It looks like Blockstream CEO Adam Back has finally acknowledge the need for bigger blocks — at least in the short-term. Back — in response to a tweet from Bitmain founder Jihan Wu — said that a block size increase would be a possibility for Bitcoin Core after thorough testing.
Back said the following in response to Wu on Twitter:
probably mid-term with enough testing yes. but in the mean time it would be nice if people would stop spamming. thanks.
— Adam Back (@adam3us) November 13, 2017
Why has Back all of a sudden opened his mind to the idea of increasing the block size on the Core blockchain, when he and his supporters have spent the last 3 years actively blocking protocol upgrades that introduce bigger blocks?
Well, according to Back, Core had never been opposed to on-chain scaling. However, he said, they only see it as a mid-term solution, a means to an end as we wait for the full deployment of second-layer solutions.
Adam Back in Favor of Big Blocks All Along? Bitcoin Cash Suggests Otherwise
While Back and other Core developers may have said that in the past, their actions in response to possible block size increases suggest that they don’t agree with that scaling solution at all.
The mere existence of Bitcoin Cash, for example, is the result of Core refusing to allow a non-contentious hard fork implementation of bigger blocks. Cash forked from Bitcoin for the sole purpose of experimenting with on-chain scaling, something Core had loudly opposed for years.
Furthermore, Core even had a chance to accept bigger blocks with the SegWit2X hard fork, which got canceled due to a lack of support. A large portion of the opposition came from Core and its supporters.
After the fork cancelation, transactions flooded the Bitcoin network — presumably from people trading in their BTC for BCH. Due to the Core chain’s small block size limit, the mempool quickly filled up, and the network racked up a backlog of over 100,000 transactions. And when a transaction did go through, it came with a hefty miner fee.
Meanwhile, Cash continued processing transactions quickly and at very low fees, since miners can produce as big of a block as they need to push payments through the network.
Time to Declare a Winner?
But does that mean BCH is the winner in the block size debate? Is Back’s endorsement of a possible block size increase on the Core chain a sign of defeat for Blockstream?
Of course not. At this point, it’s too early to tell which solution will produce the best scalability, or if the network needs both to scale globally. The BCH chain very well could end up so large that no one can afford to run a node. On the other hand, second-layer solutions on the Core chain could lead to centralized financial institutions, eliminating Bitcoin’s usefulness as a tamper-proof currency.
But until we find that out, the scaling wars will continue.
What do you think of Adam Back’s announcement? Share your thoughts in the comments section.
Images via ForkLog, Johoe