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

Adam Back adam at cypherspace.org
Tue Aug 11 21:23:18 UTC 2015

I dont think Bitcoin being cheaper is the main characteristic of
Bitcoin.  I think the interesting thing is trustlessness - being able
to transact without relying on third parties.


On 11 August 2015 at 22:18, Michael Naber via bitcoin-dev
<bitcoin-dev at lists.linuxfoundation.org> wrote:
> The only reason why Bitcoin has grown the way it has, and in fact the only
> reason why we're all even here on this mailing list talking about this, is
> because Bitcoin is growing, since it's "better money than other money". One
> of the key characteristics toward that is Bitcoin being inexpensive to
> transact. If that characteristic is no longer true, then Bitcoin isn't going
> to grow, and in fact Bitcoin itself will be replaced by better money that is
> less expensive to transfer.
> So the importance of this issue cannot be overstated -- it's compete or die
> for Bitcoin -- because people want to transact with global consensus at high
> volume, and because technology exists to service that want, then it's going
> to be met. This is basic rules of demand and supply. I don't necessarily
> disagree with your position on only wanting to support uncontroversial
> commits, but I think it's important to get consensus on the criticality of
> the block size issue: do you agree, disagree, or not take a side, and why?
> On Tue, Aug 11, 2015 at 2:51 PM, Pieter Wuille <pieter.wuille at gmail.com>
> wrote:
>> On Tue, Aug 11, 2015 at 9:37 PM, Michael Naber via bitcoin-dev
>> <bitcoin-dev at lists.linuxfoundation.org> wrote:
>>> Hitting the limit in and of itself is not necessarily a bad thing. The
>>> question at hand is whether we should constrain that limit below what
>>> technology is capable of delivering. I'm arguing that not only we should
>>> not, but that we could not even if we wanted to, since competition will
>>> deliver capacity for global consensus whether it's in Bitcoin or in some
>>> other product / fork.
>> The question is not what the technology can deliver. The question is what
>> price we're willing to pay for that. It is not a boolean "at this size,
>> things break, and below it, they work". A small constant factor increase
>> will unlikely break anything in the short term, but it will come with higher
>> centralization pressure of various forms. There is discussion about whether
>> these centralization pressures are significant, but citing that it's
>> artificially constrained under the limit is IMHO a misrepresentation. It is
>> constrained to aim for a certain balance between utility and risk, and
>> neither extreme is interesting, while possibly still "working".
>> Consensus rules are what keeps the system together. You can't simply
>> switch to new rules on your own, because the rest of the system will end up
>> ignoring you. These rules are there for a reason. You and I may agree about
>> whether the 21M limit is necessary, and disagree about whether we need a
>> block size limit, but we should be extremely careful with change. My
>> position as Bitcoin Core developer is that we should merge consensus changes
>> only when they are uncontroversial. Even when you believe a more invasive
>> change is worth it, others may disagree, and the risk from disagreement is
>> likely larger than the effect of a small block size increase by itself: the
>> risk that suddenly every transaction can be spent twice (once on each side
>> of the fork), the very thing that the block chain was designed to prevent.
>> My personal opinion is that we should aim to do a block size increase for
>> the right reasons. I don't think fear of rising fees or unreliability should
>> be an issue: if fees are being paid, it means someone is willing to pay
>> them. If people are doing transactions despite being unreliable, there must
>> be a use for them. That may mean that some use cases don't fit anymore, but
>> that is already the case.
>> --
>> Pieter
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