[bitcoin-dev] Fees and the block-finding process

Pieter Wuille pieter.wuille at gmail.com
Fri Aug 7 16:28:47 UTC 2015

On Fri, Aug 7, 2015 at 5:55 PM, Gavin Andresen <gavinandresen at gmail.com>

> On Fri, Aug 7, 2015 at 11:16 AM, Pieter Wuille <pieter.wuille at gmail.com>
> wrote:
>> I guess my question (and perhaps that's what Jorge is after): do you feel
>> that blocks should be increased in response to (or for fear of) such a
>> scenario.
> I think there are multiple reasons to raise the maximum block size, and
> yes, fear of Bad Things Happening as we run up against the 1MB limit is one
> of the reasons.
> I take the opinion of smart engineers who actually do resource planning
> and have seen what happens when networks run out of capacity very seriously.

This is a fundamental disagreement then. I believe that the demand is
infinite if you don't set a fee minimum (and I don't think we should), and
it just takes time for the market to find a way to fill whatever is
available - the rest goes into off-chain systems anyway. You will run out
of capacity at any size, and acting out of fear of that reality does not
improve the system. Whatever size blocks are actually produced, I believe
the result will either be something people consider too small to be
competitive ("you mean Bitcoin can only do 24 transactions per second?"
sounds almost the same as "you mean Bitcoin can only do 3 transactions per
second?"), or something that is very centralized in practice, and likely

> And if so, if that is a reason for increase now, won't it be a reason for
>> an increase later as well? It is my impression that your answer is yes,
>> that this is why you want to increase the block size quickly and
>> significantly, but correct me if I'm wrong.
> Sure, it might be a reason for an increase later. Here's my message to
> in-the-future Bitcoin engineers:  you should consider raising the maximum
> block size if needed and you think the benefits of doing so (like increased
> adoption or lower transaction fees or increased reliability) outweigh the
> costs (like higher operating costs for full-nodes or the disruption caused
> by ANY consensus rule change).

In general that sounds reasonable, but it's a dangerous precedent to make
technical decisions based on a fear of change of economics...

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