12 - 18/Feb/2021

Introducing the Blockchain Ventures Association (BVA)

I'm going to let you in on a little secret. Recently, I accepted an invitation to be a member of the Blockchain Ventures Association, or BVA for short. You can find the website at blockchain.ventures, but unfortunately, unless you gain membership, which is by invitation only, you won't be able to access the site and see anything beyond the login page. But you're in luck because I've decided to share with you dear reader my experience so far.

Basically the way the site works is that once you become a member, you have the option to cryptographically prove that you hold the private keys to specific addresses. Once you do, the balances sitting in those addresses contribute to what is called your vote weight. I've been given permission to reveal that as of this moment, the 17 members in the association have signed for just under 40,000 BCHA coins. Of course that only represents the amount of coins people in the group have been willing to reveal. For example, I haven't signed for all the addresses I control simply because I don't want anyone to know exactly how many coins I hold. In addition, it's also possible that members have the ability to buy even more BCHA if they so choose. My point is that the 40,000 coins likely only represents a fraction of the BVA membership's potential overall stake in BCHA.

Once you've signed for an address (or multiple addresses), now you're able to vote on the various proposals that are on the table. For example, one of the early proposals was regarding changing the name from BCHA to something else. With each proposal you can vote to accept, reject, or abstain. The final result will show what % of votes were cast for each category, giving each member a sense of how BVA stakeholders feel about any given proposal. And of course you have the ability to change your vote for as long as the voting period remains open, meaning members can try to sway other members to vote their way.

To me this is a huge leap forward in terms of filtering out the noise you regularly find in social media. For example, if 75% of the votes cast are in favor of a specific proposal, I know that represents approximately 30,000 coins as of today. Compare that to a Twitter or Telegram poll that can be voted on by anyone whether they have any skin in the game or not.

And yes, I'm aware there have been other sites in the past that allowed you to prove your holdings and cast votes, but one key difference is that since the BVA is by invitation only, I have more confidence I am seeing the votes of people who I believe share the same goals I do.

The BVA was essentially set up to allow members to pool their coins together in order to one day gain seats on the Global Network Council (GNC). Whether the BVA ends up having enough coins for only one or two seats, or ten seats, it gives those of us who might not have been able to earn a GNC seat on our own a chance to still have a voice when it comes to the direction of the project. I like to think of it like the first political party ever created on Bitcoin, and I can imagine that in the future there might be many other similar associations.

To me this is the beginning of a new form of governance model. Of course you could try something similar on BCH or BTC, but since neither of those chains have a built in funding mechanism that is earmarked for projects that are meant to grow the value of the network, any kind of voting would be mostly only be for show.

Not so on the BCHA chain. With 4% of the coinbase reward allocated based on the votes of GNC members, it becomes imperative that the council hear from holders who not only have real skin in the game, but are also people who are respected in the community and are known to have the best interests of the project in mind.

Imagine a future where there are many associations acting like political action committees that help guide the direction of this project. It doesn't mean everything is suddenly going to be perfect. There will still be disagreements, but I am optimistic that this will open the door to a new kind of diplomacy, one where stakeholders can come together for the greater good without having to deal with the noise of social media.

In spite of all the challenges BCHA has faced so far, it is initiatives like this that keep me optimistic about the future of this project, and I believe that the implementation of the new coinbase rule has provided this chain a unique opportunity to do some amazing things that no other Bitcoin fork has done before.

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