Last night, at Coinscrum, a London-based event series, full-time Bitcoin maximalist and Core developer Matt Corallo was introduced as “The bastard child of Satoshi.”
“I can’t comment,” Corallo replied, to much laughter.
Corallo, who co-founded Blockstream, is an open source developer at Chaincode Labs and is something of a legend in the Bitcoin world. Among other things, he was responsible for accidentally implementing and fixing the “inflation bug” in Bitcoin that caused a lot of fear, uncertainty and doubt last year. In response to a question on this, he said, “Software bugs will always happen. There will always be the next bug.”
Coinscrum, a conference that was founded back when no one knew what Bitcoin was, then morphed into all cryptos, has now come full circle, and is mainly about Bitcoin agan. Which suited Corallo, who shared the lectern with Jeremy Welch, CEO at CasaHODL, a New York-based startup that builds Bitcoin nodes. Corallo tweaked Welch on the grounds that Casa has added altcoins, such as Ethereum, in recent months. “Heresy,” Corallo called it.
Corallo explained why Bitcoin maximalists are becoming increasingly outspoken: “We’ve got more experience in Bitcoin setting precedent about how things get changed. We’re more cautious. As a developer, I can’t unilaterally change the rules. I think that gives it legs over other coins.” He added, however, that he’s a big fan of the privacy research in coins like Monero and Mimblewimble—the protocol used by Grin—but admits that he hasn’t been able to contribute to it because it’s not his area of expertise.
Corallo was most excited about the increase in diversity of the Bitcoin network. When he first got involved in 2011, there was only one wallet, called “Bitcoin.” “My biggest concern was we were going to wake up one day, there was going to be a remote execution of the wallet and everyone’s Bitcoin key was going to be on a Pastebin (anonymous text published online).” In fact, the Lightning Network is one of the main areas where development has really exploded.
“Everyone’s super excited about Lightning, even in this bear market,” he said, adding, “Obviously it’s still early—there’s still a lot of user experience challenges.” He argued that most of the issues are just engineering challenges and will be solved over time, though he was realistic about how large the network will become.
“You’re not going to have a billion lightning nodes,” Corallo said. “That’s not realistic. There is a limit and Lightning isn’t going to reach every human on the planet, at least not in custodial form.”
Still, he was confident that the Lightning Network will work despite the current routing challenge of getting payments from one person to another.
The excitement building up around the Lightning Network calls to mind the feeling when Bitcoin was created, and nobody was sure where it was going to go. Who better to lead this resurgence on Bitcoin than the bastard child of Satoshi?