Bitcoin will add five new BIP editors. What impact will this have on the development of the ecosystem?

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Original author | CoinDesk

Compiled by Nan Zhi from Odaily Planet Daily

Bitcoin will add five new BIP editors. What impact will this have on the development of the ecosystem?

Bitcoin’s open-source development is often touted as one of its strengths, demonstrating the network’s resilience and elusive nature. But a closer look reveals that something as complex as developing, updating, and patching the blockchain in real time often presents challenges.

One of the main problems over the past few years has been a bottleneck in editing BIPs (Bitcoin Improvement Proposals), which is a standard for proposing non-binding software updates that would change the Bitcoin protocol in some way.

That’s about to change as the globally distributed Bitcoin development community has decided to nominate five new BIP editors. This is the first time in Bitcoin’s history that more than one person has held the position, a role that for the past decade has been held solely by controversial Bitcoin OG Luke Dashjr.

Bitcoin Core developer Ava Chow led the nomination process, nominating five new editors:

  • Bryan Bishop, Bitcoin developer and co-founder of Custodia Bank;

  • Murch and Ruben Somsen, co-moderators of the bitdevs.org mailing list;

  • Olaoluwa Osuntokun, CTO of Lightning Labs;

  • Bitcoin Core contributor Jonatack.

What problems did having only one BIP editor cause?

Too much workload

“The problem is that Luke is the only BIP editor, which means he’s the only one who can merge stuff into the BIP repository, which covers everything from small to large, and Luke doesn’t have the time to work on it,” Chow told CoinDesk.

Odaily Planet Daily Note: Repository refers to the repository used to store project code, documents and other resources in the version control system. It is a collection of all the files of the project and their history.

I think what hes doing is what he thinks is the best thing for Bitcoin and what he thinks is the most decentralized and best for the currency as a whole. BIP editing is a rarely seen aspect of the development process, which includes everything from fixing typos in proposals to evaluating whether they should become BIPs, assigning numbers, and providing detailed feedback. The final step is merging the BIP into the GitHub repository. Chow recognized Luke Dashjrs many contributions over the years. In addition to regularly contributing to Bitcoin Core, Dashjr also serves as the CTO of Ocean Mining.

Chow further explained: “One of the biggest issues was that Luke would make a comment, like, ‘The author needs to fix X,’ and then the author would fix it within a few hours. But then we wouldn’t see Luke respond to that PR again for another month or two.”

Previously, Luke had sole decision-making power

The first BIP proposal (BIP 0001), proposed by early Bitcoin developer Amir Taaki in August 2011, introduced a process for submitting improvement proposals, which has become more formalized over the years but has not been particularly smooth. Bitcoin Core almost never submits BIPs, which tend to focus on improving consensus, wallets, private key management, or, as Chow said, new types of transactions.

“The line between what is a BIP and what is not a BIP is a little blurry, with proposals like Ordinals, Colored Coins, and Taproot Assets all introducing new ways to use Bitcoin but perhaps not formally changing the protocol,” Chow said.

Essentially, what meets the criteria to become a BIP is determined by the editors, a process that Chow believes could be made more efficient by adding more voices from different backgrounds. While much of the discussion will likely still take place out of the public eye, more debate could help better define the criteria for a successful proposal. The editor nomination process kicked off in January and has gone pretty smoothly by Bitcoin standards.

Luke and the Battle of the Ordinals

In fact, Luke Dashjr is more known for his previous plan to kill the Ordinals protocol. In December 23, Luke Dashjr said: Inscription is exploiting a vulnerability in Bitcoin Core to send spam to the blockchain. Since 2013, Bitcoin Core has allowed users to set limits on the size of additional data in their queues or mined transactions. By obfuscating their data as program code, Inscription bypasses this limit. Hopefully it will be fixed before the v2 7 version next year.

Due to this controversy at the time, ORDI once fell from about 65 USDT to a low of 41 USDT, and the proposal was ultimately rejected in January 24 .

Editors’ Role and Voice in Bitcoin Code Changes

For a piece of code to be merged into Bitcoins code base, a series of rigorous processes are required to ensure the quality of the proposal and community consensus, which usually includes 7 steps : writing proposals and code, community discussion, modification and improvement, voting to reach consensus, code implementation, merging into the code base, deployment and activation.

It can be seen that editors are more focused on the front end of the process. The increase in editors can introduce more possibilities for the transformation of Bitcoin, but the final realization still requires consensus from multiple forces such as the community, miners, and code merge permission holders.

A new wave of Bitcoin is coming, and the proposal is just in time

In the blockchain world, where “move fast and break things” and “test in production” are the norm, Bitcoin development can be seen as relatively slow. For example, the last major full-scale protocol upgrade, Taproot, was launched three years ago and was officially launched after years of research and development.

That’s all changed since Casey Rodamor’s Ordinals protocol was introduced last year. On a chain that has spent years trying to resist the “degen” aspects of the wider crypto market, it has ignited a whole new meme culture. Therefore, it could be argued that this is the perfect time to get involved in the new BIP editor.

While some used yesterday’s nomination moment to mock, OP_CAT was released on Twitter as a new way to introduce smart contracts on Bitcoin to build more complex applications, and was assigned the BIP number 420.

While some used yesterday’s nomination moment as an opportunity for a spoof, tweeting that OP_CAT — a new way to introduce smart contracts on Bitcoin to build more complex applications — was assigned BIP number 420. The spoof showcased the tensions and human conflicts inherent in proposal review.

Odaily Planet Daily Note: In fact, OP_CAT was removed (disabled) by Satoshi Nakamoto in 2010, and has not yet been assigned a BIP number.

Dashjr, for example, is a vocal opponent of both OP_CAT and Ordinals, with some arguing that he unfairly blocked their respective proposals from being approved. Chow said that while she has a more “relaxed view” on what should be considered a BIP, she doesn’t think Ordinals (which she called “a little silly”) meets the criteria, but she won’t be outspoken in opposing it.

More editors could mean more BIPs approved and merged, after all the ultimate goal of proposals is efficiency. But Bitcoin may always be more interested in debate than speed, because it is full of strong personalities with strong opinions.

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