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Posted by3 years ago
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Luke Dashjr - Bitcoin Expert
225 points · 3 years ago · edited 3 years ago
Gold2

Blocks are too large right now:

  • Full node percentage is at an all-time low, far under a safe percentage of 85%. If you ask people why they don't run a node, the reason is often tied to the block size.

  • Miners are de facto cheating by skipping the very validation that is a crucial part of their job. This breaks the little security light clients had. The cause for this is the time it takes to verify large blocks.

  • Mining requires membership in a centralised backbone (relay networks) in order to not take huge losses due to stale rate as large blocks take time to cross the p2p network. Centralised backbones like this are inherently not permissionless, and can be censored.

Despite this, Core developers have conceded all possible block size increase compromises. The soft limit default was raised prematurely, and now even segwit is proposed with a block size increase to 2-3 MB. Further increases are beyond the control of developers and miners, and require consent from the entire community.

No block size increase is needed now. All legitimate uses of the blockchain currently amount to approximately 750k/block average. If inefficient and microtransaction usage is put aside, likely below 500k would be sufficient.

No block size increase is likely to be needed in the near future. Before we reach the point that 1 MB is insufficient, we are likely to have the Lightning protocol working in production. This improves efficiency of blockchain usage by magnitudes, possibly reducing 1 MB block usage to ~10k.

Personally, I expect that another block size increase will be necessary eventually. But that's several years (decades perhaps) away, and hopefully the problems outlined in the first paragraph will resolve themselves by then.

At the end of the day, the decision for hardforks is made by the community as a whole, and no niche group (whether that be developers, miners, or anyone else) can force it on the network. Most of the community has rejected bigblocker hardfork proposals, and even a recent minimal increase proposal by myself (set 7 years into the future) saw significant opposition. Polls show that at this time, no block size hardfork is acceptable. Hopefully this will change in the future, at least when we begin to need it.

While much R&D has been done (mostly by the Core team) toward such a future hardfork, today, hardforks are not safe. GIven a few years more on this research, it should be possible to make an uncontroversial hardfork equally as safe as a softfork. (Perhaps this will improve community acceptance of a hardfork.)

Note: Bitcoin Core is an open source project with many independent people working on it. There is no formal/organized development team, only contributors. As such, while I think most developers would agree with at least most of the facts and opinions presented here, I speak only for myself.

level 2
Comment deleted by user3 years ago
level 2
25 points · 3 years ago

You shouldn't be asking why people aren't running nodes, you should be asking why are they. What motivates them to. Even a small node install a few years ago was a PITA to install and maintain, for no real benefit other than "contribute to the network" and maybe "keep my own coins secure." If you want more nodes, I think you should focus on incentives for running nodes (like pay to relay or something), not just making them easier to run (which, even at the current size, that ship has long sailed).

level 2
19 points · 3 years ago

No block size increase is needed now. All legitimate uses of the blockchain currently amount to approximately 750k/block average. If inefficient and microtransaction usage is put aside, likely below 500k would be sufficient.

In my opinion the definition of "legitimate use" is the most crucial part hear. Can you define what's a legitimate use/transaction for you, and how you know that only 750k is used for those uses/transactions (with reference if possible).

Thanks!

level 2
Comment deleted by user3 years ago
level 2
15 points · 3 years ago

All legitimate uses of the blockchain

Nobody who believes in Bitcoin and decentralization should ever say that.

If the fee is paid, the use is legitimate.

level 2
12 points · 3 years ago

No block size increase is needed now. All legitimate uses of the blockchain currently amount to approximately 750k/block average

Though I'm all for status quo (rather than BU or any other hostile takeover), I don't entirely agree with you. The reason legitimate uses amount to ~750k/block might be exactly because of the small block size limit. Businesses are put off to use Bitcoin because their use cases require far more processed txs per second and we won't be getting it anytime soon.

Now, I'm not saying the limit needs to be raised but I think "we" definitely need Schnorr signatures and other optimizations so "we" can fit more txs into a single block. This would help alleviate fee pressure a bit while not raising the cost of running a full node.

level 2
57 points · 3 years ago

It's amazing how much in agreement I tend to be with Luke.

Tip my hat to you for holding your principled opinions even when they are super-unpopular. Doing so with your face showing out instead of anonymously like others do me included... not sure if wise but definitely brave.

level 2
5 points · 3 years ago

Is 1MB sufficient for opening and closing lightning channels ? I was under the impression that for lightning to function at scale we would need bigger blocks anyway.

level 2
13 points · 3 years ago

Most of the community has rejected bigblocker hardfork proposals, and even a recent minimal increase proposal by myself (set 7 years into the future) saw significant opposition.

you forgot to say, that your proposal would have been a defacto decrease of the block size for round about 7 years. I guess it's that what the community rejected drastically. No one wants to go back to 250 KB blocks except maybe you and few others.

There a two ways, either we wake up and make Bitcoin function, or we are soon history. Oh yea once in awhile, do you remember Bitcoin?

level 2
Original Poster18 points · 3 years ago

Thank you for your extensive, detailed and well-written reply. I am fully aware that every dev only speaks for their individual self, which is why I changed the title from "Request to Core team" to "Request to Core devs" before posting.

Would it be going too far to request you to link this thread to other contributors/devs of the Core project so that they can express their own views?

level 2
22 points · 3 years ago

Thank you for everything that you do and all the other Devs that have worked so hard and tirelessly to make bitcoin what it is today.

level 2
5 points · 3 years ago

from a technical point of view you are right, but from economical you are wrong, because there are alot of transactions not finding into the block.

what is your point / arguments for / against bigger blocks to grow the ecosystem and making transactions almost for free to speed up the adoption of bitcoin. its still a niche, but it could have a monopol status.

level 2
3 points · 3 years ago

A little off-topic, but is it possible to connect a light client to a specific full node for verification? I'm specifically referring to mycelium (if it makes a difference).

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Created Sep 9, 2010