0

Proponents of Bitcoin always mention that Bitcoin is Open Source, so if any better cryptocurrency comes along, Bitcoin can just copy those features in their open source.

Both Litecoin and Ripple have faster transaction speeds and more transaction capacity.

So why hasn't Bitcoin just copied those features, to improve itself?

We already know Bitcoin has current feature pull requests, and many of the nodes are agreeing to the changes. So why can't they upgrade speed/and capacity immediately?

Who approves the feature and bug code reviews in Bitcoin?

https://github.com/bitcoin/bitcoin/tree/4405b78d6059e536c36974088a8ed4d9f0f29898

5
  • Also Ripple and Litecoin has nothing that I would consider better than Bitcoin. If you consider any changes in Bitcoin protocol could improve Bitcoin, share your proposal as a BIP here to get feedback: lists.linuxfoundation.org/mailman/listinfo/bitcoin-dev – Prayank May 2 at 21:58
  • @Prayank well I am talking in general, some cryptocurrencies have better advantages, which ever they are, just curious why Bitcoin hasn't absorbed them yet, etc – mattsmith5 May 2 at 22:00
  • @Prayank I am not sure what these links are, I am just asking a general question, we're making a pretty strong assertion that Bitcoin is the top cryptocurrency out of a Litecoin, Ripple, others etc, thanks – mattsmith5 May 2 at 22:06
  • 2
    1. Altcoins are offtopic on Bitcoin SE. 2. Still if you want to know why something is not available in Bitcoin, you need to ask a question about specific feature and comparison with altcoin. It's difficult to answer why few things that you consider better are not in Bitcoin. – Prayank May 2 at 22:07
3

Proponents of Bitcoin always mention that Bitcoin is Open Source, so if any better cryptocurrency comes along, Bitcoin can just copy those features in their open source.

Bitcoin can of course adapt to whatever its community agrees to. This isn't so much a result of the fact that it is open source, but of the fact that its use is entirely opt-in: it works because people want to use it with the properties it has. Any group at any point can decide to create their own modified network/software, possibly creating their own coin in the process. This has happened in the past, but only with very limited success.

Both Litecoin and Ripple have faster transaction speeds and more transaction capacity.

They do, but those come with significant costs too. Litecoin is fairly similar to Bitcoin, but has higher upper bounds on certain resource costs like bandwidth usage, processing time for nodes, block propagation guarantees... all metrics that influence how realistic it is to keep Bitcoin's full node network decentralized. Ripple is a completely different design that relies on wildly different security assumptions.

Note that I'm not trying to say the different choices those systems make are necessarily bad - they're just different trade-offs, and those are things to be decided by the network's ecosystem. It is highly unlikely you'll convince a sufficiently large and important subset of the ecosystem that such changes are desirable. Sure, some people will feel they are - but others won't, and unless it is clearly better in (almost) all regards, the Bitcoin ecosystem will likely prefer being conservative about such choices as it has been in the past.

So why hasn't Bitcoin just copied those features, to improve itself?

TL;DR: because not everyone considers those changes to be improvements, when taking the costs into account.

1
  • interesting, so are we saying, Bitcoin is probably the optimal cryptocurrency, out of the 1000s out there, given the tradeoffs? it has no need to swiftly, copy These other features, your answer gave a pretty nice analysis of bitcoin, – mattsmith5 May 3 at 3:15
3

People have heterogeneous visions for Bitcoin. Some people want it to be a digital gold, some value censorship resistance most, others want it to rival digital payment systems like PayPal. Given that, you will find that each of the ostensible improvements come with its set of tradeoffs—tradeoffs that infringe on the properties that other stakeholders hold dear.

There have been various schisms about the raison d'être of Bitcoin already. Namecoin, colored coins, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, each pushed for big changes of Bitcoin in some direction, but then eventually spun out into their own project aligned with their vision from the get-go, when it became obvious that Bitcoin wouldn't bend to their wishes. As such, Bitcoin has stayed a fairly simple and stable protocol at the base layer, and more ambitious features have been pushed out to other layers. The base layer has mostly evolved the biggest common denominator. Removed inefficiencies, some conservative scalability improvements and bug fixes. The upcoming Taproot soft fork is going to give a few new features for the first time in a long while.

This approach is more slower and more complex, but so far seems more future-proof:

  • Payment system? The Lightning Network scales users with transactions in the base layer, and provides almost instantly settled payments
  • Turing complete smart contracts? Run them on Rootstock.
  • Decentralized Exchanges? There's BISQ.
  • Privacy? Coinjoins, Joinmarket, atomic swaps, MAST, Musig2, confidential transactions on Liquid
  • Oracles? Discreet Log Contracts, coming up with Schnorr signatures in Taproot.
  • Security? Hardware wallets, broad support for multisig and self-custody
  • Issue your own Token? You can use RGB or Liquid.
  • Document authenticity? OpenTimestamps got you covered.

And all that only from a stupid simple base-protocol that has been developed in a forward compatible fashion without breaking changes. Maybe we aren't missing as many features as one would think.

2
  • interesting, so are we saying, Bitcoin is probably the best cryptocurrency, out of the 1000s out there? it has no need to swiftly, copy These other features, your answer gave a pretty nice analysis of bitcoin, – mattsmith5 May 3 at 3:14
  • 2
    Bitcoin has a lot more features than what people give it credit for, and it has an enormous network effect. Especially the latter makes it very sticky and will continue to entice people to invest in Bitcoin improvements. There might be another cryptocurrency that has an overall objectively better set of tradeoffs, but unless it's at least a magnitude better, it's unlikely to catch up to the incumbent. – Murch May 3 at 15:16

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.