It appears that the structure underlying the fastest growing digital currency, Bitcoin, has reached a crossroads with support increasing for Bitcoin Unlimited (BU).
Blockchain, the distributed ledger which verifies bitcoin transactions, is experiencing a backlog of transactions waiting to be verified. In February, it was reported that around 900,000 Bitcoins, amounting to around a billion dollars at the time, were stuck, waiting to move, due to limited transaction capacity.
However, while that number went down to around 300,000 Bitcoins, that number went back up to nearly 900,000 again.
Now, though, the Bitcoin community is turning its attention to BU as a potential solution that could solve the backlog issues.
In a report from Bloomberg, if the proposed idea fails, Bitcoin could potentially face a hard fork, effectively splitting the currency into two.
In a recent report from CCN, BU reached around 40 percent in support over a 24-hour period earlier this week, which is currently its highest ever. Miners such as Antpool, Bitcoin’s biggest mining pool, have switched to BU.
Wu Jihan, founder of Antpool, which has around 14 percent of the network’s hardware share, said in an interview:
We will switch our entire pool to Bitcoin Unlimited. We can’t tell how the hard fork will play out. We will only know by the time we get there.
Roger Ver, an early Bitcoin supporter and advocate of BU, is said to have attracted around three percent of global miners, convincing them to back Bitcoin Unlimited. According to Bloomberg, Ver needs to get 60 to 70 percent of miners on board to activate BU, with Ver claiming that he is nearly halfway to achieving the goal.
BU is a software upgrade to blockchain. During the early days of blockchain, developers had imposed a cap on how much data the technology could process. And yet, while this slowed the network down, it was believed to be a failsafe measure to ensure that criminals didn’t attack the system.
Now, though, many supporters of blockchain claim that the blockchain is so robust that it doesn’t require a capped limited. Coinbase, Bitpay, Blockchain.info and Bitgo are just a few businesses that have advocated for bigger blocks in general, complaining about delays with the current setup.
Yet, there are critics of the new software too.
Peter Todd, a key coding contributor to Bitcoin, is reported as saying that by removing the data cap it could potentially leave the currency vulnerable to governments and global banks.
Bloomberg reports Todd as saying:
Bitcoin Unlimited is simply irredeemably broken. Large miners have every reason to vote the size up to push their competition out of business.
Ver states, though, that it’s worth taking the risk of BU.
If bitcoin is more expensive or slower than traditional financial systems, people aren’t going to use it.
Featured image from Shutterstock.