CoinWallet is going to run a major stress test on the Bitcoin network this week on Thursday, September 10 starting at 10 a.m. GMT. The company conducted a transaction to demonstrate how it will look like.
According to the company’s COO James Wilson, CoinWallet conducted its “stress pre-test” for about half-an-hour earlier this week that resulted in a “2-day delay and a 50 MB backlog”.
“The pre-test lasted only about 30 minutes and created a 2-day backlog. As you can imagine, September 10th will indeed be stressful”, Wilson said.
CoinWallet’s last test of the system in June involved taking a bunch of Bitcoin and then dividing it among thousands of Bitcoin addresses, all in tiny amounts of 0.00001. However, the test only achieved about 15% of its output because its servers crashed.
“As part of this test, I will be reconsolidating more than 150 Bitcoin that currently sits in these wallets,” Wilson said.
These stress tests aim to verify if the Bitcoin network can handle a stream of very small transactions that will act like a DDOS attack. The tests come at a highly-charged time in bitcoin’s development. Following the release of Bitcoin XT, the Bitcoin major developers and contributors have been unable to reach a consensus on how bitcoin should be scaled – and what it should sacrifice in the process – as it approaches its so-called ‘capacity cliff’.
“We feel that our tests might prove to be the catalyst that propels the core devs and miners to implement the required hard fork that is desperately needed,” said the representatives of CoinWallet.
The company faced plenty of criticism with the stress test in June, with some worrying that it was an actual attack. Others, however, were curious to see the results and its implications on bitcoin protocol.
Moreover, a Reddit user has recently stated that the bitcoin stress tests planned by CoinWallet could breach UK law.
“The Computer Misuse Act 1990 in the United Kingdom makes it an offence to deliberately cause disruption to computer systems with intent,” the user ‘btcdrak’ posted on Reddit.
“I’m inclined to say there is a good argument that the CoinWallet stress tests would be a breach of section 3 of the CMA 1990,” Jankelewitz said.
“The intention of CoinWallet in conducting the tests may well be to demonstrate the network’s capacity, but they should not be reckless as to the consequences of that test (section 3(3)),” the lawyer explained.
“However, the courts have previously said there is a limit to the amount of ‘authorised acts’ that are acceptable before the acts become unauthorized,” he said, illustrating his point using DDoS attacks as an analogy. These attacks typically involve permitted acts, but the affected service provider does not authorise those acts to be carried out so many times that their service becomes overloaded.