Mike Hearn. All about cryptocurrency - BitcoinWiki
Mike Hearn. All about cryptocurrency - BitcoinWiki
Mike Hearn Bitcoin Xt CryptoCoins Info Club
reddit - Three years ago today Mike Hearn published an ...
Mike Hearn: A Bitcoin Believer’s Crisis of Faith - The ...
Mempool size limiting - Mike Hearn - Medium
I recently recounted the history of the block size controversy for someone and thought I'd repost it here
Bitcoin development was initially led by an anonymous figure named Satoshi Nakamoto who created the project "Bitcoin: a Peer-to-peer Electronic Cash System" The project mostly languished in obscurity until in late 2010 it was revealed that Bitcoin was being used to evade the ban on Wikileaks contributions. (A good summary of Bitcoin's early history can be found here.) Satoshi was opposed to Bitcoin being used for something as controversial as funding Wikileaks, and in one of his last messages, wrote "It would have been nice to get this attention in any other context. WikiLeaks has kicked the hornet's nest, and the swarm is headed towards us." (link). Satoshi vanished shortly thereafter. When Satoshi disappeared, he left the project effectively in the control of Gavin Andresen, one of the early contributors to the project. Gavin has been characterized as something of a naive academic. It wasn't long before Gavin had been approached by the CIA and agreed to visit and do a presentation. So we know that Bitcoin was on the CIA's radar by 2011. Bitcoin-as-introduced had an Achilles heel. To prevent a specific kind of denial-of-service attack, Satoshi had added a "block size limit" to prevent flooding attacks. Satoshi's plan was to raise the limit as usage increased. Satoshi and the early Bitcoiners such as myself did not envision that the limit might itself be a vulnerability. A near-complete history of the block size limit controversy is here. I'll attempt to summarize my experience with some references. Now it's almost 2020, and by now we've all become much more attuned to the scope of what three-letter-agencies have been doing to manipulate social media platforms. But in 2012 that was tinfoil-hat stuff across most of the internet. In 2012, the Bitcoin subreddit was one of the key places people went for discussion about what was happening in Bitcoin. That, and the bitcointalk forum. The history of what happened has been well documented with sources in places like here and here. The TLDR is
"Theymos" gains control of bitcoin and bitcointalk
Theymos receives a 6000 BTC donation (worth in the low millions of dollars at the time) to develop new forum software. No software is developed.
a company is created, "Blockstream" whose mission depends on keeping Bitcoin's block size limit in place. Blockstream ostensibly plans to sell alternatives to using the Bitcoin blockchain when the blockchain becomes unusable due to congestion. Strangely, those alternatives all look suspiciously like "banking."
(2014) Trolling on social media pivots from "anti-Bitcoin" to "anti-raising-the-block-size-limit". Obstruction to raising the limit suddenly a serious conflict within Bitcoin Core development.
(2015) MIT Media Labs' Digital Currency Initiative hires Gavin Andresen and Wladimir van der Laan. Gavin and Wladimir are the two Core developers who have final authority over the Bitcoin Core software.
(2015) Gavin Andresen and Mike Hearn become the leaders of a counter-Blockstream movement called Bitcoin XT. XT was a new Bitcoin client that would cause the block size to be raised if enough people used it.
(2015) Theymos famously begins banning everyone from Bitcoin who supports Bitcoin XT, or who speaks out in favor of raising the block size, or questions the moderation policy, etc. This temporary measure continues to this day.
(2015) Banned OG Bitcoiners try to raise awareness by creating an uncensored subreddit btc to expose the apparent takeover of the Bitcoin project by Blockstream
(2017) a compromise (bait-and-switch) is suddenly proposed from nowhere and suddenly gains widespread support: Segwit2X. This will raise the block size limit by 2X, but only after Segwit is activated. Segwit activates, but support for the 2X block size limit increase quickly evaporates.
Throughout all of this, Blockstream steadfastly argued that it didn't control the Bitcoin Core software. Blockstream pointed to Chaincode Labs who funded several key bitcoin developers and the MIT Media Labs "Digital Currency Initiative" who funded Gavin, Cory, and Wladimir. Gavin and Wladimir in particular had the authority to merge changes into the Bitcoin Core software and as such effectively could decide what did and did not go into the software. As an ostensibly academic organization, Gavin and Wladimir etc could act with intellectual honesty and without coercion. Except Gavin left the Digital Currency Initiative in 2017, saying that while he wasn't pressured to quit, he "didn't want to feel obligated to any person or organization." Fast forward to 2019, and we learn the fascinating news that the MIT Media Labs were funded in part by none other than Jeffrey Epstein, who it turns out just so happened to be a staunch advocate of the Blockstream approach. So really, Bitcoin development was corralled: Blockstream was paying a bunch of devs, and Blockstream-Friendly MIT Media Labs were paying the others. If you're still reading this, you probably wonder what it is about the Blockstream strategy that is so "bad." Aren't they just proposing a different way to solve Bitcoin's problems? The original idea for Bitcoin was a "peer to peer cash system" - - the idea being that if Alice wants to buy something from Bob, she can just give him some tokens - - just like cash. The new vision of bitcoin promoted by Blockstream and Core is "store of value". Under this model, you buy Bitcoins like you might speculate on gold - you buy some and you hold it. Later, if you want to purchase something, you sell your Bitcoins for some other payment method (or use an IOU against a deposit, just like a bank), and use that for purchases. It should be apparent after a moment of thought that the original concept (Alice hands Bob some cash which Bob can then spend how he likes) is vastly more disruptive than the model in which Alice buys Bitcoin on a government-regulated exchange, holds them hoping they'll appreciate in value, and then sells them for Euros or dollars. In model one, the currency is essentially outside the domain of gatekeepers, and could completely disintermediate the entire existing financial system just like Napster for money. In model two, Bitcoin is no more disruptive than shares of a gold fund.
Hello again. It's been a while. People have been emailing me about once a week or so for the last year to ask if I'm coming back to Bitcoin now that Bitcoin Cash exists. And a couple of weeks ago I was summoned on a thread called "Ask Mike Hearn Anything", but that was nothing to do with me and I was on holiday in Japan at the time. So I figured I should just answer all the different questions and answers in one place rather than keep doing it individually over email. Firstly, thanks for the kind words on this sub. I don't take part anymore but I still visit occasionally to see what people are talking about, and the people posting nice messages is a pleasant change from three years ago. Secondly, who am I? Some new Bitcoiners might not know. I am Satoshi. Just kidding. I'm not Satoshi. I was a Bitcoin developer for about five years, from 2010-2015. I was also one of the first Bitcoin users, sending my first coins in April 2009 (to SN), about 4 months after the genesis block. I worked on various things:
My main effort was an implementation of a Java library called bitcoinj. This was the engine used in the first p2p mobile wallet ("Bitcoin Wallet for Android"), and the first p2p desktop wallet that was faster to run than Bitcoin [Core] itself (MultiBit). These together were responsible for around 2.5 million user installs at a time when downloading the full block chain was becoming too slow for normal users to tolerate and the only alternative was a "bitbank" or cloud-hosted wallet. It was used in the first trustless gambling site (SatoshiDice), over 100 products and projects, and many academic research papers.
