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Leonardo da Vinci once famously quipped, “Nothing strengthens authority so much as silence.” His point was that, when a community is silent under the pressure of unfair or biased authority, silence only allows that authority to consolidate more. 

This has never been more true than these days in the Bitcoin community. 

Bitcoin, originally conceived as a peer-to-peer (P2P) digital payment system for the masses, has now become an oligarchy of unfair and confusing authority between miners and core developers. 

Bitcoin miners have created a relatively centralized system where power over the whole chain is concentrated with a few entities with the majority of hash power, and Bitcoin Core has created a system where small block sizes and slow transaction times have been effectively institutionalized. 

Here Comes Lightning

This oligarchical structure has led to a need to create a system where the original vision of Satoshi Nakamoto, the creator of Bitcoin, can be restored. Because of the large scale of transactional volume, a new platform must be created with the same level of security but faster and cheaper processing. 

Nakamoto’s original vision was for a platform for transactions that would be P2P and would provide a simple and decentralized way to process rapid transactions. Freeing the Bitcoin network from centralization would align with his original vision. According to the original whitepaper, Nakamoto said:

"A purely peer-to-peer version of electronic cash would allow online payments to be sent directly from one party to another without going through a financial institution.” 

The answer has come from a new altcoin called Bitcoin Atom (BCA). 

Bitcoin Atom is a P2P payment platform that is reestablishing the original purpose vision for Bitcoin. BCA is designed with hybrid consensus, lightning network implementation, and hash-time locked contracts. 

Hybrid consensus is a term that simply means that validation on the blockchain requires a hybrid of different validation principles for stability. Rather than simply using the Proof-of-Work (PoW) validation protocol, BCA uses both PoW and Proof-of-Stake (PoS). This hybrid model produces stability and further decentralizes authority over the chain, hindering the centralizing tendency of miners to take greater and greater levels of authority. 

Second, BCA will utilize the Lightning Network (LN) protocol which allows for instant off-chain atomic swaps. LN transactions are particularly helpful, since they are much cheaper and therefore more useful for small transactions. Additionally, because LN transactions are off-chain, they are much more private than traditional on-chain transactions where a record of the transaction has been immortalized. The combination of security, speed, and fiscal benefit makes the LN atomic swap useful for payment methodologies. 

Third, BCA will use hashed timelock contracts (HTLCs) in order to free the blockchain from external authorities and intermediaries. The feature requires cryptographic proof of receipt before the transaction is confirmed, and because BCA utilizes its own HTLC API, it frees users from being forced to use the centralized protocol of BTC for atomic swaps. 

With these three features in place, BCA is creating a platform that will allow users to take advantage of all the best features of Bitcoin, while at the same time removing the risks and centralization associated with the original chain. 

Bitcoin Atom Fork

The BCA fork is scheduled for mid to late January. The fork will create a one-to-one copy of each Bitcoin as a BCA. This replication of all existing Bitcoin will mean that BCA coins will be available to everyone who is holding BTC. 

Several exchanges have already agreed to verify the BCA fork and allow users to trade their newly minted coins. OKEx, Coinomi and YoBit have all agreed to make BCA tradable when the fork occurs sometime in January.

Users must have access to their private keys, unless their exchange will provide support for the newly minted coins. Users can also access BCA coins directly by creating accounts on one of the exchanges above, and trading other tokens for BCA. 

Ultimately, the Bitcoin network contains weaknesses that have been revealed as the network has matured. BCA will create a methodology that will help to correct those weaknesses while at the same time keeping the best features of Bitcoin, restoring the original vision of Nakamoto, and moving cryptocurrencies into the future.