Sunday, February 5, 2023

Bitcoin Unlimited Continues Losing Support as Node Count Suddenly Nosedives

Bitcoin Unlimited Continues Losing Support as Node Count Suddenly Nosedives

A sudden plunge in the number of Bitcoin Unlimited nodes on the network has community members wondering if this controversial version of Bitcoin is on its deathbed.

Also read: What Happened to Last Year’s Mycelium Crowdsale?

Bitcoin Unlimited Losing Steam

During the early morning hours of April 24, Coin.Dance reported a sharp decline in the number of nodes on the network supporting Bitcoin unlimited. Going from a high of 800 nodes at the beginning of the month, Coin.Dance’s chart depicted a drop to 223 nodes.

Popular Twitter use “WhalePanda” noticed this drop and tweeted about it, sparking a conversation about the future of Bitcoin Unlimited.

A subsequent Tweet from WalePanda drew an even greater reaction from Bitcoin’s Twitter community, posting a picture of Bitcoin Unlimited’s node chart compared to Core’s.

Another Bug to Blame?

A day before the nosedive, a Bitcoin Unlimited node operator posted on Reddit about a possible memory leak present in the client.

Citing a tweet that mentioned the bug, the node operator said the memory leak issue might be the culprit of the Bitcoin Unlimited syncing problems he had experienced.

In that tweet, the user shared a screenshot of an email asking about a possible memory leak. The email said:

“Bitcoind memory usage has grown to 5.2GB after 1 month of running. I restarted it and memory usage went down to 380MB. Is it normal or is [there] some kind of memory leak?”

Responding to the topic on Reddit, a few other Unlimited node operators reported similar issues — some even saying their nodes had crashed due to low memory.

What’s Really Causing the Node Decline?

A day after the Reddit thread was published, concerned participants questioned the stability and security of Bitcoin Unlimited, speculating that the memory leak had caused the massive decline in nodes on April 24.

“At 9 GB [of memory usage] after one month here,” said Reddit user “notR1CH.”

“I’m really beginning to have my doubts about the safety of BU given all the recent issues.”

Alternatively, the drop in Unlimited nodes could have stemmed from a general decline in trust for Bitcoin Unlimited as a whole. With the memory leak bug added to a growing list of issues discovered in Unlimited’s short lifespan, the community’s trust in the alternative client’s developers may simply be waning.

BitGo engineer and Core supporter Jameson Lopp told Bitsonline that “a few hundred” of the nodes may have gone offline because of a general loss of support for Unlimited.

However, he said, “some could be due to node operators that don’t actually use their nodes and didn’t notice they crashed” from the effects of the memory leak.

“Hash rate speaks louder than trolls on the internet,” Roger Ver — Bitcoin Unlimited’s main supporter — told Bitsonline. Ver pointed to statistics on Coin.Dance that show Bitcoin Unlimited in the lead against SegWit in terms of hash rate.

“BU has more support and more hash rate than ever before,” he said.

As of press time, the number of Bitcoin Unlimited nodes has returned to 646, according to Coin.Dance. While that’s a significant recovery from the 223 low, it’s still more than 150 nodes short of the early April all-time-high.

What do you think caused the drop in Unlimited nodes, was it the memory leak bug? Let us know your thoughts down below. 

Image via The American Genius

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