[bitcoin-dev] Block size: It's economics & user preparation & moral hazard

Tier Nolan tier.nolan at gmail.com
Thu Dec 17 16:58:02 UTC 2015

On Wed, Dec 16, 2015 at 9:11 PM, Pieter Wuille via bitcoin-dev <
bitcoin-dev at lists.linuxfoundation.org> wrote:

> We are not avoiding a choice. We don't have the authority to make a choice.

This is really the most important question.

Bitcoin is kind of like a republic where there is separation of powers
between various groups.

The power blocs in the process include

- Core Devs
- Miners
- Exchanges
- Merchants
- Customers

Complete agreement is not required for a change.  If merchants and their
customers were to switch to different software, then there is little any of
the other groups could do.

Consensus is nice, certainly, and it is a good social norm to seek
widespread agreement before committing to a decision above objection.
Committing to no block increase is also committing to a decision against

Having said that, each of the groups are not equal in power and

Merchants and their customers have potentially a large amount of power, but
they are disorganised.  There is little way for them to formally express a
view, much less put their power behind making a change.  Their potential
power is crippled by public action problems.

On the other extreme is the core devs. Their power is based on legitimacy
due to having a line of succession starting with Satoshi and respect gained
due to technical and political competence.  Being a small group, they are
organised and they are also more directly involved.

The miners are less centralised, but statements supported by the majority
of the hashing power are regularly made.  The miners' position is that they
want dev consensus.  This means that they have delegated their decision
making to the core devs.

The means that the two most powerful groups in Bitcoin have given the core
devs the authority to make the decision.  They don't have carte blanche
from the miners.

If the core devs made the 2MB hard-fork with a 75% miner threshold, it is
highly likely that the other groups would accept it.

That is the only authority that exists in Bitcoin.  The check is that if
the authority is abused, the other groups can simply leave (or use
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