OP_CHECKTEMPLATEVERIFY and the “covenants” drama

There are many ideas for “covenants” (I don’t think this concept helps in the specific case of examining proposals, but fine). Some people think “we” (it’s not obvious who is included in this group) should somehow examine them and come up with the perfect synthesis.

It is not clear what form this magic gathering of ideas will take and who (or which ideas) will be allowed to speak, but suppose it happens and there is intense research and conversations and people (ideas) really enjoy themselves in the process.

What are we left with at the end? Someone has to actually commit the time and put the effort and come up with a concrete proposal to be implemented on Bitcoin, and whatever the result is it will have trade-offs. Some great features will not make into this proposal, others will make in a worsened form, and some will be contemplated very nicely, there will be some extra costs related to maintenance or code complexity that will have to be taken. Someone, a concreate person, will decide upon these things using their own personal preferences and biases, and many people will not be pleased with their choices.

That has already happened. Jeremy Rubin has already conjured all the covenant ideas in a magic gathering that lasted more than 3 years and came up with a synthesis that has the best trade-offs he could find. CTV is the result of that operation.


The fate of CTV in the popular opinion illustrated by the thoughtless responses it has evoked such as “can we do better?” and “we need more review and research and more consideration of other ideas for covenants” is a preview of what would probably happen if these suggestions were followed again and someone spent the next 3 years again considering ideas, talking to other researchers and came up with a new synthesis. Again, that person would be faced with “can we do better?” responses from people that were not happy enough with the choices.

And unless some famous Bitcoin Core or retired Bitcoin Core developers were personally attracted by this synthesis then they would take some time to review and give their blessing to this new synthesis.

To summarize the argument of this article, the actual question in the current CTV drama is that there exists hidden criteria for proposals to be accepted by the general community into Bitcoin, and no one has these criteria clear in their minds. It is not as simple not as straightforward as “do research” nor it is as humanly impossible as “get consensus”, it has a much bigger social element into it, but I also do not know what is the exact form of these hidden criteria.

This is said not to blame anyone – except the ignorant people who are not aware of the existence of these things and just keep repeating completely false and unhelpful advice for Jeremy Rubin and are not self-conscious enough to ever realize what they’re doing.