Is DigiByte a better “Bitcoin” than Bitcoin?

Also known as “I don’t really know what you would use to define Bitcoin”.

Roger Ver is world renowned for how far he’s pushed Bitcoin along, also known as “Bitcoin Jesus” he’s probably done more for cryptocurrency than most other people in terms of awareness, spreading the word, giving away cryptocurrency etc and I want to acknowledge that sometimes it’s these unpopular and borderline extreme views that are part of the reason why he’s been able to accomplish so much for Bitcoin. I want to start by honoring all of his contributions to Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, and the cryptocurrency / blockchain space as a whole, even though I don’t specifically see eye-to-eye with everything he does.

So let me start with a link to the spreadsheet, and I’ll screenshot how it is as-of the 7th October 2018 (Because it seems to change quite regularly):

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1sOFp6EVLX8CXiTiacZMhSu36cTGtmYh5BDTpAhUnB2Q/edit#gid=0

What makes Bitcoin, “Bitcoin”?

I’ve referenced this once or twice in the past but there’s been new cells added that are anti-SegWit. That’s OK, he’s making the rules here, I’m content to play by them. Roger Ver also weights the two against each other, rather than individually. Not a big deal, just, worth noting that in my tweet, I’d changed that when comparing the 4x blockchains:

My comparison of DigiByte, with Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash, and Bitcoin Core.

What spurred this all again? A video with Roger Ver and Charlie Lee discussing the intrinsic value of Bitcoin (amongst other things), and toward the end they discuss this table of Rogers:

The part where Charlie talks about Litecoin being Bitcoin is 4/5 of the way through

So what follows is an individual look at each of the metrics, and why I’ve rated them as I did in my screenshot above.

The numbers will start from “2”, because I’ll go by the “row” number (Just to avoid confusion and make it easier for readers to reference).

In addition, because I’m lazy, rather than typing out “Bitcoin Cash”, “Bitcoin Core” and making you read that each time, I’m going to abbreviate:

And with that out of the way, let’s get on with the show!

2/ Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System

So Bitcoin Cash is definitely aiming to be more of a “P2P Electronic Cash System” than Litecoin or Bitcoin. Bitcoin is rapidly becoming more of a “reserve currency” rather than a P2P Cash system, with hopes of Lightning Network being the payment system (on top of BTC).

In addition, Charlie Lee has also been very vocal about Litecoin lately specifically being “sound money”, rather than a “Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C_pTOomVtI8). That’s totally cool too, but again we’re going to go by Rogers metrics and weighting in this instance.

DigiByte is not specifically limited to being cash, but it’s one of the many aspects it excels at, more-so than the other 3 due to the faster block timings and higher maximum supply.

3/ Low Fee

Similarly to the above, with BTC being more of a “reserve currency” these days, with which all other cryptocurrencies are compared against, the requirement of “low fee” is no longer as applicable, and as we saw in Dec ’17 & Jan ’18, it’s definitely not.

Fees for LTC similarly have gone up, and Charlie Lee seems to be of the opinion that’s OK, and it’s not my place right now to question Litecoin on their decision. Fees for LTC will likely remain lower than BTC, but higher than BCH or DGB, due to the maximum total supply vs blocksize giving us a transaction-per-second processing capacity that’s lower than BCH / DGB.

I’ve also mentioned before why I use “average” rather than “median” in some of my prior pieces about scaling & DigiByte being used in Venezuela. Actively used wallets with multiple UTXO inputs will be closer to the average than the median.

Actual average fees right now (7th Oct ‘18):

It’s worth noting the DigiByte fees are based on the Android application fees, and having discussed with the developers they’ve mentioned that should the value of DigiByte increase too a higher extent that it’s prohibitive for places like Venezuela to be sending for under 1c, they’ll decrease the satoshis-per-byte amount for the sending-fee. So you can expect the fees to remain very low.

This one is up to you if you want to give BCH or LTC a tick. It’s cheap “currently”, but LTC isn’t specifically keen on keeping it that way. BCH is cheaper, but, still significantly more expensive than DGB.

4/ Fast Payments

So I’m presuming what Roger means by this is “are the blocks full and your payments will be delayed?”, which is why he awarded it to BCH and not BTC.

I’m going to take it literally at face-value of “Fast block timings” for “Fast payments”. With BTC / BCH both being 10 minute blocks, LTC at 2.5 minute blocks, and DGB having 15-second blocks, when you’re adding DGB into the comparison it’s very easy to deem all 3 others as “slow”, regardless of if the blocks are full or not.

5/ Reliable Payments

I believe what he’s meaning alluding to with this, is a continuation of row 4, with the BTC blocks being full in Nov / Dec / Jan, causing issues with payments not specifically going through due to fees inflating and some transactions basically getting “stuck” forever.

He could be alluding to Lightning Networks payment failure rate when going through multiple hops or for larger payments. If that were the case, and we’re looking at LTC payments via Lightning Network, you’d give them a “No” too, however I’m presuming it’s the former rather than the latter, so I’m going to award LTC a “Yes” here:

6/ On-chain scaling

Bitcoin has already shown they’re going to increase the block-size to scale on-chain, though they could potentially also do with decreasing the block timing if you were to ask me. LTC can happily do 2.5 min blocks so I don’t see why BCH can’t either. Regardless, they’ve already increased from 8 to 32MB block maximum size, so they get a big tick here.