With Gavin Andresen and others I designed some upgrades to the Bitcoin protocol like Bloom filtering and BIP70.
With Matt Corrallo I implemented and demonstrated the first version of (micro)payment channels. I put together a demo of a file server that charged micropayments using a GUI called Payfile (mentioned in New Scientist here). I used to have a video of this but unfortunately it no longer seems to be on YouTube. Payment channels went on to be used in the design of the Lightning Network.
You can see a trend here - I was always interested in developing peer to peer decentralised applications that used Bitcoin. But what I'm best known for is my role in the block size debate/civil war, documented by Nathaniel Popper in the New York Times. I spent most of 2015 writing extensively about why various proposals from the small-block/Blockstream faction weren't going to work (e.g. on replace by fee, lightning network, what would occur if no hard fork happened, soft forks, scaling conferences etc). After Blockstream successfully took over Bitcoin Core and expelled anyone who opposed them, Gavin and I forked Bitcoin Core to create Bitcoin XT, the first alternative node implementation to gain any serious usage. The creation of XT led to the imposition of censorship across all Bitcoin discussion forums and news outlets, resulted in the creation of this sub, and Core supporters paid a botnet operator to force XT nodes offline with DDoS attacks. They also convinced the miners and wider community to do nothing for years, resulting in the eventual overload of the main network. I left the project at the start of 2016, documenting my reasons and what I expected to happen in my final essay on Bitcoin in which I said I considered it a failed experiment. Along with the article in the New York Times this pierced the censorship, made the wider world aware of what was going on, and thus my last gift to the community was a 20% drop in price (it soon recovered).
The last two years
Left Bitcoin ... but not decentralisation. After all that went down I started a new project called Corda. You can think of Corda as Bitcoin++, but modified for industrial use cases where a decentralised p2p database is more immediately useful than a new coin. Corda incorporates many ideas I had back when I was working on Bitcoin but couldn't implement due to lack of time, resources, because of ideological wars or because they were too technically radical for the community. So even though it's doesn't provide a new cryptocurrency out of the box, it might be interesting for the Bitcoin Cash community to study anyway. By resigning myself to Bitcoin's fate and joining R3 I could go back to the drawing board and design with a lot more freedom, creating something inspired by Bitcoin's protocol but incorporating all the experience we gained writing Bitcoin apps over the years. The most common question I'm asked is whether I'd come back and work on Bitcoin again. The obvious followup question is - come back and work on what? If you want to see some of the ideas I'd have been exploring if things had worked out differently, go read the Corda tech white paper. Here's a few of the things it might be worth asking about:
Corda's data model is a UTXO ledger, like Bitcoin. Outputs in Corda (called "states") can be arbitrary data structures instead of just coin amounts, so you don't need hacks like coloured coins anymore. You can track arbitrary fungible assets, but you can also model things like the state of a loan, deal, purchase order, crate of cargo etc.
Transactions are structured as Merkle trees.
Corda has a compound key format that can represent more flexible conditions than CHECKMULTISIG can.
Smart contracts are stateless predicates like in Bitcoin, but you can loop like in Ethereum. Unlike Bitcoin and Ethereum we do not invent our own VM or languages.
Transactions can have files attached to them. Smart contracts in Corda are stored in attachments and referenced by hash, so large programs aren't duplicated inside every transaction.
The P2P network is encrypted.
Back in 2014 I wrote that Bitcoin needed a store and forward network, to make app dev easier, and to improve privacy. Corda doesn't have a store and forward network - Corda is a store and forward network.
It has a "flow framework" that makes structured back-and-forth conversations very easy to program. This makes protocols like payment channelss a lot quicker and easier to implement, and would have made Lighthouse much more straightforward. A big part of my goal with Corda was to simplify the act of building complicated decentralised applications, based on those Bitcoin experiences. Lighthouse took about 8 months of full time work to build, but it's pretty spartan anyway. That's because Bitcoin offers almost nothing to developers who want to build P2P apps that go beyond simple payments. Corda does.
The flow framework lets you do hard things quickly. For example, we took part in a competition called Project Ubin, the goal of which was to develop something vaguely analogous in complexity to the Lightning Network or original Ripple (decentralised net-out of debts). But we had about six weeks and one developer. We successfully did that in the time allowed. Compare that to dev time for the Lightning Network.
Corda scales a lot better than Bitcoin, even though Bitcoin could have scaled to the levels needed for large payment networks with enough work and time. It has something similar to what Ethereum calls "sharding". This is possible partly because Corda doesn't use proof of work.
It has a mechanism for signalling the equivalent of hard forks.
It provides much better privacy. Whilst it supports techniques like address randomisation, it also doesn't use global broadcast and we are working on encrypting the entire ledger using Intel SGX, such that no human has access to the raw unencrypted data and such that it's transparent to application developers (i.e. no need to design custom zero knowledge proofs)
Newbs might not know this, but bitcoin recently came out of an intense internal drama. Between July 2015 and August 2017 bitcoin was attacked by external forces who were hoping to destroy the very properties that made bitcoin valuable in the first place. This culminated in the creation of segwit and the UASF (user activated soft fork) movement. The UASF was successful, segwit was added to bitcoin and with that the anti-decentralization side left bitcoin altogether and created their own altcoin called bcash. Bitcoin's price was $2500, soon after segwit was activated the price doubled to $5000 and continued rising until a top of $20000 before correcting to where we are today. During this drama, I took time away from writing open source code to help educate and argue on reddit, twitter and other social media. I came up with a reading list for quickly copypasting things. It may be interesting today for newbs or anyone who wants a history lesson on what exactly happened during those two years when bitcoin's very existence as a decentralized low-trust currency was questioned. Now the fight has essentially been won, I try not to comment on reddit that much anymore. There's nothing left to do except wait for Lightning and similar tech to become mature (or better yet, help code it and test it) In this thread you can learn about block sizes, latency, decentralization, segwit, ASICBOOST, lightning network and all the other issues that were debated endlessly for over two years. So when someone tries to get you to invest in bcash, remind them of the time they supported Bitcoin Unlimited. For more threads like this see UASF
Exposed: How Bankers are trying to centralize and highjack Bitcoin by buying "supporters" and promoters (like OpenBazaar team) for the B2X (S2X/NYA) attack on Bitcoin.
