Standardisation is a community affair
By Lizette Louw
Published: April 15, 2021
James Mcleod wearing eyeglass in white background

The TTDR (Too Technical Didn’t Read) Blog

The Bitcoin SV Technical Standards Committee (TSC) is calling on you to help set the agenda for Bitcoin SV’s Technical Standards Roadmap 2021-23.  And to help you cut through the tech talk and get straight to the opportunities it offers your business, James McLeod, CTO at tech incubator The Hopper and a founding member of the TSC, shares his own experiences contributing to the drafting of the 2021-23 roadmap.

We’ve reached the point where we’re ready to open the roadmap to the community for collaboration. The key message is the roadmap isn’t something that the TSC committee dictates – it has to be driven by the community based on industry need. Here’s how you can get involved.

James McLeod

CTO, The Hopper

In 2019, the TSC publicised a call for volunteers to standardise the Bitcoin SV industry. As CTO of The Hopper and sister companies, I volunteered right away.

At The Hopper, we’re big proponents of Bitcoin SV. Our group of companies focuses on a diverse set of open and permissive technologies that includes both privacy and encryption. This is where blockchain and digital currencies fit in.

Since before the split from Bitcoin Cash, we’ve been working closely with companies that are now key contributors to the Bitcoin SV community. We saw Bitcoin SV go from something very small to an incredible hub of innovation. Every time we attended CoinGeek conferences, meet-ups and other Bitcoin SV events, we were amazed at the level of innovation apparent. Every six months we saw the number of new projects grow and we wanted to be a part of it.

At the Hopper, we’re inventors at heart. Our sister company The Workshop’s mantra is ‘inventors of play’. Inventing and building is very much a part of our DNA.

James McLeod

CTO, The Hopper

How industry standardisation benefits the Bitcoin SV ecosystem

Though the growth and innovation evident with Bitcoin SV excited us from the start, the industry still lacked the interoperability to support its growth. This is where technical standards come in.

There are a great number of companies building wallets, tokenisation platforms and many other applications on Bitcoin SV; however, to build a commercially viable ecosystem that attracts other industries, there needs to be standardisation. Rather than having 50 people reinvent the wheel, we could standardise Bitcoin SV solutions so that others can use it or build something on top of it.

The goal of the TSC is to bring alignment across various groups to support the highly entrepreneurial spirit evident across the Bitcoin SV ecosystem. I find it incredibly meaningful to be involved in something where there is so much innovation, and even more so, to be able to help steer some of the supporting standards.

Standardising the Bitcoin SV ecosystem – the journey begins

Compared to other blockchains and cryptocurrency projects, Bitcoin SV boasts an extraordinary level of innovation.

James McLeod

CTO, The Hopper

In January 2020, the TSC’s newly selected committee members met for the first time. Since the start, we’ve been very conscious that the TSC would not only benefit from diverse and broad representation across the industry, but also in order to promote participation, it needed to be seen to be a genuinely inclusive vehicle for the benefit of the industry as a whole. To that end, Bitcoin Association vetted each applicant to ensure that we had good cross-industry representation from the outset. From people with enterprise experience, to those with a product perspective, to representatives from companies that build wallets, tokenisation platforms, even mining and transaction processing-focused individuals – we have everyone on board.

Blockchain and digital currencies have only been around for 11 years, and it’s only really been the last five or six years or so where there’s been a burst of start-ups and investment as well as commercialisation. As the TSC, we want to build something that will help shape that for the foreseeable future. The way we see it, blockchain is the new Internet. We are only at the point of starting to discover its utility now – pretty much where the Internet was in the early ‘90s.

For the first six months, the committee met remotely, whiteboarding everything we needed to get in place. We focused on ratifying the initial TSC processes, creating a website and collaboration tools, shaping the TSC processes and preparing community onboarding material so that the community would drive the standardisation.

The next step: creating a community-driven roadmap

In the process of setting up shop, the clear need for a roadmap emerged. The committee members themselves already had a lot of standards that they were ready to contribute to because of their own industry awareness or experiences coming across a problem and seeing the benefit in standardising a solution that others could leverage.

We’ve reached the point where we’re ready to open the roadmap to the community for collaboration. The key message is the roadmap isn’t something that the TSC committee dictates – it has to come from the community.

As the TSC, we’re putting in place the guidelines and examples to help people understand what we mean by a roadmap. We’re not the ones to decide whether something gets added to the roadmap or not – it will be driven by industry need, and it’s the community that must highlight those requirements.

Get involved in shaping the future of Bitcoin SV

The Bitcoin SV’s Technical Standards Roadmap 2021-2023 is open for public comment until May 10, 2021. You can also get involved in developing Bitcoin SV technical standards by:

  • Submitting a proposal to form a working group
  • Joining a working group as a reviewer or author
  • Commenting on standards that are at the public review stage

To read descriptions of these roles and register as a contributor, head over here.

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Get involved if you wish to join us on this mission to make BSV the public blockchain of choice. We look forward to having you on board.
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