LTC are looking at Lightning Network again for their scaling solution, and I’ve never ever seen any mention of any LTC changes occurring in that respect, so we’re going to presume that is a “No” for LTC and that they’re going to scale off-chain. Again the “sound money” mantra that Charlie Lee has been using lately doesn’t specifically require it to scale on-chain if they’re less about that on-chain throughput, so that’s totally fine.

DGB has scaled already, from 1 min blocks down to 15 second blocks. Block sizes double every 2 years thanks to the DigiSpeed hard-fork, and will continue to double until reaching 280,000 transactions-per-second in 2035.

7/ Non-Reversable Payments

This is Roger being anti-SegWit. I disagree with this, but, we’re again going by his metrics. He references this Bitcoin Talk post by Satoshi Nakamoto as a reason why SegWit is bad, which then references this post. The goal being to avoid double-spends of 0-conf transactions.

You all know by now that DGB was the first major altcoin to implement SegWit, weeks before LTC and months prior to BTC. You could argue that DGB having 15-sec block timing means it’s significantly harder to double-spend a 0-conf transaction, but for the sake of this argument, we’ll give this round to BCH as the only blockchain without SegWit.

8/ Chain of digital signatures

Again this is another dig at SegWit activation, again BTC, LTC and DGB all have SegWit, so for the sake of brevity here I’ll just say “Yep, we’re going to give this round to BCH again”, even though I disagree with it myself.

9/ Op Codes Enabled (Scripting)

This is an interesting one, that not many people give a lot of thought to, but I like the inclusion of this in the list.

Back in the day, Bitcoin had the “BTC Script” codes enabled, that would allow you to include things like 40 bytes of data in an OP_RETURN field, so you could store additional data in to the blockchain over and above just sending a transaction. It was useful, but, people were concerned about chain-bloat and as such these were disabled a while ago on the BTC network. One of the things that BCH did was re-enable it. These are the sorts of things that have allowed for DiguSign to be created, which signs document hashes into the blockchain, a tool used by a number of Fotune 500 companies to secure shipping routes and the likes. I really like that Roger included this in the list, although it’s not required for a peer-to-peer electronic cash system, it’s certainly worth the mention.

10/ SHA-256: one-CPU-one-vote

Although he mentions here a “CPU” and specifically also “SHA256” (Litecoin uses Scrypt, DGB has 5x mining algos: SHA256, Scrypt, Myr-Gr, Qubit & Skein), it’s more a reference to “Uses Proof-of-Work” rather than “Proof-of-stake” for block creation. Roger references this part of the Bitcoin Whitepaper:

Proof-of-work, one-CPU-one-vote

Ticks all around, yay!

11/ Longest Chain, with most Proof-of-Work

This is interesting because right now BCH actually has a longer chain vs BTC

When they forked, BCH struggled to find blocks and ended up implementing part of DigiShield in order to fix the block difficulty retargeting problem. DigiShield will allow it to fall faster than it increases though, which is why I’m presuming the number of blocks in BCH have increased to be higher than BTC.

With 10 min block-timings we should see 144 blocks per-day. According to bitinfocharts.com (Links above in the average fee section), BTC has done 126 in the last 24 hours, and BCH has done 152. It also says BTC is averaging 5 per-hour vs BCHs 6 per-hour. This explains the change, but, I’m not sure if Roger is aware of this that the BCH chain is now “longer”.

Technically the hash-power that goes in to that proof-of-work is greater on BTC vs BCH, however I’m going to intentionally overlook that part due to the inclusion of LTC and DGB making it not an apples vs apples comparison, and just roll with “longest chain”:

So we can see that despite having only been around for a little shy of 5 years, DGB with the faster block timing (Originally 60 seconds, now 15) has a much longer blockchain than the other 3 combined even do.

So, we award:

Conclusion

I’ve tried to be as fair as I can across these all, despite disagreeing with Rogers sentiments on SegWit.

Again as I mentioned, I changed the percentages from being Bitcoin Cash vs Bitcoin Core, to each standing on their own merits seeing how many they obtained out of the total 18 possible points. Otherwise the more you add, the more skewed it gets:

Weighting vs each other, rather than individually

Hence why I’ve not done it this way in my tweet. That said, if you prefer to compare the 4 against each other, it’s pretty clear that DigiByte still leads by a significant margin.

But what if we give Bitcoin Core the “Most proof of work” due to the cost involved?

Well sure, if you really want to go by the “It cost more $$ in hash-power to mine the Bitcoin Blockchain”, again we’re not really doing an apples vs apples comparison here due to the fact that the difficulty between BTC and BCH goes up and down a lot, things have got cheaper over time, but most importantly: Litecoin and DigiByte use different proof-of-work mining algorithms.

Still, just for the sake of it, let’s change that to see what it comes out with:

DGB scores 11 now, putting it side-by-side with BCH

You’re welcome to go and play around with the metrics yourself though, again the link to the spreadsheet is at the top of this page, however I feel the above explains why I scored each row the way that I did.

I hope you’ve found this informative, if you have any more questions please feel free to comment on this article, or you can catch me on Twitter, @dgb_chilling

I write interesting things about cryptocurrency, especially DigiByte