Maximum block size bitcoin
A certain group of bitcoin developers decided that increasing the limit by this amount was too much and that it was dangerous. They said that the increased use of resources that the network would use would create centralisation pressures which could destroy the network. The theory was that a miner of the network with more resources could publish many more transactions than a competing small miner could handle and therefore the network would tend towards few large miners rather than many small miners. The group of developers who supported this theory were all developers who worked for the company Blockstream.
The argument from people in support of increasing the transaction capacity by this amount was that there are always inherent centralisation pressure with bitcoin mining. For example miners who can access the cheapest electricity will tend to succeed and that bigger miners will be able to find this cheaper electricity easier. Miners who have access to the most efficient computer chips will tend to succeed and that larger miners are more likely to be able to afford the development of them.
The argument from Gavin and other who supported increasing the transaction capacity by this method are essentially there are economies of scale in mining and that these economies have far bigger centralisation pressures than increased resource cost for a larger number of transactions up to the new limit proposed. For example, at the time the total size of the blockchain was around 50GB.
Block size limit controversy
Various developers put forth various other proposals, including Gavin Andresen who put forth a more conservative increase that would then continue to increase over time inline with technological improvements. Some of the employees of blockstream also put forth some proposals, but all were so conservative, it would take bitcoin many decades before it could reach a scale of VISA.
Gavin then teamed up with one of the other main bitcoin developers Mike Hearn and released a coded i. What happened next was where things really started to get weird. After this free and open source software was released, Theymos, the person who controls all the main communication channels for the bitcoin community implemented a new moderation policy that disallowed any discussion of this new software. Specifically, if people were to discuss this software, their comments would be deleted and ultimately they would be banned temporarily or permanently. This caused chaos within the community as there was very clear support for this software at the time and it seemed our best hope for finally solving the problem and moving on.
Instead a censorship campaign was started. This was initially very transparent as it was possible to see that the most downvoted comments were at the top and some of the most upvoted were at the bottom. So they then implemented hiding the voting scores next to the users name. This made impossible to work out the sentiment of the community and when combined with selectively setting the sorting order to controversial it was possible control what information users were seeing.
Also, due to the very very large number of removed comments and users it was becoming obvious the scale of censorship going on. To hide this they implemented code in their CSS for the sub that completely hid comments that they had removed so that the censorship itself was hidden. Anyone in support of scaling bitcoin were removed from the main communication channels.
He also later acknowledged that he knew he had the ability to block support of this software using the control he had over the communication channels. Since no final solutions were allowed at these conferences, they only served to hinder and splinter the communities efforts to find a solution. Users of the software were attack by DDOS. Employees of Blockstream were recommending attacks against the software, such as faking support for it, to only then drop support at the last moment to put the network in disarray.
Blockstream employees were also publicly talking about suing Gavin and Mike from various different angles simply for releasing this open source software that no one was forced to run.
In the end Mike Hearn decided to leave due to the way many members of the bitcoin community had treated him. One of the many tactics that are used against anyone who does not support Blockstream and the bitcoin developers who work for them is that you will be targeted in a smear campaign. This has happened to a number of individuals and companies who showed support for scaling bitcoin. Theymos has threatened companies that he will ban any discussion of them on the communication channels he controls i. As time passed, more and more proposals were offered, all against the backdrop of ever increasing censorship in the main bitcoin communication channels.
It finally come down the smallest and most conservative solution. This solution was much smaller than even the employees of Blockstream had proposed months earlier. As usual there was enormous attacks from all sides and the most vocal opponents were the employees of Blockstream. These attacks still are ongoing today. As this software started to gain support, Blockstream organised more meetings, especially with the biggest bitcoin miners and made a pact with them. They promised that they would release code that would offer an on-chain scaling solution hardfork within about 4 months, but if the miners wanted this they would have to commit to running their software and only their software.
The miners agreed and the ended up not running the most conservative proposal possible. This was in February last year. There is no hardfork proposal in sight from the people who agreed to this pact and bitcoin is still stuck with the exact same transaction limit it has had since the limit was put in place about 6 years ago. Gavin has also been publicly smeared by the developers at Blockstream and a plot was made against him to have him removed from the development team.
Gavin has now been, for all intents an purposes, expelled from bitcoin development. This has meant that all control of bitcoin development is in the hands of the developers working at Blockstream. There is a new proposal that offers a market based approach to scaling bitcoin. This essentially lets the market decide. Of course, as usual there has been attacks against it, and verbal attacks from the employees of Blockstream. This has the biggest chance of gaining wide support and solving the problem for good. Although this comment is ridiculously long, it really only covers the tip of the iceberg.