*OpenBazaarwascrossed-outaftertheirS2Xsupportretraction,seeeditatbottom. These guys have deep pockets, but as you will see below, they are funded by even deeper pockets. We can't leave this to chance or "the markets to decide" when there is such a malicious intent to manipulate the markets by those powerful players. So that's why all the people saying: "Don't worry, S2X won't happen" or "S2X is DOA" need to stop, we are at a 'make-or-break' moment for Bitcoin. It's very dumb to underestimate them. If you don't know yet who those malicious players are, read below:
We need to keep exposing them everywhere. Using Garzik as a pawn now, after they failed when they bought Hearn and Andresen (Here are the corrupted former 'good guys'), they are using the old and effective 'Problem-Reaction-Solution' combined with the 'Divide & Conquer' strategies to try to hijack Bitcoin. Well, effective before the current social media era, in which hidden motives can be brought to the light of day to be exposed.
Public pressure works when your profits depend on your reputation. The social media criticism worked for companies like Open Bazaar, which after weeks of calling them out on their S2X support, they finally withdrew it. Please contact the companies on these lists if you have any type of relationship with them, we have just a few days left until the fork:
Every bitcoiner should know about what DCG (Digital Currency Group) is, and call out publicly these crooks and the people they bribed that are working for the Corporations/Bankers against Bitcoin: Brian Armstrong, Winklevoss brothers, Bobby Lee, Peter Smith, Nic Cary, Haipo Yang, Rick Falkvinge, Jon Matonis, Wences Casares, Tony Gallippi, Mike Belshe, Ryan X Charles, Brian Hoffman/Sam Patterson/Chris Pacia (and all OB1 team)(see edit at the bottom), Gavin Andresen, Jeff Garzik, Mike Hearn, Roger Ver, Jihan Wu, John Mcaffe, Craig Wright, Barry Silbert, Larry Summers, Blythe Masters, Stephen Pair, Erik Voorhees, Vinny Lingham, Olivier Janssens, Jeremy Allaire, Peter Vessenes, Bruce Wagner, Brock Pierce, Aaron Voisine/Adam Traidman/Aaron Lasher (Breadwallet team), Glenn Hutchins (Federal Reserve Board of Directors), Bill Barhydt and Jiang Zhuoer. Once people are informed, they won't be fooled (like all the poor guys at btc) and will follow Bitcoin instead of the S2X or Bcash or any other centralized altcoin they come up with disguised as Bitcoin. DCG (Digital Currency Group) is the company spearheading the Segwit2x movement. The CEO of DCG is Barry Silbert, a former investment banker, and Mastercard is an investor in DCG.
Let's have a look at the people that control DCG: http://dcg.co/who-we-are/ Three board members are listed, and one Board "Advisor." Three of the four Members/advisors are particularly interesting: Glenn Hutchins: Former Advisor to President Clinton. Hutchins sits on the board of The Federal Reserve Bank of New York, where he was reelected as a Class B director for a three-year term ending December 31, 2018. Yes, you read that correctly, currently sitting board member of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Barry Silbert: CEO of DCG (Digital Currency Group, funded by Mastercard) who is also an Ex investment Banker at (Houlihan Lokey) And then there's the "Board Advisor," Lawrence H. Summers: "Chief Economist at the World Bank from 1991 to 1993. In 1993, Summers was appointed Undersecretary for International Affairs of the United States Department of the Treasury under the Clinton Administration. In 1995, he was promoted to Deputy Secretary of the Treasury under his long-time political mentor Robert Rubin. In 1999, he succeeded Rubin as Secretary of the Treasury. While working for the Clinton administration Summers played a leading role in the American response to the 1994 economic crisis in Mexico, the 1997 Asian financial crisis, and the Russian financial crisis. He was also influential in the American advised privatization of the economies of the post-Soviet states, and in the deregulation of the U.S financial system, including the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lawrence_Summers Blythe Masters: Former executive at JPMorgan Chase. She is currently the CEO of Digital Asset Holdings, a financial technology firm developing distributed ledger technology for wholesale financial services. Masters is widely credited as the creator of the credit default swap as a financial instrument. She is also Chairman of the Governing Board of the Linux Foundation’s open source Hyperledger Project, member of the International Advisory Board of Santander Group, and Advisory Board Member of the US Chamber of Digital Commerce. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blythe_Masters Seriously....The segwit2x deal is being pushed through by a Company funded by Mastercard, Whose CEO Barry Silbert is ex investment banker, and the Board Members of DCG include a currently sitting member of the Board of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and the Ex chief Economist for the World Bank and a guy responsible for the removal of Glass Steagall. It's fair to call these guys "bankers" right? So that's the Board of DCG. They're spearheading the Segwit2x movement. As far as who is responsible for development, my research led me to "Bitgo". I checked the "Money Map" https://i.redd.it/15auzwkq3hiz.png And sure enough, DCG is an investor in Bitgo. (BTW, make sure you take a good look take a look at the money map and bookmark it for reference later, ^ it is really helpful.) "Currently, development is being overseen by bitcoin security startup BitGo, with help from other developers including Bloq co-founder Jeff Garzik." https://www.coindesk.com/bitcoins-segwit2x-scaling-proposal-miners-offer-optimistic-outlook/ So Bitgo is overseeing development of Segwit2x with Jeff Garzick. Bitgo has a product/service that basically facilitates transactions and supposedly prevents double spending. It seems like their main selling point is that they insert themselves as middlemen to ensure Double spending doesn't happen, and if it does, they take the hit, of course for a fee, so it sounds sort of like the buyer protection paypal gives you: "Using the above multi-signature security model, BitGo can guarantee that transactions cannot be double spent. When BitGo co-signs a BitGo Instant transaction, BitGo takes on a financial obligation and issues a cryptographically signed guarantee on the transaction. The recipient of a BitGo Instant transaction can rest assured that in any event where the transaction is not ultimately confirmed in the blockchain, and loses money as a result, they can file a claim and will be compensated in full by BitGo." Source: https://www.bitgo.com/solutions So basically, they insert themselves as middlemen, guarantee your transaction gets confirmed and take a fee. What do we need this for though when we have a working blockchain that confirms payments in the next block already? 0-conf is safe when blocks aren't full and one confirmation should really be good enough for almost anyone on the most POW chain. So if we have a fully functional blockchain, there isn't much of a need for this service is there? They're selling protection against "The transaction not being confirmed in the Blockchain" but why wouldn't the transaction be getting confirmed in the blockchain? Every transaction should be getting confirmed, that's how Bitcoin works. So in what situation does "protection against the transaction not being confirmed in the blockchain" have value? Is it possible that the Central Bankers that control development of Segwit2x plan to restrict block size to benefit their business model just like our good friends over at Blockstream attempted to do, although unsuccessfully as they were not able to deliver a working L2 in time? It looks like Blockstream was an attempted corporate takeover to restrict block size and push people onto their L2, essentially stealing business away from miners. They seem to have failed, but now it almost seems like the Segwit2x might be a culmination of a very similar problem. Also worth noting these two things, pointed out by Adrian-x:
So segwit2x takes power away from core, but then gives it to guess who...Mastercard and central bankers. So, to recap:
DCG's Board of Directors and Advisors is almost entirely made up of Central Bankers including one currently sitting Member of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and another who was Chief Economist at the World Bank.
