Unless you've avoided the news and internet altogether, you can't fail to have heard about Bitcoin. Even if you don't fully understand it, you know that it's been making people very rich. Even Elon Musk is putting his money into crypto.
There's a lot to learn when it comes to crypto. It has a language all of its own. But if you're thinking about getting into crypto or even just learning a little more about it, you will come across the term Bitcoin Improvement Proposal (BIP). These proposals have historically been used to alter the core protocol of Bitcoin currencies.
They are also a massive source of information for the Bitcoin and blockchain community as a whole. One of the most telling examples of a Bitcoin Improvement Proposal affecting Bitcoin is through changes in the peer-to-peer layer.
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Developer Amir Taaki is the first person to produce a Bitcoin Improvement Proposal. In 2011 he released BIP 0001, describing what a BIP is. The purpose of the proposal was to move Bitcoin towards a more structured system. He also created Libbitcoin, which was the first implementation of the Bitcoin protocol for an alternative currency.
Drafts of the Bitcoin Improvement Proposals typically have several different authors. These concepts are then discussed within the Bitcoin mailing list and chats. The BIP is considered accepted when the developers complete the implementation of the code.
Changes proposed in these documents usually relate to transactions, network protocols, and validation. A community consensus is needed to accept any changes.
Proposals of this nature tend to look at general guidelines, supporting information, and design. As the name suggests, they are more about information than action. However, there is still a community consensus needed before adoption.
These propose chances in the BIP process. Again, they need community consensus. These BIPs are also applied outside of the Bitcoin protocol.
There are ways to keep tabs on Bitcoin Improvement Proposals. You can choose a platform such as GitHub, which is full of crypto information. Or you can choose to follow crypto news online through a specialist site such as Coindesk, Cointelegraph, and Bitcoin Exchange Guide.
Technically, Bitcoin Improvement Proposals are not binding. Developers get the final say. Each member of the Bitcoin community runs whichever software they choose. And because any particular country or institution doesn't control the currency, the entire process runs on the community's consensus. This community includes developers, investors, and miners, who decide if they want to accept the proposal.
There have been some disagreements in the past over the efficacy of Bitcoin Improvement Proposals as a long-term solution. However, for now, they are considered vital for the design and control of the Bitcoin system, which has no official processes to control it.