Paul Sztorc is clearly frustrated when I call him on Zoom. He’s not frustrated in a rage-filled way. Instead, he is friendly and genial on the phone. Our conversation was fascinating. Sztorc, a brilliant Bitcoin programmer, has a fascinating vision for Bitcoin to reach across the globe and become the backbone of civilization’s next stage. He’s frustrated and even troubled. I do feel for him.

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Sztorc is selling BIP 300 to the Bitcoin community this year. BIP 300 proposes to scale Bitcoin by using “drivechains”, or sidechains, which allow assets to be transferred between the main blockchain and secondary chains with minimal changes in Bitcoin’s code. Sztorc claims BIP 300 will bring Bitcoin a host of new features, such as improved privacy, smart contracts and more tokens, without compromising Bitcoin’s core principles of decentralization or censorship resistance. Many in the Bitcoin community don’t like it.

BIP 300, a revision of an idea that was first published in 2017, has been met with fierce resistance from prominent Bitcoiners like Michael Saylor (MicroStrategy), Saifedean Ammous (The Bitcoin Standard), Pierre Rochard(Riot Blockchain), and Cory Klippsten(Swan Bitcoin) during this year. Sztorc seems to be irritated. He believes his proposals are an intelligent way to increase network effects without affecting what makes Bitcoin unique. He claims that these critics are suffering from “groupthink.”

Sidechains would allow developers to import new functionality on top of the main blockchain, while validating side network using Bitcoin’s massive hashpower. It’s about a protocol that allows users to leave the main network and go to another piece of software. Sztorc stated that this would bring competition back to the software development industry.

Sztorc said that soft forks are less common these days. They introduce new features into Bitcoin without affecting previous versions of blockchain.

He said that none of the soft forks proposed are controversial. “Nobody has a problem with its content.” All of it is a lie. Everyone is afraid to tell the truth. There’s just too much groupthink. “I hope to destroy the groupthink.”

Hard money Bitcoiners who view Bitcoin as a hedge against inflation are often resistant to code changes, for fear that they will erode Bitcoin’s self-sustaining durability and decentralization. Michael Saylor who has invested hundreds millions of dollars in Bitcoin believes that Bitcoin is already a finished product and doesn’t require any changes.

“It’s good enough to be a hundred-trillion-dollar base layer. It is good enough to be 20x larger than it actually is. This year, MicroStrategy’s CEO stated that a $500 trillion layer of base is good enough.

Sztorc grew up in New Haven, Connecticut. He said that this viewpoint would prevent innovation, which could make Bitcoin better. He lists a half-dozen other projects in our Zoom that, if they had been approved, would have provided greater functionality. Sztorc believes innovators are being shut out. He cites, as an example, how BIP 119 , another proposal, was rejected in 2022 and its proponent Jeremy Rudin chose to leave Bitcoin development completely.

Sztorc, a conservative voice against Bitcoin’s new direction, said: “They are a small majority but they are very vocal.”

Bitcoin is still the king of crypto. With a global market cap of 814 billion dollars and 460 millions wallets, Bitcoin has a huge lead in the crypto world. Bitcoin has more than half of the market and is regarded as crypto by the general public. Sztorc says we should be concerned about Bitcoin becoming a “digital-gold” project with a single application.

Sztorc said to CoinDesk, “I think we should scale up to eight billion people.” “If we don’t achieve that, then we will be turning people away.” Then no one would want to do it. Everyone wants to be in the same network as everyone else. Network effects are too strong. “The scalable solution will win.”

Parikshit Miishra is the editor.