The CEO of the company spearheading the Segwit2x movement (Barry Silbert) is an ex investment banker at Houlihan Lokey. Also, Mastercard is an investor in the company DCG, which Barry Silbert is the CEO of.
The company overseeing development on Segwit2x, Bitgo, has a product/service that seems to only have utility if transacting on chain and using 0-Conf is inefficient or unreliable.
Segwit2x takes power over Bitcoin development from core, but then literally gives it to central bankers and Mastercard. If segwit2x goes through, BTC development will quite literally be controlled by central bankers and a currently serving member of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
Tipping / Giving Tuesdays - Today week we are raising donations for a food drive here in Barbados. Security handled by Bitt's deep cold storage multi signature solutions - First 1000 comments get free bitcoin!
TODAY WE WILL BE FOCUSED ON RAISING DONATIONS FOR A FOOD DRIVE HERE IN BARBADOS Bitt.com has gracefully assisted us in providing the deep cold storage multi signature wallet solution. We want to maintain complete openness with /bitcoin. All funds will be right there for perusal - spent funds will have scanned invoices and clear explanations. We think transparency is paramount and are taking strives to ensure the community feels that their pledges are actually going to the hungry. I have personally pledged 1.9 BTC - Bitt & Changetip have also agreed to donate towards the cause. We will be recording parts of the event so /bitcoin may share in what we have all helped to create. PLEDGE FOR THE FOOD DRIVE BY EITHER DONATING HERE: 3Jma5Nh2kLjpXmbQ2WWDVj8mMn3Kx8zaNh or via changetip - all tips will be sent across to that address. If you have another crypto currency which you wish to donate in please write it in the thread and we will PM you directly to assist you. ### PLEASE CONSIDER PASSING MY TIPS ON TO THE HUNGRY OR OTHER CHARITIES :D ###
Lighthouse is an amazing decentralized crowd funding system, developed by Mike Hearn and completely running on Bitcoin. Several great projects help developers and charities to reach their goals and there are many more worth of your support. Pledge by heading over to Lightlist
My draft for a new /r/btc FAQ explaining the split from /r/Bitcoin to new users
If /btc is going to actually compete with /Bitcoin, it needs to be just as friendly and informative to new users, especially given its position as the “non default” or “breakaway” sub. The current /btc sticky saying "Welcome to the Wiki" doesn't even have any content in it and I feel this is a bit of a wasted opportunity to create an informative resource that new users will see by default and everyone else can link to instead of retyping things over and over about the history and difference between the subs. Here's what I've written as a starting point. I've done my best to keep it as concise and relevant as possible but in all honesty it is a complicated issue and a short but effective explanation is basically impossible. I hope the community can expand/improve on it further. Quick bit about me I got into Bitcoin in October 2013, when /Bitcoin had around 40k subscribers if I remember correctly, so by now I've actually personally experienced a large portion of Bitcoin's history - including the events preceding and since the creation of this sub. I have been an active and popular poster on /Bitcoin for almost all of that time, until the split and my subsequent banning. With the recent censorship fiasco, I'm finding I have to reiterate the same points over and over again to explain to newer users what happened with the /Bitcoin vs /btc split, questions about hard forks, what is likely to happen in the future and so on. So I put a couple of hours into writing this post to save myself the trouble in future.
There is a TL:DR; at the bottom, but it is exactly that. If you skip straight to the TL:DR; then don’t expect sympathy when you post questions that have already been covered in the lengthy and detailed main post.
New to Bitcoin?
I am totally new to Bitcoin. What is it? How does it work? Can/should I mine any? Where can I buy some? How do I get more information? All of these questions are actually really well covered in the /Bitcoin FAQ. Check it out in a new tab here. Once you've got a bit of a handle on the technology as a whole, come back here for the rest of the story.
What's the difference between /btc and /Bitcoin? What happened to create two such strongly opposed communities? Why can't I discuss /btc in /Bitcoin? Historically, the /Bitcoin subreddit was the largest and most active forum for discussing Bitcoin. As Bitcoin grew close to a cap in the number of transactions it could process, known as the 1MB block size limit, the community had differing opinions on the best way to proceed. Note that this upcoming issue was anticipated well ahead of time, with Satoshi's chosen successor to lead the project Gavin Andresen posting about it in mid 2015. Originally, there was quite a broad spread of opinions - some people favoured raising the blocksize to various extents, some people favoured implementing a variety of second layer solutions to Bitcoin, probably most people thought both could be a good idea in one form or another. This topic was unbelievably popular at the time, taking up almost every spot on the front page of /Bitcoin for weeks on end. Unfortunately, the head moderator of /Bitcoin - theymos - felt strongly enough about the issue to use his influence to manipulate the debate. His support was for the proposal of existing software (called Bitcoin Core) NOT to raise the blocksize limit past 1MB and instead rely totally on second layer solutions - especially one called Segregated Witness (or SegWit). With some incredibly convoluted logic, he decided that any different implementations of Bitcoin that could potentially raise the limit were effectively equivalent to separate cryptocurrencies like Litecoin or Ethereum and thus the block size limit or implement other scaling solutions were off-topic and ban-worthy. At the time the most popular alternative was called Bitcoin XT and was supported by experienced developers Gavin Andresen and Mike Hearn, who have since bothleft Bitcoin Core development in frustration at their marginalisation. Theymos claimed that for Bitcoin XT or any other software implementation to be relevant to /Bitcoin required "consensus", which was never well defined, despite it being seemingly impossible for everyone to agree on the merits of a new project if no one was allowed to discuss it in the first place. Anyone who didn't toe the line of his vaguely defined moderation policy was temporarily or permanently banned. There was also manipulation of the community using the following tactics - which can still be seen today:
Default thread sorting changed to "controversial" in selected threads instead of "best" like nearly every other subreddit
Comment/upvote scores hidden by default (combined with the previous point this prevented theymos and other unpopular mods like StarMaged and BashCo from ending up at the bottom of every thread they posted in)
The implementation of a custom CSS sheet that disguises long threads of [removed] comments. This was especially effective at the time as the censorship was obvious since threads were becoming wastelands of hundreds of deleted comments, similar to other Reddit throw downs like GamerGate
This created enormous uproar among users, as even many of those in favour of Bitcoin Core thought it was authoritarian to actively suppress this crucial debate. theymos would receive hundreds of downvotes whenever he posted: for example here where he gets -749 for threatening to ban prominent Bitcoin business Coinbase from the subreddit. In an extraordinary turn of events, Theymos posted a thread which received only 26% upvotes in a sample size of thousands announcing that he did not care if even 90% of users disagreed with his policy, he would not change his opinion or his moderation policy to facilitate the discussion the community wanted to have. His suggested alternative was instead for those users, however many there were, to leave. Here are Theymos' exact words, as he describes how he intends to continue moderating Bitcoin according to his own personal rules rather than the demands of the vast majority of users, who according to him clearly don't have any "real arguments" or "any brains".
