UASF BIP148 Scenarios and Game Theory

  1. All possibilities, up to and including the destruction of Bitcoin as we know it are on the table. One side may not be willing to do X, Y or Z for the sake of Bitcoin and be a gracious loser, but that’s not a safe assumption. We consider all possible moves, no matter how “reprehensible” they seem in terms of collateral damage.
  2. I’m not going to be able to cover all possible scenarios. In fact, I’m not even going to be able to think up, let alone address, even 10% of possible scenarios. Moves can get as creative as the people involved and that should never be underestimated.
  3. You should definitely not count on things happening the way I’m outlining. Knowing about a scenario generally will make the losing side take action to avoid it.
  4. I’ll examine scenarios from the simple to complex. Generally, the more complex the scenario, the more damaging it will be to Bitcoin.

Miners Capitulate

Users have Minimal Hash Rate

Miners Do Nothing

Miners Permanently Fork

Miners attack the Users’ Fork

Users attempt to defend against Miner Attacks

Users change Proof-of-Work

What this means for you


  1. Mining Hash Power — This one is one of the most important as hash power determines which side can be the aggressor if they so choose. Defending against all possible attacks is much harder than preparing a single attack.
  2. Coordination — The side that agrees on what to do instead of infighting will obviously do better.
  3. Development/Deployment Quality and Speed — As the situation changes, the side that can more quickly develop and deploy usable attacks and defenses will have an advantage. A slow moving side is obviously more vulnerable than a fast moving side. Oddly enough, the more centralized one side is, the faster they can move, which is a bit against the ethos of Bitcoin and naturally lead to authoritarian structures.
  4. User Sentiment — I put this one last because the others will influence this one more than the other way around. Still, having users that are willing to stick with your side will matter as they will provide the liquidity for your side’s coin.



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