No Blocksize Increase Needed for Years, Argues Bitcoin Core Dev

Journalist:
April 5, 2017

A Reddit discussion on increasing the bitcoin block size clarified why many are opposed to the bitcoin hard fork.

A poster asked Bitcoin Core developers to explain their vision on increasing the block size. The poster claimed to be “very strongly anti-Bitcoin Unlimited (BU) but mildly in favor of bigger bitcoin blocks. BU has been proposed as a solution to scaling the bitcoin network that will hard fork the bitcoin blockchain.

“Please, educate me on your view as to if the max block size should ever change, if not why not, if yes how,” the poster asked.

Block Size Change Needed

In response, a luke-jr, a bitcoin core developer, recognized the need to eventually increase the bitcoin block size. He said people are not running nodes since the full node percentage is far below the safe 85%. “If you ask people why they don’t run a node, the reason is often tied to the block size,” luke-jr wrote.

In addition, miners are skipping the validation task due to the amount of time it now takes to verify large blocks, he added.

Core developers have conceded all possible compromises for increasing the block size, luke-jr noted. Even Segregated Witness (a solution to address the bitcoin network scalability challenge that has garnered support from many bitcoin users), is being proposed with a block size increase to as much as 3 MB, luke-jr noted.

Urgency Not Needed

Luke-jr does not think an increase in the block size is needed at the present time. A 1 MB block size is sufficient for the near term. When that size no longer suffices, the Lightning protocol (a system that allows faster transactions by doing them off of the network chain) will likely be in production, improving blockchain efficiency. It could reduce 1 MB block usage to around 10,000.

Luke-jr conceded that a block size increase will eventually be needed, but this is several years if not decades away. The scalability problems could resolve themselves by that time.

The decision to support a hard fork, for its part, is one that the community makes, luke-jr noted, and not a niche group, be it miners, developers or anyone else. The majority of the user community has rejected hard fork proposals.

The developer further noted that he himself proposed a minimal block size increase in seven years, only to meet “significant opposition.”

Also read: The first end-to-end bitcoin micropayment test on Lightning Network is successful

No To A Hard Fork

While the Bitcoin Core team has invested significant time in research and development in a future hard fork, the solutions at the present time are unsafe.

In response to luke-r, one Reddit poster noted that they don’t run nodes on account of the hassle it requires, and that 300 KB blocks or a 1 MB block won’t change this. The greater factor in falling node count is the emergence of usable thin clients such as Electrum and MyCelium.

Another poster noted that block size is not the reason people don’t run nodes; it is the lack of incentive for doing so.

Still, another poster pointed out that incentives do exist when making regular transactions, but they were unsure that increasing the block size to as much as 5 MB would increase the node count.

Featured image from Shutterstock.

Last modified (UTC): April 5, 2017 18:13

Lester Coleman

Lester Coleman is a media relations consultant for the payments and automated retailing industries.