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From Graphene, an efficient way of announcing new blocks, to the Revised Difficult Adjustment Algorithm (DAA), the bitcoin cash community has encountered many proposal and protocol changes. The new one on the block is an idea code-named “Pre-Consensus”.
Released by Bitcoin ABC’s lead developer Amaury Sechet, the Pre-consensus proposal, “…can help delegate part of the decisions involved in choosing consensus parameters to the market, in addition to other great benefits in terms of 0-conf and scale”.
Pre-consensus is a technical proposal that will establish a standard on the bitcoin cash network, allowing the network to determine the features of the next block before it is added to the blockchain. Just like how the “Precogs” in the science fiction movie Minority Report could foresee crime before it happens, the pre-consensus is supposed to see how a future bitcoin cash block would look like before it gets to the blockchain.
What will pre-consensus bring?
Pre-consensus, according to the proposal, will enable efficient 0-conf on the bitcoin cash network and allow for more scalability.
0-Conf, in its basic terms, refers to the state of a transaction before it is added to a block, mined, and subsequently validated. It represents a block that is not yet confirmed by a network and allows a transaction to be immediately broadcasted even if it hasn’t been discovered by the network.
Additionally, pre-consensus is supposed to allow for greater scalability – so far as the node is aware of the features of the next block, validation can be done ahead of time. This does not only de-crowd the critical path and ease congestion on the entire network but also provides a timescale for actors that have different policies to reconcile their differences and create interoperability and compatibility with 0-conf.
“… If done well, this provides a significantly stronger 0-conf guarantee that we currently have, while also allowing to reach greater scale by moving work out of the critical path (if a node know what the next block is going to look like, a lot of the validation work can be done ahead of time)”. Amaury Sechet.
The mixed feelings
The pre-consensus protocol, whiles praised by some developers, was vehemently attacked by others.
A section of the community received Amaury’s whitepaper as a welcomed protocol change that will improve scalability and enable 0-conf. One such member is Ryan Charles, CEO of Money Button and Yours.org. After reading the pre-consensus whitepaper Charles said
“Amaury is going to work on pre-consensus and making 0-conf better. Awesome!”
Other members of the bitcoin cash community are, however, not happy about the protocol, with Craig Wright, vehemently attacking the whitepaper, saying “No hash goes to this crap. They want it, they fork it, without us. Without the apps using our code, our IP etc”.
According to Sechet, for Bitcoin Cash to become the currency of the world, its network needs to be robust by constantly finding solutions to solve some of the problems that bitcoin cash and many other cryptocurrencies face today. Similar to how demand and supply forces in an open market interact to push inefficiencies out of the system, Sechet believes that bitcoin cash needs to continue innovating or get pushed out by better solutions.
“The market always finds a solution. There is no guarantee that the solution the market picks includes Bitcoin Cash”. Amaury Sechet.
From Amaury’s post, it’s clear that pre-consensus hasn’t received much attention from the developer community. He, however, hopes that more hands will come on board to help the protocol progress and promises to devote more time to make it happen.