You could write a book on the last two years of bitcoin. The things that have been going on have been mind blowing. The users that the video talks about have very very large numbers of downvotes mostly due to them having a very very high chance of being astroturfers.
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Around about the same time last year when Blockstream came active on the scene every single bitcoin troll disappeared, and I mean literally every single one. In the years before that there were a large number of active anti-bitcoin trolls. Gavin also co-founded the Bitcoin Foundation in , of which he was a board member. In addition to several other functions, one of the main responsibilities of the foundation was to pay Gavin to work on Bitcoin development. Gavin was therefore the first paid Bitcoin developer.
Gavin remained at the foundation, with the title of chief scientist, until mid It is difficult to over-emphasise how much respect Gavin had from many members of the Bitcoin community. There were these deep, brewing disputes in the technical community, but the casual observer of the space did not know much about these.
To many, Gavin was very much the key person in the space.
Block size limit controversy - Bitcoin Wiki
It was a bombshell moment because of who Gavin was. Had anyone else done that, the impact would not have been as significant and none of the events which followed would have occurred. As for Mike Hearn, he was also an early Bitcoin developer, having first started working on Bitcoin as part of his 20 percent free time project while at Google. However, Mike was not as involved in the main reference implementation to the same extent as Gavin.
He was seen as more of an outsider and risk-taker than Gavin, who came across as more conservative, moderate and a driver of consensus. Mike had done a lot of work on Bitcoinj, a Java library for working with the bitcoin protocol, which made the mobile wallets at the time possible. It was certainly an important and impressive contribution to the space. As the war intensified in August , nowhere was the battle more intense or hostile than on social media. The debate on Reddit and BitcoinTalk had been intensifying for a while, but the launch of Bitcoin XT really accelerated the vitriolic nature of the argument.
In general, most of the posts were in support of larger blocks. The larger block message was clear and simple: Bitcoin needed more capacity. To the casual observer, the arguments against this were, typically, highly complex and somewhat confusing. And on top of this, 1 MB just seemed like a low number and the history of computer science was about capacity growing exponentially. With many becoming frustrated, in the summer of the Bitcoin forums were full of posts of support for larger blocks and support for incompatible clients.
There were so many repetitive posts that it was becoming more difficult to find other Bitcoin-related news. As a result, the moderation on these forums intensified. This moderation appeared to only rile up some of the larger blockers even more: in their view, the moderation policy, or as they saw it censorship, was preventing Bitcoin from scaling.
His real name is Michael Marquardt. Theymos had been an early pioneer in the space, managing bitcoin. Theymos had also created the first block explorer website, a webpage where you could view information about Bitcoin transactions. This was crucial in the early development of the space and in educating people about how Bitcoin works. His block explorer website, blockexplorer. Theymos appeared to mostly sympathise with the smaller block camp, at least the aspect of it which meant it was sensible to have widespread agreement across the community before running incompatible clients.
On August 17, , two days after the official launch of Bitcoin XT, Theymos announced a new Reddit moderation policy. This policy proved to be both extremely controversial and divisive. The release of the Bitcoin XT client also stimulated a large increase in the number of posts, and then the aggressive moderation of these posts, requiring an explanation.
In the extremely unlikely event that the vast majority of the Bitcoin economy switches to XT and there is a strong perception that XT is the true Bitcoin, then the situation will flip and we should allow only submissions related to XT. I could see some kind of increase gaining consensus in as soon as 6 months, though it would have to be much smaller than the increase in XT for everyone to agree on it so soon.
I do not want these people to make threads breaking the rules, demanding change, asking for upvotes, making personal attacks against moderators, etc. The new rules for the Bitcoin subreddit were reasonably clear: since Bitcoin XT lacked consensus among users and was an incompatible change, and would therefore result in a new coin, promotion of the software was banned on the subreddit. This clearly aggravated many of the so-called large blockers. To them, the Bitcoin Reddit was the main discussion forum in the community, and lobbying for the change they desired on this forum was exactly how they envisioned such a change would take place.
The anti-censorship arguments began to gain momentum and proved to be quite compelling. It was a catch situation! Who was Theymos to decide when we reach consensus anyway? Bitcoin is mine just as much as it is his! If they had any good arguments, then why resort to censorship?
If Bitcoin is so fragile that it requires this censorship, Bitcoin must be pretty weak and useless. If they want to ban Bitcoin XT, it must therefore be good… And so on…. To really understand the degree of fury against Theymos, one should consider who many of the Bitcoiners were, at least the ones engaged enough to follow this debate.