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Everyone in the crypto world has been talking about the “Civil War,” and not the one involving Captain America and Iron Man. No, the civil war they are referring to is the Bitcoin civil war, a rancorous year-long battle for control centered on scalability.

On one side are the Core developers who want to hold the blocksize limit to 1MB, counting on the promised Lightning Network to solve any congestion issues.

On the other side are those found in the Bitcoin Classic camp, who want to increase the blocksize limit to at least 2MB. For the moment, it appears Core has won, with Bitcoin miners overwhelmingly deciding to stick to their implementation of the project.

The spat has brought up some fundamental questions about the nature of a decentralized project such as Bitcoin. In the end, who sets the direction of a decentralized project? Who makes the final decisions on development? In other words, how should a project like this be governed?

The Necessity of Governance

Before looking at governance itself, it is important to first ask if there really is a need for it. For most people, the word “governance” brings to mind something official, perhaps in Washington or Moscow or London or Brussels, attempting to manage the world.

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