Editor's note: The previous headline was incorrectly titled to state miners were holding the event. Virgilio Lizardo, Head of International for Bitbank Group, has stated the event was held in his own personal capacity and not on behalf of his employer. Content further edited for clarity.
Support for Bitcoin Unlimited is gathering pace in China where a meeting took place in Shenzhen, Beijing and Hong Kong.
The Shenzhen meeting was attended by representatives from Bitbank, BW, Bitkan, ViaBTC and Sosobtc. CCN has learned that the Beijing meeting was attended by representatives from Bitmain, among others.
The topic of discussion was mainly tech related with a presentation on parallel validation by Peter Tschipper, a Bitcoin Unlimited developer. According to presentation slides shared with CCN, Tschipper stated:
“Rather than perform block validation in the main processing thread we do the validation in a separate thread. The main thread can continue to process incoming messages while at the same time allowing more than one block to validate at a time.”
He told attendees that they could process up to four blocks in parallel, potentially solving an attack vector where large blocks can be created that may take five or ten minutes to validate.
Andrea Suisani, a Bitcoin Unlimited developer, presented on Fast Block Propagation in Bitcoin Unlimited, specifically xThin blocks, a mechanism to compress bandwith data which, according to the presentation, has seen compression in the field “between 95% and 97%.” That is, a 1MB block is reduced to just a few KB.
Andrew Clifford gave a more general presentation on the approach of Bitcoin Unlimited towards on-chain scaling. He explained emergent consensus, stating:
“Emergent consensus on the best block size limit for the Bitcoin network will occur when the full node software follows 4 simple rules. Always track the chain-tip with most proof of work. Use max generate size when mining (MG). Use excessive block size for delaying acceptance (EB). Use acceptance depth for delay period (AD).”
By following these four rules, Clifford argued, the network can achieve “what central planners never can.”
Roger Ver, an early bitcoin adopter and vocal proponent of the digital currency, strongly argued against censorship, stating there should be free and open discussion allowing individuals to democratically express their views and opinions.
He further stated that Bitcoin has no official version and other development teams, such as Bitcoin Unlimited, should be encouraged as that allows for diversity of innovation, which is highly desirable for bitcoin’s growing industry.
The three meetings are held while the bitcoin ecosystem, and miners specifically, are asked to choose between two very different visions for bitcoin’s future. On the one hand stands segwit, which grows capacity to 1.7MB, but forces the ecosystem to use the Lightning Network which is still under development and remains untested in a live environment. Its main advantage is that resource requirements for bitcoin’s blockchain grow slowly as, proponents argue, bitcoin’s blockchain cannot scale.
Currently, segwit has attracted around 25 percent of the network’s hashrate, but some miners, especially ViaBTC, have strongly argued they will not support segwit.
The other alternative is Bitcoin Unlimited, a grassroots client developed by many bitcoin early adopters and strong supporters of the digital currency. The first version was launched before Bitcoin Classic with the aim of solving the question of maxblocksize for the long term by using the same mechanism bitcoin always used when increasing the soft limit prior to the 1MB cap being reached.
Bitcoin Unlimited has attracted much support this year with half a million dollars donated by an unknown entity and a fund of $1.2 million set up this month in support of alternative bitcoin development teams with funds contributed by many bitcoin miners and businesses.
A third alternative is a combination of the two or a more centralized maxblocksize increase to, perhaps, 2MB, plus segwit, in line with the Hong Kong agreement. Some developers, however, have stated that a maxblocksize increase has zero chance, with some arguing that retaining the 1MB limit is perfectly fine as Lightning can still be launched without segwit.
As such, it remains unclear how this stalemate will be resolved as bitcoin continues to operate under its most testing conditions ever, but it appears there are efforts underway to support independent development teams funded by the bitcoin community, directly incentivizing developers to operate in the interest of the entire ecosystem.