head of MIT's Media Lab, home of the university's Digital Currency Initiative, went so far as to speculate that this might be the case given the prevalence of what he described as easy money in the market.
Ito's remarks would appear boilerplate if they weren't so impassioned – and timely given the recent migrations around the industry.
Indeed, he went so far as to decry ICOs as a distraction, going so far as to say he wouldn't want to be involved in such projects at this "period in history."
In this way, Ito suggested he's waiting for a shakeout, one that can let the true tinkerers build in peace, forge relationships and solve the hard problems before the next wave.
As Ito's talk kindly reminds us, it may be the boring times – not the boom times – when the best work gets done.