Do not violate our rules just because you disagree with them. This will get you banned from /Bitcoin , and evading this ban will get you (and maybe your IP) banned from Reddit entirely. If 90% of /Bitcoin users find these policies to be intolerable, then I want these 90% of /Bitcoin users to leave. Both /Bitcoin and these people will be happier for it. I do not want these people to make threads breaking the rules, demanding change, asking for upvotes, making personal attacks against moderators, etc. Without some real argument, you're not going to convince anyone with any brains -- you're just wasting your time and ours. The temporary rules against blocksize and moderation discussion are in part designed to encourage people who should leave /Bitcoin to actually do so so that /Bitcoin can get back to the business of discussing Bitcoin news in peace.
/btc was therefore born in an environment not of voluntary departure but of forced exile. This forced migration caused two very unfortunate occurrences:
It polarised the debate around Bitcoin scaling. Previously, there was a lot of civil discussion about compromise and people with suggestions from all along the spectrum were working to find the best solution. That was no longer possible when a moderation policy would actively suppress anyone with opinions too different from Theymos. Instead it forced everyone into a "with us or against us" situation, which is why the /btc subreddit has been pushed so far in favour of the idea of a network hard fork (discussed below).
It has distracted Bitcoin from its mission of becoming a useful, global, neutral currency into a war of information. New users often find /Bitcoin and assume it to be the authoritative source of information, only to later discover that a lot of important information or debate has been invisibly removed from their view.
Since then, like any entrenched conflict, things have degenerated somewhat on both sides to name calling and strawman arguments. However, /btc remains committed to permitting free and open debate on all topics and allowing user downvotes to manage any "trolling" (as /Bitcoin used to) instead of automatic shadow-banning or heavy-handed moderator comment deletion (as /Bitcoin does now). Many users in /Bitcoin deny that censorship exists at all (it is difficult to see when anyone pointing out the censorship has their comment automatically hidden by the automoderator) or justify it as necessary removal of "trolls", which at this point now includes thousands upon thousands of current and often long-standing Bitcoin users and community members. Ongoing censorship is still rampant, partially documented in this post by John Blocke For another detailed account of this historical sequence of events, see singularity87 s posts here and here. /btc has a public moderator log as demonstration of its commitment to transparency and the limited use of moderation. /Bitcoin does not. Why is so much of the discussion in /btc about the censorship in /Bitcoin? Isn't a better solution to create a better community rather than constantly complaining? There are two answers to this question.
Over time, as /btc grows, conversation will gradually start to incorporate more information about the Bitcoin ecosystem, technology, price etc. Users are encouraged to aid this process by submitting links to relevant articles and up/downvoting on the /new and /rising tab as appropriate. However, /btc was founded effectively as a refuge for confused and angry users banned from /Bitcoin and it still needs to serve that function so at least some discussion of the censorship will probably always persist (unless there is a sudden change of moderation policy in /Bitcoin).
The single largest issue in Bitcoin right now is the current cap on the number of transactions the network can process, known as the blocksize limit. Due to the censorship in /Bitcoin, open debate of the merits of different methods of addressing this problem is impossible. As a result, the censorship of /Bitcoin (historically the most active and important Bitcoin community forum) has become by proxy the single most important topic in Bitcoin, since only by returning to open discussion would there be any hope of reaching agreement on the solution to the block size limit itself. As a topic of such central importance, there is naturally going to be a lot of threads about this until a solution is found. This is simply how Bitcoin works, that at any one time there is one key issue under discussion for lengthy periods of time (previous examples of community "hot topics" include the demise of the original Bitcoin exchange Mt Gox, the rise to a 51% majority hash rate of mining pool GHash.io and the supposed "unveiling" of Bitcoin's anonymous creator Satoshi Nakamoto).
Bitcoin Network Hard Forks
What is a hard fork? What happens if Bitcoin hard forks? A network hard fork is when a new block of transactions is published under a new set of rules that only some of the network will accept. In this case, Bitcoin diverges from a single blockchain history of transactions to two separate blockchains of the current state of the network. With any luck, the economic incentive for all users to converge quickly brings everyone together on one side of the fork, but this is not guaranteed especially since there is not a lot of historical precedent for such an event. A hard fork is necessary to raise the block size limit above its 1MB cap. Why is /btc generally in favour of a hard fork and /Bitcoin generally against? According to a lot of users on /Bitcoin - a hard fork can be characterised as an “attack” on the network. The confusion and bad press surrounding a hard fork would likely damage Bitcoin’s price and/or reputation (especially in the short term). They point to the ongoing turmoil with Ethereum as an example of the dangers of a hard fork. Most of /Bitcoin sees the stance of /btc as actively reckless, that pushing for a hard fork creates the following problems:
The possibility of an irrevocable community divergence, as has happened in Ethereum (discussed below)
The chance of introducing new code bugs by forcing a network update without totally comprehensive software developer review
The possibility of reducing decentralisation in the network as higher hardware requirements puts greater strain on network nodes and miners
According to a lot of users on /btc - a hard fork is necessary despite these risks. Most of /btc sees the stance of /Bitcoin as passively reckless, that continuing to limit Bitcoin’s blocksize while remaining inactive creates the following problems:
Transaction fees are continuously rising as transactions compete for the limited space in each block
Confirmation times for any given transaction are also increasing, especially ones without a rapidly escalating fee attached
Fee and confirmation times is making BItcoin hostile to new users, who are confused by their difficulties with this “revolutionary” new technology
Restricting Bitcoin’s growth increases the likelihood it will be overtaken by another unrestricted cryptocurrency
Passively validating the stance of /Bitcoin to continue censoring the debate about this important issue
Bitcoiners are encouraged to examine all of the information and reach their own conclusion. However, it is important to remember that Bitcoin is anopen-source projectfounded on the ideal offree market competition (between any/all software projects, currencies, monetary policies, miners, ideas etc.). In one sense, /btc vs /Bitcoin is just another extension of this, although Bitcoiners are also encouraged to keep abreast of the top posts and links on both subreddits. Only those afraid of the truth need to cut off opposing information. What do Bitcoin developers, businesses, users, miners, nodes etc. think? Developers There are developers on both sides of the debate, although it is a common argument in /Bitcoin to claim that the majority supports Bitcoin Core. This is true in the sense that Bitcoin Core is the current default and has 421 listed code contributors but misleading because not only are many of those contributors authors of a single tiny change and nothing else but also many major figures like Gavin Andresen, Mike Hearn and Jeff Garzik have left the project while still being counted as historical contributors. Businesses including exchanges etc. A definite vote of confidence is not available from the vast majority of Bitcoin businesses, and wouldn't be binding in any case. The smart decision for most businesses is to support both chains in the event of a fork until the network resolves the issue (which may only be a day or two). Users Exact user sentiment is impossible to determine, especially given the censorship on /Bitcoin. Miners and Nodes Coin.dance hosts some excellent graphical representations of the current opinion on the network. Node Support Information Miner Support Information What do I do if the network hard forks?