There is a civil war for Bitcoin

    The war for Bitcoin began after two influential Bitcoin kernel programmers announced plans to break the code on which the network runs. Their new network is called Bitcoin XT, and it wants to replace Bitcoin - but why did they go for it?

    One of the biggest problems with Bitcoin is the problem of growth. The size of each block in the chain is now limited to 1 MB, which allows it to process up to seven (7) transactions per second. In comparison, the VISA system processes an average of about 2000 transactions per second. Now the limit has not been reached, the average block size fluctuates around 400 Kb.

    Do I need to increase the block size and, if so, how soon? The Bitcoin core team and the entire community cannot unanimously answer this question. An increase in the block will also increase the cost of storing and moving data, an increase in the number of transactions will increase traffic, which can squeeze small miners out of the market. There are ingenious add-on projects for the Bitcoin protocol to allow some transactions to bypass the main network, but all of them are still at the design stage or have some security vulnerabilities.

    What is the danger of approaching the limit? A server that tries to process blocks close to 1 MB in size will slow down and will soon crash without notifying the administrator. So the whole network will slow down and fall until it stops completely. The problem threatens the complete destruction of Bitcoin. At the same time, a value of 1 MB is sewn into the core of the network. To change it, you need to run a full update of all servers, which can stretch for a very, very long time.

    If the network growth rate continues, then the block size will not need to be increased until 2020. But cryptocurrencies do not grow in a calm and predictable way, they are spurred by news. The network will not be ready if in a year any city declares Bitcoin the main currency.

    Mike Hearn and Gavin Andresen are two of the most experienced core developers. Mike is the former Chairman of the Law and Policy Committee of the Bitcoin Fund, Andresen is the Fund's principal researcher. Both have write access to the core of the network, and they believe that the block size should be increased, and do it now. Unable to agree in a good way, they started the hard fork process. The new network is called Bitcoin XT.

    Hearn explained in the Bitcoin developers subscription list that he believes that fork was the only way to resolve the community deadlock: “I'm sorry that came to this, but there is no other way. The Bitcoin kernel project is so far removed from the principles that I and many others consider important that fork is the only way to fix the situation. ”Unable to agree with a small handful of kernel programmers, they put the debate to the vote of the entire community.

    Bitcoin XT refuses a hard limit. Instead, the block size will gradually increase, along with the size of the transaction database (blockchain). The initial size will be 8 MB. Mike believes that the current system will reach the limit during the next or at least 2017. In addition, Bitcoin XT included several other patches, the implementation of which could not be approved by Bitcoin: secure peer detection at first server startup (DNS bootstrapping), DDoS protection and a fraud detection system.

    One of the opponents of the fork was Satoshi Nakamoto himself (or a person who has appeared to them for several years).

    The developers of this pretending Bitcoin claim to follow my original vision, but they are very far from the truth. When I designed Bitcoin, I planned it in such a way as to make any modifications in the future almost impossible without full consent. Bitcoin was designed to be protected from the influence of charismatic leaders, even if their names are Gavin Andresen, Barack Obama or Satoshi Nakamoto. Almost everyone should agree to a change, and they should not do so under pressure or pressure. By creating a fork in this way, these developers violate the "original vision" that they support verbally.


    Hearn stated that the letter was not signed cryptographically, which means it could have been from anyone, but, nevertheless, it raises an important question:

    The interesting thing is - what if Satoshi really came back and made a point? Let's pretend that he appeared and said that he changed his mind, and Bitcoin was a bad idea. Should everyone just give up and break up? Or accept that people's ideas are really changing. My article quotes Satoshi in many ways, but it does not imply that he is some kind of god or absent dictator.


    The good news: non-mining Bitcoin users should not notice this dispute. Only miners, administrators of network generating servers, can vote. In the worst case, both branches will fight for a long time, tearing apart programmers and supporters.

    Bitcoin XT does not plan to increase the block size until January 2016 - if 75% of the new blocks will be generated with the XT version. After the network goes through a hard fork, the kernel versions will become incompatible, and the blockchains will be forever divided. The miners of the winning branch will not lose anything; those who choose the loser will be forced to quit.

    You can follow the statistics on the XTNodes website .

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