What happens when you give out too much power to individuals? In this case, the mining community? The chances are you will end up losing control over your own creation! That’s what seems to have happened with the Bitcoin, which has got the core developer, Gavin Andresen thinking of moving out of his own project to join Bitcoin-Xt over lack of consensus regarding the changes to block size on the Bitcoin Blockchain.
One can’t help but feel that Bitcoin has grown too big too fast. When Bitcoin was first introduced in 2009, no one had thought about the Blockchain being put to use for purposes other than recording and verifying Bitcoin transactions. Now Blockchain is used for storing and time stamping non-transactional information too. With the introduction of Bitcoin 2.0, a lot of new Blockchain based applications are coming up.
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The Blockchain with its current block size of 1 MB can support up to 7 transactions per second. It is time certain changes are made to the Bitcoin Blockchain to improve transaction speed and to accommodate Bitcoin 2.0 applications that run on Blockchain. There have been proposals to increase the block size from 1 MB to 20 MB, which has been met with staunch opposition from the mining community (for their own selfish reasons). If the Blockchain size increases, the mining pay-outs may fall, and also, few from the development community have raised concerns about the integrity and stability of the Blockchain itself.
Fed up of a few entities from the Bitcoin community blocking the proposal, thereby possibly endangering the whole bitcoin network, Gavin Andresen the core developer of Bitcoin network and the chief scientist at the Bitcoin Foundation has issued an announcement. The announcement, made on the Bitcoin developer mailing list states that, if the community fails to come to a consensus about the increase in block size, he will shift focus and energy towards the offshoot Bitcoin-Xt instead of Bitcoin core.
Bitcoin-Xt is a fork of Bitcoin core, developed by Mike Hearn. Mike has been pushing for increased block size. Bitcoin-Xt is expected to have a block size of 40 MB, set to increase incrementally at regular intervals.
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The developer community agrees that the block size needs to be increased, at the same time they are also worried that it may compromise the decentralized nature of Blockchain and reduce long-term pay-outs to miners. We have to wait for the outcome, to see whether the Bitcoin network prevails or perishes due to lack of innovation.