Bonus Episode – Bitcoin Core has Lost Consensus

There is a lot of bad or just out-right wrong information going around about Bitcoin XT and BIP101. We discuss the upgrade process and provide context given the history of the digital currency. Reddit moderators have censored the discussion claiming Bitcoin XT is an alt-coin. Bitcoin XT nodes are under attack through TOR. We point out an article that has so many errors about bitcoin it is alarming.

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Correction:  If you assume the every transaction size is around 300 bytes then the bitcoin network can process less than 6 transactions a second.  Transactions usually are between 250 bytes and several kilobytes.

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Score One for Consensus, Maybe?

Today it was announced by eight major players in the bitcoin space that they would be running software that is comparable with BIP101 by December of this year. If BIP 101 is adopted, then the capacity of the bitcoin network would octuple, and be followed by scheduled capacity increases.

Of the five main developers, Pieter Wuille of Blockstream supports a modest network capacity increase in 2017 long after a transaction backlog is expected. Gregory Maxwell also of Blockstream also opposes BIP 101. Jeff Garzik promotes his BIP 100 but is concerned about inaction if BIP 100 isn’t accepted. Wladimir J. van der Laan also has a BIP proposal that is not numbered yet. While Gavin Andresen has helped release software called Bitcoin XT that will implement BIP 101 not before January 2016 only if the network supports the change.

There are other developers that have weighed in on this topic. There’s Mike Hearn who originally wrote Bitcoin XT. When Bitcoin XT was first written, it did not change the capacity of the bitcoin network. BitcoinXT was the first client that would support the lighthouse project which allows crowd funding campaigns with bitcoin. It was Mike Hearn who agreed to implement BIP101 in Bitcoin XT with the help of Gavin Andresen.

Other developers currently against BIP 101 include Peter Todd, and Luke-jr.  With so much division it has been impossible for Bitcoin Core to adapt to bitcoin’s expected growth. This fact is probably responsible for the hundreds of Installations of Bitcoin XT and  a few BIP101 blocks that were mined last week.  Some reaction to this divergence from Bitcoin Core spurred many comments about consensus.  There was a growing concern that this sequence of events would lead away from consensus.

Alas, these concerns may not be valid. As there is now a workable, and fairly convenient solution to allow for the growth of the network. This could serve as a rally point. People may now see a path to the next generation bitcoin network. There seems to be no indication the bitcoin core team will not break out of its division and inaction that has plagued that team for over two years. In fact Luke-jr has even suggested that he might change his mind. Could this be the very beginning of the building of a consensus that some people have been clamoring for? Time will tell, time will tell.

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