[Bitcoin-development] Block Size Increase

Matt Corallo bitcoin-list at bluematt.me
Wed May 6 22:12:14 UTC 2015


Recently there has been a flurry of posts by Gavin at
http://gavinandresen.svbtle.com/ which advocate strongly for increasing
the maximum block size. However, there hasnt been any discussion on this
mailing list in several years as far as I can tell.

Block size is a question to which there is no answer, but which
certainly has a LOT of technical tradeoffs to consider. I know a lot of
people here have varying levels of strong or very strong opinions about
this, and the fact that it is not being discussed in a technical
community publicly anywhere is rather disappointing.

So, at the risk of starting a flamewar, I'll provide a little bait to
get some responses and hope the discussion opens up into an honest
comparison of the tradeoffs here. Certainly a consensus in this kind of
technical community should be a basic requirement for any serious
commitment to blocksize increase.

Personally, I'm rather strongly against any commitment to a block size
increase in the near future. Long-term incentive compatibility requires
that there be some fee pressure, and that blocks be relatively
consistently full or very nearly full. What we see today are
transactions enjoying next-block confirmations with nearly zero pressure
to include any fee at all (though many do because it makes wallet code
simpler).

This allows the well-funded Bitcoin ecosystem to continue building
systems which rely on transactions moving quickly into blocks while
pretending these systems scale. Thus, instead of working on technologies
which bring Bitcoin's trustlessness to systems which scale beyond a
blockchain's necessarily slow and (compared to updating numbers in a
database) expensive settlement, the ecosystem as a whole continues to
focus on building centralized platforms and advocate for changes to
Bitcoin which allow them to maintain the status quo[1].

Matt

[1] https://twitter.com/coinbase/status/595741967759335426




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