GreenAddress’ position on contentious forks


Dear GreenAddress users,

Recently there has been considerable discussion and speculation concerning the possibility of a contentious fork to the Bitcoin blockchain.

At this time, we remain confident such a fork will not occur. We trust that the incentives of the system continue to operate as expected and encourage participants to play by the Bitcoin consensus rules.

fork-in-the-road

However, if such a situation were to unfold, GreenAddress users need not to worry. We will always provide safe wallet support  for Bitcoin under the original chain rules, as GreenAddress is server based and follows Bitcoin’s consensus rules. Users do not need to take any particular action at this time.

To better understand the principles guiding us, we wish to emphasize our vision for Bitcoin and what drives us everyday to create infrastructure that we hope can help further its adoption.

We strongly believe that the critical properties of decentralization, censorship resistance, privacy and trustlessness must not just be maintained, but enhanced further while the technology behind and around Bitcoin is scaled up to serve the whole world.

We support this technology because it enables voluntary actions and makes coercive behaviours ineffective. We think it is superior to existing alternatives because it allows us to verify rather than trust. Bitcoin uses the most work valid chain, and economic actors collectively follow rules set by the software they run. Accordingly, our focus is and will always remain to build products and advocate for solutions that put you, the user, in control.

GreenAddress does not support contentious hard forks that risk disenfranchising users, irrespective of hashing power. We believe that such an outcome would create an irreparable precedent that would severely undermine social trust in Bitcoin and potentially set it back for years to come. We will only consider proposals that demonstrate the support of the majority of users, developers and industry partners in the Bitcoin ecosystem.

We strongly favor protocol upgrades that guarantee backwards-compatibility and allow users to opt-in to new features without the threat of coercion. In that regard, soft forks are widely regarded as the most secure and reliable way to implement Bitcoin upgrades. The robustness of this method is shown by years of experience with Bitcoin itself as well as a great deal of technical analysis. We encourage you to consult the links below for further information.

* https://bitcoincore.org/en/2015/12/23/capacity-increases-faq/#size-bump
* https://petertodd.org/2016/soft-forks-are-safer-than-hard-forks
* https://bitcoinmagazine.com/articles/understanding-soft-forks-a-core-developer-s-view-on-network-monopoly-1474990034/
* https://lists.linuxfoundation.org/pipermail/bitcoin-dev/2016-October/013234.html

We would like to take the occasion to remind that on top of normal wallet withdrawal our recovery model also always permits user Bitcoin recovery. This means that you can access  your bitcoins even independently of the service being available. For more information on GreenAddress recovery measures please see our FAQ

Additionally, our GreenBits wallet app for Android allows you to directly connect to your own full node for extra validation of the information provided by the service. We aim to roll out this extra security (and more) to all of our wallet clients in the near future.

For further reading on considerations for hard fork proposals, see  recent posts from fellow industry members, BitGo and Bitrated.

As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at info@greenaddress.it


Lawrence Nahum
GreenAddress Lead
Senior Architect @ Blockstream