Bitcoin SV’s technical standards programme (TSP) exists thanks to a considerable investment of time and resources from committee members, working groups and the Bitcoin Association for BSV.What inspires developers, business owners and executives to set aside their valuable time to participate in the Technical Standards Committee (TSC) for Bitcoin SV?
We spoke to five TSC members and technical standards programme contributors to gain insight into the value they see in the programme.
As a business leader with experience in several industries, Angus Brown (TSC founding member and CEO, Co-founder of Bitcoin SV wallet, Centbee) cannot conceive of a world without technical standards. ‘Technical standards are essential to the modern world. Without technical standards, the physical world we currently live in is inconceivable.’
From the technical standards that allow electricity to flow through national grids to power innumerable appliances, to the software we use to collaborate across devices, Brown views the modern world as a reality enabled by technical standards.
Brown refers to the pivotal role technical standards have played in the development of the Internet to elaborate his point: ‘Looking at the websites, every website runs off IP, and that’s a protocol that everybody knows how to use. Nobody has to think about it. Developers don’t have to worry about how it works. It just works. And that’s the benefit of technical standards: they enable the physical and the software infrastructure of the world, allowing people to create innovation and build value on top of that.’
As General Manager of Swiss payment service, Centi, Bernhard Muller, technical standards are as much the golden thread to innovation as money is to the economy. ‘Payments, for example, is one of the areas where we can all benefit from having a predefined standard to build on, so you can be interoperable with everyone else in the industry that uses the standard.’
Xioahui Liu, Founder and CEO of sCrypt experiences the pain of a lack of standards first-hand in sCrypt’s work of building smart contracts on Bitcoin, where standardisation is in its infancy: ‘How do you support arbitrary smart contracts for different wallets if everybody’s doing it their own way?’
Scalability is the big loser where standardisation is amiss, he explains: ‘If I use a data wallet that supports a smart contract but I have to migrate to another wallet, they’ll have to customise their codes to support my contract. If we have a standard, you’d be able to use any wallet interface to support your contract.’
Kip Twitchell is a recently elected member of the TSC, and Executive Director of Sharealedger.org, a collaborative, open source effort, to share information and discuss ideas about improving ledgers of all kinds.
Twitchell considers the role of a collaborative programme like the TSP within the context of a competitive business world: ‘We sometimes think the world is built on competition. But even in sports competitions, it starts in an arena of cooperation, where sports teams have to agree that they’ll show up at the same arena. They decide that they’re going to play by the same rules. They agree on who the referees will be.’ The cooperative venture of standardisation is thus necessary to provide the best environment for competition to happen.
The standards-making programme, Twitchell defines as the established place for cooperation to take place, as well as the guidelines for how to cooperate and in which ways competition should take place.
In his view, the TSC is an organisation that aims to bring industry together, to the benefit of all involved. ‘One of the critical elements of blockchain’s value proposition is the interoperability it enables. It breaks down a lot of data silos and unlocks a lot of opportunities for software to coordinate across industry, across competitors and across supply chains.’ In order to do that, Belding considers well-crafted standards that are considerate of different needs across industry essential.
And yet, such industry coordination doesn’t fall into our laps. ‘Because of the nature of industries, it’s sometimes difficult to have companies collaborate, or at least initiate it and work together well.’ And that’s where the TSC centres: a bridge to bring them together, create a platform for them to work together in a fair manner and get the best outcome for all the companies involved.
Although Belding is a committee member himself, he attests the value of any level of participation in the TSP, ‘even in a capacity where you’re not necessarily doing the heavy lifting’. Both the influence of having a say and being aware of what’s going on gives enterprise leaders and entrepreneurs a clearer idea of where the industry is heading, which could have a big impact on their ventures. ‘You don’t necessarily have to dive in head first just yet. Being very aware of what’s going on and joining these workgroups – or at least the ones that are relevant to you – is probably very, very wise from a business outcome perspective.’
The TSC furthers Bitcoin SV’s utility for such projects by promoting technical excellence, enhancing interoperability through standardisation, facilitating industry participation in the development of global standards and ensuring technical standards are maintained and freely available.
You can get involved in developing Bitcoin SV technical standards by:
To read descriptions of these roles and register as a contributor, head over here.