Today, Bitcoin Classic released code that could double the block size. The concept is crucial, the timing is interesting, the repercussions massive.
At CCN.com, we have covered block size conversations and opinions. Bitfury’s Vavilov has an opinion. Dash has addressed the limitations. But now the debate is in full swing and the intensity is increasing.
After Mike Hearn’s recent departure, the discourse in the community was mostly centered around the question of “What does it mean?” Of course not to imply that today’s release is at all correlated with Hern’s exit, but at least now we know what the next hurdle will be in the community.
The release of today’s code, if adopted, would raise the maximum block size from 1 MB to 2 MB, a sizable increase. Today’s release comes on the heels of last week’s second beta version and was not totally unexpected. With most things, it’s never real until it’s real.
The main controversy around the release is centered around two opposing viewpoints. Those for the increased block size purport that it is necessary to keep transaction costs down and continue the growth of the system. Some influential thought leaders feel that this is simply what growth and progress look like. Those against the increase say that questions surrounding a ”
Those against the increase say that questions surrounding a “hard fork,” which can occur when non-upgraded nodes cannot validate blocks created by updated nodes that follow updated consensus rules, have not properly been addressed. The core development team has evidently decided to take a very clear direction, yet some miners, exchanges, and start-ups are pushing back. As one can imagine, conspiracy theories abound.
Although the code has been released it still must be adopted by over 75% of active miners in order for the protocol to follow the new path. Gavin Andresen has been quoted as saying that “[o]nce you get to 75% of miners, the remaining 25% come along very, very quickly.” He continued in his explanation of the momentum necessary by saying, “We’ve done these…not exactly this type of upgrade but we’ve done similar types of upgrades in the past, so we do know what’s likely to happen. And so once miners see that all the other miners are going in a certain direction, they have an incredibly strong incentive to follow.” Philosophically, it is important to point out that
Philosophically, it is important to point out that Satoshi Nakamoto may or may not have agreed depending on which camp you ask. Folks seem to pick and chose Nakamoto’s wording when tapping past essays for intent.
In a system that seemingly was first developed around the concept of eliminating the need for a “trusted third party,” it certainly seems like many third parties have disproportionate control over the system. If the issue is not the core dev team providing updates, then it becomes the insane power that Chinese miners have over the system pre-update (BW purportedly has 8% of the global mining power). It certainly does beg the question “Who is pulling the strings?”
Clearly Bitcoin is in a transformative stage. The underlying blockchain technology is set for global domination and many parties are interested (for a variety of reasons) in the original manifestation of the tech. It logically follows that the infrastructure would need to scale. Unfortunately, the logic is not that linear. Competing interests range from the fiduciary to the philosophical. However, I am willing to wager that if you follow the wealth being generated (or potentially generated) the answer will become quite clear. Until that discovery (and good luck picking that yarn ball apart) we wait and see how the community will react to today’s news.
Competing interests range from the fiduciary to the philosophical. However, I am willing to wager that if you follow the wealth being generated (or potentially generated) the answer will become quite clear. Until that discovery (and good luck picking that yarn ball apart) we wait and see how the community will react to today’s news.
Featured image from Shutterstock.