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

Douglas Roark joroark at vt.edu
Tue Mar 28 17:50:42 UTC 2017

On 2017/3/28 10:31, Wang Chun via bitcoin-dev wrote:
> The basic idea is, let's stop the debate for whether we should upgrade
> to 2MB, 8MB or 32MiB. 32MiB is well above any proposals' upper limit,
> so any final decision would be a soft fork to this already deployed
> release. If by 2020, we still agree 1MB is enough, it can be changed
> back to 1MB limit and it would also a soft fork on top of that.

While I think this idea isn't bad in and of itself, there is an
assumption being made that the community would come to consensus
regarding a future soft fork. This, IMO, is a dangerous assumption.
Failure would potentially leave the network at a hard fork well past any
current proposal. It would also potentially lead to miners becoming
hostile players and making political demands. ("Soft fork down to X MB
or I'll shut down 15% of the network hashrate and work to shut down more
elsewhere.") I'd hope we can all agree that such a scenario would be

I do agree that the idea of giving everybody plenty of time to plan is
critical. (Telecom providers need months, if not years, to plan for even
simple upgrades, which often are not as simple as they look on paper.) I
just think this proposal, while well-meaning, comes across as a bit of a
trojan horse as-is. I can't get behind it, although it could potentially
be molded into something else that's interesting, e.g., Johnson Lau's
Spoonnet. Fork-to-minimum, while introducing its own potential problems,
would put much less pressure on full nodes, and on the ecosphere as a
whole if the max needed to be soft forked down.

(I'd also like to see SegWit go live so that we can get an idea of how
much pressure there really is on the network, thereby giving us a better
idea of how high we can go. I still think we're flying a bit blind in
that regard.)

Douglas Roark
Cryptocurrency, network security, travel, and art.
joroark at vt.edu
PGP key ID: 26623924

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