8 MB Limit Resolves Bitcoin Block Size Issue

| Updated
by Eugenia Romanenko · 3 min read
8 MB Limit Resolves Bitcoin Block Size Issue
Photo: Elsa Hammond/Flickr

The growth of Bitcoin’s popularity slows down the transactions making the community look to alter block size limit.

According to a recent BitcoinXT update on GitHub, Gavin Andresen started the process of revising the blockchain individual block size from 1 MB to 8 MB. The block size issue has been debated for a long time throughout the Bitcoin community, and now it seems to be resolved.

As far as Bitcoin is becoming quite popular and widespread, the number of transactions recorded on the blockchain is growing as well. The block size was limited to 1 MB when the number of transactions was not so high.

It’s interesting that not so long ago, a London-based bitcoin analytics company Elliptic launched an interactive blockchain visualization instrument that allows to check the growth and history of bitcoin transactions since 2009. The company expects the new tool, called The Bitcoin Big Bang, will drive the adoption of digital currency by enterprises.

However, nowadays, smaller block size is the reason the transactions experience delays having to wait for the next block in order to be recorded.

As for the above-mentioned BitcoinXT update, it was posted on GitHub by Gavin Andresen named “Implement hard fork to allow bigger blocks.” The new parameters are:

  • 8MB cap
  • Doubling every two years (so 16MB in 2018)
  • For twenty years
  • Earliest possible chain fork: 11 Jan 2016
  • After miner supermajority (code in the next patch)
  • And grace period once miner supermajority achieved (code in next patch)

Mr. Andresen used a coder’s term hard fork which means a change in the protocol that is not backwards-compatible. It may sound scary and risky, but hard forking has been conducted successfully in 2013,  when the code was broken in a version upgrade of the core bitcoin wallet. However, despite Andresen’s hard fork proposal, any problems or data loss aren’t expected.

“It will be very difficult for anybody to lose money.[…] Ordinary, SVP-using users will follow the longest chain, and since at least 75% of hashing power will be on the bigger-block chain, there is no chance of them losing money. The big-block-rejecting-chain will very, very quickly be left behind and ignored,” says Gavin Andresen.

It’s also necessary to mention that the Chinese miners, making up more than half of the overall hashing power, have discussed larger block sizes as well. Moreover, Chinese mining consortium appears even to have the power to dictate the rules, if they decide that the changes are necessary.

On 11 June, five biggest Chinese mining pools such as F2pool, BW, BTCChina, Huobi, and Antpool published an agreement about how they want Bitcoin mining to enhance. “After undergoing deep consideration and discussion, the five pools agree that while the block size does need to be increased, a compromise should be made to increase the network max block size to 8 megabytes. …We believe that this is a realistic short term adjustment that remains fair to all miners and node operators worldwide,” read the agreement.

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