[bitcoin-dev] Block size following technological growth

Jameson Lopp jameson.lopp at gmail.com
Thu Jul 30 16:23:17 UTC 2015

I find it to be an admirable goal to try to keep node operation costs low
and accessible to the average user. On the other hand, if we are able to
keep the resource requirements of nodes at the level of, say, whatever the
latest Raspberry Pi model on a residential Internet connection can handle,
I'm not sure how helpful it will be if the demand for inclusion in blocks
results in transaction fees prices out more users. Stated differently, if
the cost or contention of using the network rises to the point of excluding
the average user from making transactions, then they probably aren't going
to care that they can run a node at trivial cost.

If we're approaching the block size from a resource usage standpoint, it
seems to me that someone is going to be excluded one way or another. Not
raising the block size will exclude some users from sending transactions
while raising the block size will exclude some users from running nodes.
The latter seems preferable to me because more users will grow the
ecosystem, which should increase the value of the ecosystem, which should
increase the cost that entities are willing to pay to run nodes.

I see two primary points of view / objectives clashing in this debate:

1) Decentralization and stability even if it retards growth of the ecosystem
2) Push the system's load as far as we are comfortable in order to
accommodate the growth it is experiencing

It's clear to me that Core developers have a responsibility to maintain a
stable platform for the ecosystem. I think it's less clear that they have a
responsibility to grow it or ask node operators to expend more resources in
order to support more users. As an operator of several nodes, I can
anecdotally state that I find their resource usage to be trivial and I
welcome more load.

- Jameson

On Thu, Jul 30, 2015 at 11:12 AM, Jorge Timón <
bitcoin-dev at lists.linuxfoundation.org> wrote:

> 1) Unlike previous blocksize hardfork proposals, this uses median time
> instead of block.nTime for activation. I like that more but my
> preference is still using height for everything. But that discussion
> is not specific to this proposal, so it's better if we discuss that
> for all of them here:
> http://lists.linuxfoundation.org/pipermail/bitcoin-dev/2015-July/009731.html
> 2) I think uncontroversial hardforks should also take miner
> confirmation into account, just like uncontroversial softforks do. We
> cannot make sure other users have upgraded before activating the
> chain, but we can know whether miners have upgraded or not. Having
> that tool available, why not use it. Of course other hardforks may not
> care about miners' upgrade state. For example "anti-miner hardforks,
> see
> https://github.com/jtimon/bips/blob/bip-forks/bip-forks.org#asic-reset-hardfork
> But again, this is common to all uncontroversial hardforks, so it
> would probably better to discussed it in
> http://lists.linuxfoundation.org/pipermail/bitcoin-dev/2015-June/008936.html
> (gmaxwell assigned to bip99 to my bip draft).
> 3) As commented to you privately, I don't like to make any assumptions
> about technological advancements (much less on economical growth). I
> don't expect many people to agree with me here (I guess I've seen too
> many "peak oil" [or more generally, peak energy production] plus I've
> read Nietzsche's "On the utility and liability of history for life"
> [1]; so considering morals, technology or economics as "monotonic
> functions" in history is simply a ridiculous notion to me), but it's
> undeniable that internet connections have improved overall around the
> world in the last 6 years. I think we should wait for the
> technological improvements to happen and then adapt the blocksize
> accordingly. I know, that's not a "definitive solution", we will need
> to change it from time to time and this is somewhat ugly.
> But even if I'm the only one that considers a "technological
> de-growth" possible, I don't think is wise to rely on pseudo-laws like
> Moore's or Nielsen’s so-called "laws".
> Stealing a quote from another thread:
> "Prediction is difficult, especially about the future." - Niels Bohr
> So I would prefer a more limited solution like bip102 (even though I
> would prefer to have some simulations leading to  a concrete value
> (even if it's bigger) rather than using 2MB's arbitrary number.
> Those are my 3 cents.
> [1]
> https://philohist.files.wordpress.com/2008/01/nietzsche-uses-history.pdf
> On Thu, Jul 30, 2015 at 4:25 PM, Pieter Wuille via bitcoin-dev
> <bitcoin-dev at lists.linuxfoundation.org> wrote:
> > Hello all,
> >
> > here is a proposal for long-term scalability I've been working on:
> > https://gist.github.com/sipa/c65665fc360ca7a176a6
> >
> > Some things are not included yet, such as a testnet whose size runs
> ahead of
> > the main chain, and the inclusion of Gavin's more accurate sigop checking
> > after the hard fork.
> >
> > Comments?
> >
> > --
> > Pieter
> >
> >
> > _______________________________________________
> > bitcoin-dev mailing list
> > bitcoin-dev at lists.linuxfoundation.org
> > https://lists.linuxfoundation.org/mailman/listinfo/bitcoin-dev
> >
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