[bitcoin-dev] Hard fork proposal from last week's meeting

Johnson Lau jl2012 at xbt.hk
Tue Mar 28 17:34:23 UTC 2017


You are probably not the first one nor last one with such idea. Actually, Luke wrote up a BIP with similar idea in mind:

https://github.com/luke-jr/bips/blob/bip-hfprep/bip-hfprep.mediawiki <https://github.com/luke-jr/bips/blob/bip-hfprep/bip-hfprep.mediawiki>

Instead of just lifting the block size limit, he also suggested to remove many other rules. I think he has given up this idea because it’s just too complicated.

If we really want to prepare for a hardfork, we probably want to do more than simply increasing the size limit. For example, my spoonnet proposal:

https://lists.linuxfoundation.org/pipermail/bitcoin-dev/2017-February/013542.html <https://lists.linuxfoundation.org/pipermail/bitcoin-dev/2017-February/013542.html>

In a HF, we may want to relocate the witness commitment to a better place. We may also want to fix Satoshi's sighash bug. These are much more than simple size increase.

So if we really want to get prepared for a potential HF with unknown parameters, I’d suggest to set a time bomb in the client, which will stop processing of transactions with big warning in GUI. The user may still have an option to continue with old rules at their own risks.

Or, instead of increasing the block size, we make a softfork to decrease the block size to 1kB and block reward to 0, activating far in the future. This is similar to the difficulty bomb in ETH, which will freeze the network.

> On 29 Mar 2017, at 00:59, Wang Chun via bitcoin-dev <bitcoin-dev at lists.linuxfoundation.org> wrote:
> 
> I've proposed this hard fork approach last year in Hong Kong Consensus
> but immediately rejected by coredevs at that meeting, after more than
> one year it seems that lots of people haven't heard of it. So I would
> post this here again for comment.
> 
> The basic idea is, as many of us agree, hard fork is risky and should
> be well prepared. We need a long time to deploy it.
> 
> Despite spam tx on the network, the block capacity is approaching its
> limit, and we must think ahead. Shall we code a patch right now, to
> remove the block size limit of 1MB, but not activate it until far in
> the future. I would propose to remove the 1MB limit at the next block
> halving in spring 2020, only limit the block size to 32MiB which is
> the maximum size the current p2p protocol allows. This patch must be
> in the immediate next release of Bitcoin Core.
> 
> With this patch in core's next release, Bitcoin works just as before,
> no fork will ever occur, until spring 2020. But everyone knows there
> will be a fork scheduled. Third party services, libraries, wallets and
> exchanges will have enough time to prepare for it over the next three
> years.
> 
> We don't yet have an agreement on how to increase the block size
> limit. There have been many proposals over the past years, like
> BIP100, 101, 102, 103, 104, 105, 106, 107, 109, 148, 248, BU, and so
> on. These hard fork proposals, with this patch already in Core's
> release, they all become soft fork. We'll have enough time to discuss
> all these proposals and decide which one to go. Take an example, if we
> choose to fork to only 2MB, since 32MiB already scheduled, reduce it
> from 32MiB to 2MB will be a soft fork.
> 
> Anyway, we must code something right now, before it becomes too late.
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