* Do we end up with two Bitcoins? Firstly, in the event of a hard fork there is no need to panic. All Bitcoins are copied to both chains in the case of a split, so any Bitcoins you have are safe. HOWEVER, in the event of a fork there will be some period of confusion where it is important to be very careful about how/why you spend your Bitcoins. Hopefully (and most likely) this would not last long - everyone in Bitcoin is motivated to converge into agreement for everyone's benefit as soon as possible - but it's impossible to say for sure. There isn't a lot of historical data about cryptocurrency hard forks, but one example is alternative cryptocurrency Ethereum that forked into two coins after the events of the DAO and currently exists as two separate chains, ETH (Ethereum) and ETC (Ethereum Classic). The Ethereum fork is not a good analogy for Bitcoin because its network difficulty target adjusts every single block, so a massive drop in hash rate does not significantly impede its functioning. Bitcoin’s difficult target adjusts only every 2100 blocks - which under usual circumstances takes two weeks but in the event of a hard fork could be a month or more for the smaller chain. It is almost inconceivable that a minority of miners would willingly spend millions of dollars over a month or more purely on principle to maintain a chain that was less secure and processed transactions far slower than the majority chain - even assuming the Bitcoins on this handicapped chain didn't suffer a market crash to close to worthless. Secondly, a hard fork is less likely to be a traumatic event than it is often portrayed in /Bitcoin:
The Bitcoin Core and /Bitcoin stated policy is to avoid a hard fork at all costs. So there is no risk of a hard fork on that side.
The Bitcoin XT/Classic/Unlimited and /btc side is prepared for a hard fork if necessary, but it will only come to pass if a clear majority of miners (and presumably users, although that's harder to determine) are already signalling that they would be onboard. There is no exact threshold value, but no miner is going to risk publishing a block larger than 1MB until they are very confident the network will follow them.
What Happens Now
How do I check on the current status of opinion? Coin.dance hosts some excellent graphical representations of the current opinion on the network. Node Support Information Miner Support Information Users are also welcome to engage in anecdotal speculation about community opinion based on their impression of the commentary and activity in /btc and /Bitcoin. Haven't past attempts to raise the blocksize failed? There is no time limit or statute of limitations on the number of attempts the community can make to increase the block size and scale Bitcoin. Almost any innovation in the history of mankind required several attempts to get working and this is no different. The initial attempt called Bitcoin XT never got enough support for a fork because key developer Mike Hearn left out of frustration at trying to talk around all the censorship and community blockading. The second major attempt called Bitcoin Classic gained massive community momentum until it was suddenly halted by the drastic implementation of censorship by Theymos described above. The most popular attempt at the moment is called Bitcoin Unlimited. /btc is neutral and welcoming to any and all projects that want to find a solution to scaling Bitcoin - either on-or off-chain. However, many users are suspicious of Bitcoin Core's approach that involves only SegWit, developed by a private corporation called Blockstream and that has already broken its previous promises in a document known as the Hong Kong Agreement to give the network a block size limit raise client along with Segregated Witness (only the latter was delivered) . What if the stalemate is irreconcilable and nothing ever happens? Increasing transaction fees and confirmation times are constantly increasing the pressure to find a scaling solution - leading some to believe that further adoption of Bitcoin Unlimited or a successor scaling client will eventually occur. Bitcoin Core's proposed addition of SegWit is struggling to gain significant support and as it is already the default client (and not censored in /Bitcoin) it is unlikely to suddenly grow any further. If the stalemate is truly irreconcilable, eventually users frustrated by the cost, time and difficulty of Bitcoin will begin migrating to alternative cryptocurrencies. This is obviously not a desirable outcome for long standing Bitcoin supporters and holders, but cannot be ignored as the inevitable free market resort if Bitcoin remains deadlocked for long enough.
Bitcoin is at its transaction capacity and needs to scale to onboard more users
The community was discussing different ways to do this until the biased head moderator of /BitcoinTheymos got involved
Theymos, started an authoritarian censorship rampage which culminated in telling 90% of /Bitcoin users to leave. /btc is where they went. Here is the thread where it all started. Note the 26% upvoted on the original post, the hundreds of upvotes of community outcry in the comments and the graveyard of [removed] posts further down the chain. Highly recommended reading in its entirety.
To this day, /Bitcoin bans all discussion of alternative scaling proposals and /btc
Bitcoin is about freedom, and can’t function effectively with either an artificially restricted transaction cap or a main community forum that is so heavily manipulated. This subreddit is the search for solutions to both problems as well as general Bitcoin discussion.
Debate continues in /btc, and generally doesn't continue in /Bitcoin - although posts referencing /btc or Bitcoin Unlimited regularly sneak past the moderators because it is such a crucial topic
Eventually one side or the other breaks, enough miners/nodes/users get on one side and Bitcoin starts scaling. This may or may not involve a hard fork.
If not, fees and average confirmation times continue to rise until users migrate en masse to an altcoin. This is not an imminent danger, as can be seen by the BTC marketcap dominance at its historical levels of 80+% but could change at any time
But what does it mean to be seriously competitive in that space? The existing payments solutions have huge deployed infrastructure and merchant adoption-- lets ignore that. What about capacity? Combined the major card networks are now doing something on the other of 5000 transactions per second on a year round average; and likely something on the order of 120,000 transactions per second on peak days. ...(long argument explaining your belief that Bitcoin shouldn't try to compete with the scale of existing payment solutions via on-chain solutions)...
Your statement ignores one of the key drivers for a large block hard fork: the desire to stick to the original vision for Bitcoin. As I explain in What Core should have said (for Adam Back and others), the original vision was on-chain scaling up to at least 3,000-4,000 tps:
When Satoshi announced Bitcoin in late 2008, he declared that even with the technology available at the time, the network would be capable of scaling up the size of its blocks to handle Visa's average throughput of 3,000 to 4,000 transactions per second, and that this would be done through fully validating nodes consolidating into a fewer number run by professionals with server-farms. In the two years that followed, he made several statements reaffirming that Bitcoin could handle thousands of transactions per second on the blockchain, and that the evolution into a network where only a small percentage of users are capable and willing to run a fully validating node was an acceptable means by which this could occur. Based on these statements by Satoshi, the commonly held belief among those who adopted Bitcoin, and created businesses around it, was that if traffic increased and blocks grew to 1 MB, the 1 MB limit would be raised. Evidence for this includes the text that appeared for several years on Bitcoin's unofficial Wiki page on scaling, which reiterated that Bitcoin nodes could in fact handle thousands of transactions per second if the transaction demand presented itself.
