[bitcoin-dev] Block size following technological growth

Gavin Andresen gavinandresen at gmail.com
Tue Aug 4 13:12:36 UTC 2015

On Tue, Aug 4, 2015 at 7:27 AM, Pieter Wuille via bitcoin-dev <
bitcoin-dev at lists.linuxfoundation.org> wrote:

> I would say that things already demonstrately got terrible. The mining
> landscape is very centralized, with apparently a majority depending on
> agreements to trust each other's announced blocks without validation.
And that is a problem... why?

As far as I can tell, nobody besides miners running old and/or buggy
software lost money due to outsourced mining validation (please correct me
if I'm wrong-- I'm looking forward to Greg's post-mortem). The operators of
bitcoin.org seem to have freaked out and pushed the panic button (with dire
warnings of not trusting transactions until 20 confirmations), but theymos
was well known for using an old, patched version of Core for
blockexplorer.com so maybe that's not surprising.

As Bitcoin grows, pieces of the ecosystem will specialize. Satoshi's
original code did everything: hashing, block assembly, wallet, consensus,
network. That is changing, and that is OK.

I understand there are parts of the ecosystem you'd rather not see
specialized, like transaction selection / block assembly or validation. I
see it as a natural maturation. The only danger I see is if some unnatural
barriers to competition spring up.

> Full node count is at its historically lowest value in years, and
outsourcing of full validation keeps growing.

Both side effects of increasing specialization, in my opinion. Many
companies quite reasonably would rather hire somebody who specializes in
running nodes, keeping keys secure, etc rather than develop that expertise

Again, not a problem UNLESS some unnatural barriers to competition spring

> I believe that if the above would have happened overnight, people would
> have cried wolf. But somehow it happened slow enough, and "things kept
> working".
> I don't think that this is a good criterion. Bitcoin can "work" with
> gigabyte blocks today, if everyone uses the same few blockchain validation
> services, the same few online wallets, and mining is done by a cartel that
> only allows joining after signing a contract so they can sue you if you
> create an invalid block. Do you think people will then agree that "things
> got demonstratebly worse"?
> Don't turn Bitcoin into something uninteresting, please.
> Why is what you, personally, find interesting relevant?

I understand you want to build an extremely decentralized system, where
everybody participating trusts nothing except the genesis block hash.

I think it is more interesting to build a system that works for hundreds of
millions of people, with no central point of control and the opportunity
for ANYBODY to participate at any level. Permission-less innovation is what
I find interesting.

And I think the current "demonstrably terrible" Bitcoin system is still
INCREDIBLY interesting.

Gavin Andresen
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