The Bitcoin community collectively held their breath last week as critical bugs were discovered and fixed. Now that the dust has settled, the community is now in deep discussion to ensure that history will not be repeated.
Bitcoin dodged a bullet last week, and the last few years, when a vulnerability that has existed for two years was finally found and patched before it was taken advantage of. The bug would have allowed attackers to print extra Bitcoins, causing chaos in the community. While the danger has passed, the hacking scare has but the community on alert, and the community is seeking a new standard for the code review process to prevent a similar mishap.
The checks and balances of Bitcoin coding has not always been the easiest because of its open source nature. Many developers around the world contribute to the code, and due to its open network, the organization can be muddled. Unfortunately, the open source nature can lead to imperfect codes to be merged into the network without the necessary due diligence, as the responsibility is spread and deferred among the community. At the same time, many would agree that the current Bitcoin review process is at its most meticulous point in history.
Nevertheless, Bitcoin showed a significant vulnerability, and members of the community are calling for a change for the better. One voice, a Bitcointalk forum member by the name of Theymos, has especially stirred the pot, with his post circling around the Bitcoin community.
"I don't know exactly how this can be prevented from happening again, but I do know that it would be a mistake for the community to brush off this bug just because it ended up being mostly harmless this time."
According to CoinDesk, the main concern for Bitcoin code review is the testing process. According to several Bitcoin developers, quality testing is necessary for secure development, but it is time-consuming and difficult. Not only does it require copious amounts of effort, but it also requires people in possession of a unique skillset.
So far, there are no official proposals for an update. One idea that has stood out is the proposal to create more Bitcoin code implementations that would prevent the whole network from crashing in the case of a catastrophic bug. Others are wishing for reviewing standard that is more preventative of faulty code. There is no telling where Bitcoin will go, but the decision of its path ultimately lies with the community, and that has always been its beauty.