My insistence on following through with the original vision absent a consensus within the community to adopt a new vision is motivated by a belief that:
pursuing a new vision without consensus will tear the community apart, and as we can witness right now, that is exactly what happening. This makes Bitcoin less reliable and less likely to succeed.
if we change one aspect of the original vision without getting consensus, that creates a precedent that makes it much easier for any aspect of the original vision, including the 21 million coin cap, and the reliance on proof of work instead of trusted functionaries, to be changed. This makes Bitcoin less reliable and less likely to succeed.
So it really doesn't matter to me right now whether you are right or wrong about whether Bitcoin should forego the original scaling plan of on-chain capacity to match the throughput capacity of modern payment system solutions. A more fundamental issue is whether Bitcoin adheres to the principle of no changes to its core properties, which I take to extend to its original roadmap for scaling, without consensus. What you are promoting is fundamentally different than what the original adopters of Bitcoin signed up for. Just as one quick example, you give the following as an argument for why Bitcoin should not attempt to match the capacity of existing payment solutions via on-chain transactions:
The decentralized Bitcoin blockchain is globally shared broadcast medium-- probably the most insanely inefficient mode of communication ever devised by man. Yet, considering that, it has some impressive capacity. But relative to highly efficient non-decentralized networks, not so much. The issue is that in the basic Bitcoin system every node takes on the whole load of the system, that is how it achieves its monetary sovereignty, censorship resistance, trust cost minimization, etc.
Which directly contradicts what the creator of Bitcoin says:
The current system where every user is a network node is not the intended configuration for large scale. That would be like every Usenet user runs their own NNTP server. The design supports letting users just be users.
It would be nice to keep the [block chain] files small as long as we can. The eventual solution will be to not care how big it gets. But for now, while it’s still small, it’s nice to keep it small so new users can get going faster. When I eventually implement client-only mode, that won’t matter much anymore. (note to readers, "client-only mode" refers to SPV mode)
August, 2010 and in an email to Mike Hearn:
The existing Visa credit card network processes about 15 million Internet purchases per day worldwide. Bitcoin can already scale much larger than that with existing hardware for a fraction of the cost. It never really hits a scale ceiling.
The latter we could ignore, as it was a private email, and thus could not have informed the original vision and understanding of Bitcoin's scaling roadmap, but the first two are among several public statements Satoshi made on the issue of scale, that set the original community's expectations, and they do not agree with your assessment of Bitcoin's fundamental limits, the trade-offs that Bitcoin ought to make, or what "the basic Bitcoin system" is. I am not suggesting that you should not pursue your vision for Bitcoin if you believe it to be better than what was promoted from late 2008 to at least mid 2010. However, the current way that Core is promoting it is, IMHO, harmful to the unity of the community, and in conflict with Bitcoin's most fundamental principle of consensus driven change. I have suggested one of many possible alternate ways that Core could push for this change in vision, in "What Core should have said (for Adam Back and others)":
Over the course of the next several weeks, we will publish a series of posts on the Bitcoin.org blog, to explain why the majority of Core developers believe in pursuing a prudent alternate scaling plan. We will also organize a Vote by Stake, to allow holders of the bitcoin currency to express their preference on the matter. We are planning to hold this vote over a course of three weeks this year, from November 1 to November 21. We believe that if over 80 percent of the Stakeholders vote for this new plan, then we have achieved a broad enough consensus to pursue this new vision for Bitcoin that is described in this document.
Prior to such a vote being held, you could present all of your arguments to the community, and try to convince them to adopt your roadmap. But ultimately, it would be up to the community whether they stick with an original plan that you consider to be flawed, or adopt the one you are offering and that you believe to be superior.
Shutting down or restricting the uses of bank accounts, thereby forbidding clients to buy crypto, is a blatant affront to the rights of civil liberty, manifested, but not limited to, in the rights to private property and free speech (562 points, 262 comments)
I believe Bitcoin Core/Blockstream is now attempting to infiltrate Bitcoin Cash in the same manner that they did with Bitcoin Segwit. They are suddenly befriending Bitcoin Cash. Only in that way can they destroy from within. Do not be fooled. (401 points, 166 comments)
You have $100 worth of BTC. So you purchase an item for $66, but have to pay a $17 fee. Now you have $17 worth of Bitcoin left, but it costs $17 more to move it. So $66 item effectively cost you $100. #Thanks BlockStream (1420 points, 433 comments)
2025 points: kairepaire's comment in As of today, Steam will no longer support Bitcoin as a payment method
2018 points: vbuterin's comment in "So no worries, Ethereum's long term value is still ~0." -Greg Maxwell, CTO of Blockstream and opponent of allowing Bitcoin to scale as Satoshi had planned.
1215 points: vbuterin's comment in Vitalik Buterin tried to develop Ethereum on top of Bitcoin, but was stalled because the developers made it hard to build on top of Bitcoin. Vitalik only then built Ethereum as a separate currency
1211 points: LiamGaughan's comment in As of today, Steam will no longer support Bitcoin as a payment method
Since this is a pressing and prevalent issue, I thought maybe condensing the essential arguments into one mega thread is better than rehashing everything in new threads all the time. I chose a FAQ format for this so a certain statement can be answered. I don't want to re-post everything here so where appropriate I'm just going to use links. Disclaimer: This is biased towards big blocks (BIP 101 in particular) but still tries to mention the risks, worries and fears. I think this is fair because all other major bitcoin discussion places severely censor and discourage big block discussion.
What is the block size limit?
The block size limit was introduced by Satoshi back in 2010-07-15 as an anti-DoS measure (though this was not stated in the commit message, more info here). Ever since, it has never been touched because historically there was no need and raising the block size limit requires a hard fork. The block size directly limits the number of transactions in a block. Therefore, the capacity of Bitcoin is directly limited by the block size limit.
Why does a raise require a hard fork?
Because larger blocks are seen as invalid by old nodes, a block size increase would fork these nodes off the network. Therefore it is a hard fork. However, it is possible to downsize the block limit with a soft fork since smaller blocks would still be seen as valid from old nodes. It is considerably easier to roll out a soft fork. Therefore, it makes sense to roll out a more ambitious hard fork limit and downsize as needed with soft forks if problems arise.
What is the deal with soft and hard forks anyways?
