This month, the Optech team met to review the progress that we made in 2018 and make plans for 2019. We started Optech earlier this year because we wanted to help companies adopt scaling technologies and raise the level of conversation around scaling Bitcoin. This year, we’ve:

  • Signed up 15 companies as members, including exchanges, custodians, wallets and merchants.
  • Held two workshops to discuss scaling techniques with engineers from member companies. Almost all attendees thought the workshops were ‘good’ or ‘excellent’, with an average score of 3.7/5 for the first and 4.2/5 for the second.
  • Produced 1 pilot and 27 regular newsletters. If all the newsletters to date were printed out on typical book pages, they’d be over 100 pages long (36,000 words at 350 words per page). Over 1,800 Bitcoin engineers and enthusiasts have subscribed to the newsletter.
  • Built a dashboard to track the state of the Bitcoin network and the adoption rate of scaling technologies. Marcin wrote about building the dashboard in an Optech blog post.
  • Started writing the first chapter of our Scaling Book.

We think that’s a good start, and we’re all proud of what Optech has done so far, but we want to do even more next year. Optech’s mission has not changed for 2019. We remain focused on helping companies adopt Bitcoin scaling technologies. Our high-level goals for next year are:

  1. Hold two workshops, maintaining the high standard of the previous two. Following our recent workshop in Europe, we’re provisionally planning a US East Coast workshop in the first half of 2019 and US West Coast in the second half of 2019.
  2. Make significant progress on the Scaling Book. We want to complete the fee bumping chapter and several more chapters, and have multiple contributors to future chapters.
  3. Publish six more field reports from engineers at member companies that describe their experience implementing scaling techniques. We all really enjoyed AJ Towns’s field report on UTXO consolidation in Newsletter #6, and would love to see more reports.
  4. Add at least six more members in 2019. There are still a few large exchanges that haven’t become members yet and we’d love to reach them.
  5. Publish a ‘compatibility matrix’ showing different wallets’ and exchanges’ support for scaling technologies. Mike has already been working on documenting wallet and exchange compatibility with RBF and we plan to publish that work on our website in early 2019.

There are a few other areas where we think we can help:

  • We want our newsletter to reach more people who don’t necessarily speak English, particularly in China, Japan and Korea. If you’re a subscriber and would like to help translating the newsletter, let us know!
  • As we move towards formalization and possible implementation of a Schnorr/Taproot softfork, we want to help our member companies and other Bitcoin organizations prepare for the change. We think we can help with soliciting industry input to the specification and building docs and tools to help early adopters.

Thank you to all of our sponsors, members and subscribers for your support this year! It really does mean a lot to us. As always, please contact us if you’d like to get involved, and let us know if you have any suggestions for how we can help companies adopt best practices and help Bitcoin scale.