For those people looking to see the Bitcoin block size debate coming to an end, that will not be happening anytime soon, unfortunately. Things have gotten more interesting a few weeks ago when rumours started appearing about BitPay looking to implement their own Bitcoin block size solution. This new adaptive block size solution holds some interesting merit, although it remains to be seen whether or not this solution will ever be implemented.
The BitPay Median Block Size-based Solution
Although both Bitcoin Core and Bitcoin Classic each have their own benefits and drawbacks regarding creating a block size solution on the software side, the BitPay option is kind of interesting as well. Rather than sticking to a particular block size and upgrading it at certain time intervals BitPay is looking at a median block size solution.
As the name suggests, this BitPay block size solution will impose a dynamic limit, rather than forcing a particular block size upon users at any given time. Determining the proper block size for a particular moment in time is done by looking at the median size over the last 12,960 blocks – roughly three months – and adjusting the solution accordingly.
Similar to any other Bitcoin block size solution in existence right now, consensus must be reached before the BitPay proposal is activated on the network. Scaling the Bitcoin block size depending on the number of transactions hitting the system over the past three months is an interesting approach, and should help prevent denial of service attacks as well as network congestion.
But there is more to this proposal than just that, as a dynamic block size structure would guarantee miners their created blocks are accepted by the rest of the Bitcoin network. Moreover, this BitPay solution should remove the need for any future hard forks of the network as well. Scalability has been a thorn in the side of the Bitcoin network for quite some time now, and a dynamic solution puts an interesting – and cleaner – spin on tackling this issue.
There is no denying future block size increases will be needed on the Bitcoin network, and by removing the concept of hard forking, the BitPay solution could gain a lot of traction. Additionally, this BitPay proposal gives miners moire choices regarding the size of the blocks they are generating on the network.
Chinese miners would not need to worry about explosive block size growth either, as the maximum rate of growth is capped at twice the previous size. There will be no jumps from 1MB blocks to 2MB blocks and then suddenly increase to 8 MB. This should give the local Internet infrastructure enough time to ramp up the overall network speed and [try to] get rid of data caps.
Reaching consensus will require Bitcoin community participation as the BitPay block size implementation requires a 75% livenet nodes threshold – as well as 51% of test nodes – to activate on the network. Unfortunately, older clients who are deployed for full transaction validation are not compatible with the changes proposed in the BitPay solution, and will result in those clients no longer being a part of the longest blockchain.
In the end, it remains to be seen whether or not the BitPay solution will be embraced by Bitcoin miners in the end. Bitcoin Classic gained a lot of initial support but seems to be struggling to carry on with that trend. Bitcoin Core remains the strong leader for now, even though this approach will take quite some time to come to fruition.
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