It is the Chicken and Egg problem applied to future growth of Bitcoin. If companies do not see how Bitcoin can scale long term, they don't invest which in turn slows down adoption and development. See here and here.
Does an increase in block size limit mean that blocks immediately get larger to the point of the new block size limit?
No, blocks are as large as there is demand for transactions on the network. But one can assume that if the limit is lifted, more users and businesses will want to use the blockchain. This means that blocks will get bigger, but they will not automatically jump to the size of the block size limit. Increased usage of the blockchain also means increased adoption, investment and also price appreciation.
Which are the block size increase proposals?
See here. It should be noted that BIP 101 is the only proposal which has been implemented and is ready to go.
What is the long term vision of BIP 101?
BIP 101 tries to be as close to hardware limitations regarding bandwidth as possible so that nodes can continue running at normal home-user grade internet connections to keep the decentralized aspect of Bitcoin alive. It is believed that it is hard to increase the block size limit, so a long term increase is beneficial to planning and investment in the Bitcoin network. Go to this article for further reading and understand what is meant by "designing for success". BIP 101 vs actual transaction growth visualized: http://imgur.com/QoTEOO2 Note that the actual growth in BIP 101 is piece-wise linear and does not grow in steps as suggested in the picture.
What is up with the moderation and censorship on bitcoin.org, bitcointalk.org and /bitcoin?
Proponents of a more conservative approach fear that a block size increase proposal that does not have "developeexpert consensus" should not be implemented via a majority hard fork. Therefore, discussion about the full node clients which implement BIP 101 is not allowed. Since the same individuals have major influence of all the three bitcoin websites (most notably theymos), discussion of Bitcoin XT is censored and/or discouraged on these websites.
Who governs or controls Bitcoin Core anyways? Who governs Bitcoin XT? What is Bitcoin governance?
Bitcoin Core is governed by a consensus mechanism. How it actually works is not clear. It seems that any major developer can "veto" a change. However, there is one head maintainer who pushes releases and otherwise organizes the development effort. It should be noted that the majority of the main contributors to Bitcoin Core are Blockstream employees. BitcoinXT follows a benevolent dictator model (as Bitcoin used to follow when Satoshi and later Gavin Andresen were the lead maintainers). It is a widespread believe that Bitcoin can be separated into protocol and full node development. This means that there can be multiple implementations of Bitcoin that all follow the same protocol and overall consensus mechanism. More reading here. By having multiple implementations of Bitcoin, single Bitcoin implementations can be run following a benevolent dictator model while protocol development would follow an overall consensus model (which is enforced by Bitcoin's fundamental design through full nodes and miners' hash power). It is still unclear how protocol changes should actually be governed in such a model. Bitcoin governance is a research topic and evolving.
What are the arguments against a significant block size increase and against BIP 101 in particular?
The main arguments against a significant increase are related to decentralization and therefore robustness against commercial interests and government regulation and intervention. More here (warning: biased Wiki article). Another main argument is that Bitcoin needs a fee market established by a low block size limit to support miners long term. There is significant evidence and game theory to doubt this claim, as can be seen here. Finally, block propagation and verification times increase with an increased block size. This in turn increases the orphan rate of miners which means reduced profit. Some believe that this is a disadvantage to small miners because they are not as well connected to other big miners. Also, there is currently a large miner centralization in China. Since most of these miners are behind the Great Firewall of China, their bandwidth to the rest of the world is limited. There is a fear that larger block propagation times favor Chinese miners as long as they have a mining majority. However, there are solutions in development that can drastically reduce block propagation times so this problem will be less of an issue long term.
What is up with the fee market and what is the Lightning Network (LN)?
Major Bitcoin Core developers believe that a fee market established by a low block size is needed for future security of the bitcoin network. While many believe fundamentally this is true, there is major dispute if a fee market needs to be forced by a low block size. One of the main LN developers thinks such a fee market through low block size is needed (read here). The Lightning Network is a non-bandwidth scaling solution. It uses payment channels that can be opened and closed using Bitcoin transactions that are settled on the blockchain. By routing transactions through many of these payment channels, in theory it is possible to support a lot more transactions while a user only needs very few payment channels and therefore rarely has to use (settle on) the actual blockchain. More info here.
How does LN and other non-bandwidth scaling solutions relate to Bitcoin Core and its long term scaling vision?
Bitcoin Core is headed towards a future where block sizes are kept low so that a fee market is established long term that secures miner incentives. The main scaling solution propagated by Core is LN and other solutions that only sometimes settle transactions on the main Bitcoin blockchain. Essentially, Bitcoin becomes a settlement layer for solutions that are built on top of Bitcoin's core technology. Many believe that long term this might be inevitable. But forcing this off-chain development already today seems counterproductive to Bitcoin's much needed growth and adoption phase before such solutions can thrive. It should also be noted that no major non-bandwidth scaling solution (such as LN) has been tested or even implemented. It is not even clear if such off-chain solutions are needed long term scaling solutions as it might be possible to scale Bitcoin itself to handle all needed transaction volumes. Some believe that the focus on a forced fee market by major Bitcoin Core developers represents a conflict of interest since their employer is interested in pushing off-chain scaling solutions such as LN (more reading here).
Are there solutions in development that show the block sizes as proposed via BIP 101 are viable and block propagation times in particular are low enough?
Mike Hearn is a Bitcoin developer and former senior software engineer at Google, where he worked on Google Earth, Maps, Gmail, anti-spam and account security.He now works full time on the Bitcoin system doing app development, research and work on the protocol. He is the original author of Bitcoinj and a former contributor to Bitcoin Core.He quit Bitcoin in January 2016. 2015 03 28 “Double spending in Bitcoin” A good explanation with example cases by Mike Hearn. 2015 03 28 Replace by fee. by Mike Hearn. 2015 03 23 Bitcoin’s seasonal affective disorder. Mike Hearn. 2014 12 24 –On December 27, 2014 Hearn released version 0.10 of the client, with the BIP 64 changes. Mike Hearn. Follow. Sep 9, 2015 · 6 min read. An FAQ for Bitcoin XT 0.11B. This article describes a new feature in the XT 0.11B release, called mempool size limiting. 0.11B is due to be released ... https: img [ url] Three years ago today, Mike Hearn published an article explaining exactly what would happen when the 1MB blocksize limit was hit. He was right on all counts. by BeijingBitcoins at reddit 168 comments The post leads to Medium : Cras.. Quote from Mike Hearn's medium article Allowed buyers to take back payments they’d made after walking out of shops, by simply pressing a button (if you aren’t aware of this “feature” that’s because Bitcoin was only just changed to allow it) Can anyone tell me what this relates to or link me to where this is explained? He explains what he means further down in his post, it's about ...
Is Bitcoin Dead? - The Bitcoin Experiment Article by Mike Hearn (FULL AUDIO) - Blocksize Debate
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