SegWit2x through the NYA agreement was a compromise with a group of Chinese mining pools who all march to the beat of the same drum. Antpool, ViaBTC, BTC.TOP, btc.com, CANOE, bitcoin.com are all financially linked or linked through correlated behavior. Antpool, ConnectBTC and btc.com being directly controlled by bitmain, and ViaBTC and Bitmain have a "shared investor relationship". If bitmain is against position A, then all those other pools have historically followed its footsteps. As Jimmy Song explains here the NYA compromise was because only a small minority of individuals with a disproportionate amount of hashrate were against Segwit (Bitmain and subsidiaries listed above), where the rest of the majority of signatories of NYA were pro-segwit. The purpose of the compromise was to prevent a chain split, which would cause damage to the ecosystem and a loss of confidence in bitcoin generally.
At current time of calculation, according to blockchain.info hashrate charts, these pools account for 47.6% of the hashrate. What does it matter if these pools are running a shell game of different subsidiaries or CEO's if they all follow a single individual's orders? 47.6% is enough hashrate right now to preform a 51% attack on the network with mining luck factored in. This statistic alone should demonstrate the enormous threat that Bitmain has placed on the entire bitcoin ecosystem. It has compromised the decentralized model of mining through monopolizing ASIC manufacturing which has lead to a scenario in which bitcoins security model is threatened.
But let us explore the reasoning behind these individuals actions by taking a look at history. First, Bitmain has consistently supported consensus breaking alternative clients by supporting bitcoin classic, supporting Bitcoin Unlimited and its horrifically broken "emergent consensus" algorithm, responding to BIP148 with a UAHF declaration, and then once realizing that BIP148/BIP91 would be successful at activating Segwit without splitting the network Bitmain abandoned its attempt at a "UAHF", and admitted that bitcoin cash is based on the UAHF on their blog post. The very notion of attempting to compromise with an entity to prevent a split that is supporting a split is illogical by nature and a pointless exercise.
Let us not forget that Bitmain was so diametrically opposed to Segwit that it sabatoged Litecoins Segwit Activation period to prevent Segwit from activating on Litecoin. Do these actions sound like a rational actor who has the best interests of bitcoin at heart? Or does this sound like an authoritarian regime that wants to stifle information at any cost to prevent the public from seeing the benefits that SegWit provides?
But the real question must still be asked. Why? Why would Bitmain who is so focused on increasing the blocksize to reduce fee pressure delay a protocol upgrade that both increases blocksize and reduces fee pressure? If miners are financially incentivized to behave in a way in which is economically favorable to bitcoin, then why would they purposefully sabatoge protocol improvements that will increase the long term success survival of bitcoin?
There is plenty of evidence that suggests covert ASICBOOST, a mechanism in which a ASIC miner short cuts bitcoins proof of work process (grinding nonce, transaction ordering) and an innovation that Bitmain holds a patent for in China is the real reason Bitmain originally blocked SegWits activation. It was speculated by Bitcoin Core developer Gregory Maxwell that this covert asicboost technology could earn Bitmain 100 Million dollars a year.
It is notable that Hardfork proposals that Bitmain has supported, such as Bitcoin Classic, Bitcoin Unlimited, Bitcoin ABC/Bcash and now SegWit2x all preserve Bitmains covert asicboost technology while Segwit the soft fork breaks asicboosts effectiveness.
But if that is not enough of a demonstration of rational economic incentives to behave in such a way, then what about irrational reasons such a idelogical positions or pride?
Its no secret that Chinese miners dislike for bitcoin core matured when the Hong Kong agreement was broken. Many miners have consistently rationlized "firing bitcoin core developers" and we even have a direct account from a bitpay employee that said Jihan directly told him that is his purpose is to "get rid of blockstream and core developers". And while the Hong Kong agreement being broken is quite the muddied waters, there is proof in the blockchain that chinese miners were the first to break the terms of the agreement by mining a block with a alternative client. Some bitcoin core developers continued to work on HardFork proposals despite this, offering up public proposals, BIPs and released code to attempt to satisfy the terms of the agreement. Yet only in hindsight did everyone realize that no individual or individuals can force the entire bitcoin network to upgrade. It is only through the slow methodical process of social consensus building that we can get such a large decentralized global network to agree to upgrade the protocol in a safe manner. Yet to this day we still have bitter idelogical wars over this HK agreement "being broken" despite how long ago, and how clear the situation is in hindsight.
