Still, several core developers of the technology—who have taken over maintenance and growth of the technology from mysterious creator Satoshi Nakamoto—have come out against the change, and online discussions seem to indicate an ideological split in the community.
Those core developers against the block size increase either did not respond to request for comment from CNBC or denied via a representative.
But Adam Back, who developed one of the key algorithms behind bitcoin and still works with core developers, said the complaints about XT are manyfold, including worries that a 75 percent activation vote is too low, and that some of the other changes to the program are not sufficiently secure.
Back said the community is actively working on finding solutions (with developer workshops scheduled) to the block size problem, and that jumping ahead of the normal review system is "a little puzzling" and "kind of disappointing."
One major expert in the community wrote in a Reddit post that XT "represents a somewhat reckless approach, which in the name of advancement shatters existing structures, fragments the community and spins the ecosystem into chaos."
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Hearn, however, told CNBC he thinks that assessment is "completely wrong," and that the XT approach has been debated for month with every objection considered. After all, the development of the potentially world-changing Bitcoin technology has been largely developed without much structure, he said.
"You can't shatter something that doesn't exist. Unfortunately a whole lot of people in the bitcoin community who aren't [closely] involved haven't fully realized or accepted how ad-hoc the Bitcoin Core project truly is," Hearn said, adding that "underlying contradictions and inability to make decisions" are actually the major problems that XT seeks to address.
Hearn's desire to alter the decision-making process behind bitcoin would see him and XT co-developer Gavin Andresen jointly managing the technology, rather than a group of developers. Back acknowledged that the emergence of XT partially stems from resentment about other developers' ideas being shot down, but he said he believed a distributed power structure works best.
"It's intentionally a decentralized process. People are worried that with $4 billion on the line someone could be blackmailed or could intentionally insert a bug," Back said. "They didn't think about the risks of being the sole maintainer of $4 billion of other people's money.... They're not thinking ahead far enough about the implications for all of this." (The total value of all existing Bitcoins was about $4 billion at the beginning of August; it's closer to $3.4 billion now.)
As for concerns that his actions could spin the multibillion-dollar ecosystem into chaos, Hearn said he is in fact saving the technology.
"[Andresen] and myself have said since the start that Bitcoin is a risky experiment. I'm sure everyone who invested knew that," Hearn wrote. "But if they invested, they presumably invested in the hope that Bitcoin would take off and become really mainstream. Right now, the only way to get there is via Bitcoin XT. So they should consider helping us out to ensure the outcome they would like."
Investor Roger Ver—so-called "Bitcoin Jesus"—is one of several prominent voices in the community to voice his approval of the XT project.
Additionally, a statement from all of the Chinese mining pools—which account for much of the power in the network—came out in favor of a block size increase. Still, Hearn could not say how he thought the community would swing, but underscored his contention that a vote for the core software could stymie future growth.
"Well, Bitcoin will still exist no matter what happens. But obviously if there's no chance of growth and the community decides to follow the Bitcoin Core developers (without even knowing who exactly is in that group), then a whole lot of other developers and entrepreneurs will leave," Hearn said. "Because you can't build a successful business on an infrastructure with no chances of growth."