The scaling of bitcoin has been a topic of substantial debate over the past few months. Many different opinions have been voiced regarding SegWit and Bitcoin Unlimited. Some people feel bitcoin will get all of the scaling it needs without either of these solutions, though. An intriguing train of thought that warrants further investigation.
A Third Way to Scale Bitcoin?
With most of the focus on Segregated Witness and Bitcoin Unlimited lately, one would start to wonder if there is no other viable way to scale bitcoin. Deciding between 1MB and 2 MB blocks seems rather straightforward, yet that is not necessarily the case. After several long months of virtually endless discussions, a lot of people are getting tired of the status quo.
It seems clear to assume neither SegWit nor Bitcoin Unlimited will reach its threshold to activate on the network anytime soon. Rather than trying to find middle ground between these solutions, the “supporters” of each development branch are more intent on pushing their own agenda. However, one has to keep in mind there is a likely chance neither solution will win in the end.
If that were to happen, things would not look all that great for bitcoin. With the fees already rising over the past year, it is evident something will need to change. Continuity clogging up the mempool is not the answer to this problem by any means If nothing is done about the situation, fees will reach the US$1 value and more in just a few years from now. That would render the whole point of bitcoin being a cheaper solution to move money around the world moot.
However, it seems evident transactions will move off-chain sooner rather than later. That can still be achieved with SegWit or even the Lightning Network, according to Bitcoin developer Jimmy Song. A lot of companies claim the majority of their transactions take place off-chain already, which would indicate this is happening a lot more frequently than people realize. In fact, it is basically what a bidirectional payment channel in bitcoin does, even though this concept has not been embraced by the masses just yet.
While this concept sounds great on paper, there is a high chance of ending up with a centralized network. It would appear Song is advocating the use of private blockchains to make bitcoin more capable of supporting a multilateral payment network. An interesting train of thought, although not too many bitcoin users may see the merit of such a system right now. Then again, bitcoin will need to scale somehow, and keeping other solutions in mind is never a bad thing.
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