When you take into account the historical record of these individuals and businesses actions it clearly demonstrates a pattern of behavior that undermines the long term health of bitcoin. When you analyze their behavior from a rational economic viewpoint, you can clearly see that they are sabatoging the long term health of bitcoin to preserve short term profits.
Considering this information, why would other bitcoin ecosystem businesses "compromise" with such a malicious actor? Let us not forget that these actors were the entire reason we needed to compromise in the first place went ahead and forked the bitcoin network already creating the first bitcoin-shared-history altcoin, Bitcoin ABC. So we compromised with people to prevent the spliting of bitcoin, so that they could go ahead and split bitcoin? What illogical insanity is this? Why would you "stick to your guns" on an agreement that was nullified the moment Bitmain and ViaBTC supported a hardfork outside of the S2X agreement? Doubly questionably is your support when the hardfork is highly contentious and guaranteed to cause a split, damage bitcoin, create chaos and damage global confidence.
A lot of the signatories of the NYA agreement are payment processors and gateway businesses. Their financial health depends upon short term growth of bitcoin to increase business activity and shore up investors capital with revenue from that transactional growth. Their priorities are to ensure short term growth and to appease their investors. But their actions demonstrate a type of cause and effect that often occurs in markets across the world. By redistributing network resource costs to node operators they are simply shuffling costs to the public so that they can benefit in the short term without needing to allocate extra capital.
But these actions do not benefit the health of bitcoin long term. Splitting the network, once again, does not increase confidence in the bitcoin network. It does not foster growth. Increasing the blocksize after segwit already increases the blocksize will not get us any closer to VISA transaction levels from a statistical viewpoint. Increasing the TPS from 3 to 7 when we need to get to 30,000 TPS is quite an illogical decision at face value. Increasing the blocksize on-chain to get to that level would destroy any pretense at decentralization long before we even came close, and without decentralization we have no cenosorship resistence, fungibility. These are fundamental to the value of bitcoin as a network and currency. Polymath and industry wide respected crypto expert Nick Szabo has written extensively on scaling bitcoin and why layer 2 networks are essential.
To all the Signatories of the SegWit2X I ask you – What are you trying to accomplish by splitting bitcoin once again? What consensus building have you done to ensure that bitcoin wont suffer a catastrophic contentious hard fork? As it stands right now I only see a portion of the economic actors in the bitcoin ecosystem supporting S2X. No where near enough to prevent miners from supporting the legacy chain when there will be a large portion of the economy still operating on the legacy chain preserving its value. Where there is money Its going to be extremely difficult to topple the status quo/legacy network and the cards are stacked against you. Without full consensus from the majority of developers, economic actors/nodes, exchanges, payment processors, gateways, wallets….you will only fork yourself from the legacy network and reap destruction and chaos as the legacy chain and S2X battle it out.
If you truly support bitcoin and are dedicated to the long term success of bitcoin and your business, then why would you engage/compromise with demonstratably malicious actors within the bitcoin ecosystem to accomplish a goal that was designed by them to further monopolize/centralize their control, at the destruction of bitcoins security model?
Bitcoin core developers are actually positive on hardforks and want to eventually increase the legacy blocksize, they just wish to do it in a responsible manner that does not put the network at risk like SegWit2x does.
Also, it seems a rational engineering choice to optimize and compress transactions/protocols before increasing the blocksize. Things like SegWit, Schnorr, MAST are all great examples of things Bitcoin Core has done and is doing to increase on-chain scaling technology to the long term benefit of bitcoin.
The fate of bitcoin will be determined by users who choose when how and where they transact. If businesses attempt to force them on the S2X chain they will abandon those businesses to use a servicor that does not attempt through coercion to force them upon a specific forked network.
Finally, without replay protection there can be no clean split and no free market mechanism to determine the winner. I understand that this is purposefully designed this way, to force a war between the legacy chain and S2X, but if you stand for everything bitcoin stands for, then you as central actors will not try to force people onto your chain. Instead, you should allow the market to decide which chain is more valuable.
If you will not abandon this poisonous hardfork pill then please advocate/lobby to add default replay protection to the btc1 codebase. You cannot claim Free Market principals and then on the other side of your mouth collude with central actors to force protocol changes upon users. Either you believe in bitcoin, or you are here to join the miners in their poorly disguised behaviors to monopolize, subvert and sabatoge bitcoin.