[bitcoin-dev] Bitcoin is an experiment. Why don't we have an experimental hardfork?

Danny Thorpe danny.thorpe at gmail.com
Tue Aug 18 20:48:49 UTC 2015

Deploying experimental code onto the "live" bitcoin blockchain seems
unnecessarily risky.  Why not deploy a blocksize limit experiment for long
term trials using testnet instead?

On Tue, Aug 18, 2015 at 2:54 AM, jl2012 via bitcoin-dev <
bitcoin-dev at lists.linuxfoundation.org> wrote:

> As I understand, there is already a consensus among core dev that block
> size should/could be raised. The remaining questions are how, when, how
> much, and how fast. These are the questions for the coming Bitcoin
> Scalability Workshops but immediate consensus in these issues are not
> guaranteed.
> Could we just stop the debate for a moment, and agree to a scheduled
> experimental hardfork?
> Objectives (by order of importance):
> 1. The most important objective is to show the world that reaching
> consensus for a Bitcoin hardfork is possible. If we could have a successful
> one, we would have more in the future
> 2. With a slight increase in block size, to collect data for future
> hardforks
> 3. To slightly relieve the pressure of full block, without minimal adverse
> effects on network performance
> With the objectives 1 and 2 in mind, this is to NOT intended to be a
> kick-the-can-down-the-road solution. The third objective is more like a
> side effect of this experiment.
> Proposal (parameters in ** are my recommendations but negotiable):
> 1. Today, we all agree that some kind of block size hardfork will happen
> on t1=*1 June 2016*
> 2. If no other consensus could be reached before t2=*1 Feb 2016*, we will
> adopt the backup plan
> 3. The backup plan is: t3=*30 days* after m=*80%* of miner approval, but
> not before t1=*1 June 2016*, the block size is increased to s=*1.5MB*
> 4. If the backup plan is adopted, we all agree that a better solution
> should be found before t4=*31 Dec 2017*.
> Rationale:
> t1 = 1 June 2016 is chosen to make sure everyone have enough time to
> prepare for a hardfork. Although we do not know what actually will happen
> but we know something must happen around that moment.
> t2 = 1 Feb 2016 is chosen to allow 5 more months of negotiations (and 2
> months after the workshops). If it is successful, we don't need to activate
> the backup plan
> t3 = 30 days is chosen to make sure every full nodes have enough time to
> upgrade after the actual hardfork date is confirmed
> t4 = 31 Dec 2017 is chosen, with 1.5 year of data and further debate,
> hopefully we would find a better solution. It is important to acknowledge
> that the backup plan is not a final solution
> m = 80%: We don't want a very small portion of miners to have the power to
> veto a hardfork, while it is important to make sure the new fork is secured
> by enough mining power. 80% is just a compromise.
> s = 1.5MB. As the 1MB cap was set 5 years ago, there is no doubt that all
> types of technology has since improved by >50%. I don't mind making it a
> bit smaller but in that case not much valuable data could be gathered and
> the second objective of this experiment may not be archived.
> --------------------
> If the community as a whole could agree with this experimental hardfork,
> we could announce the plan on bitcoin.org and start coding of the patch
> immediately. At the same time, exploration for a better solution continues.
> If no further consensus could be reached, a new version of Bitcoin Core
> with the patch will be released on or before 1 Feb 2016 and everyone will
> be asked to upgrade immediately.
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