So - is the 20 MB block size a good thing for Counterparty?

I’m pretty sure it is, as we’ll have a harder time leveraging something exotic like the Lightning Network, and having more space in the base ledger means more space to party. Does anyone have a competing opinion? For reference: https://github.com/gavinandresen/bitcoin-git/commit/5f46da29fd02fd2a8a787286fd6a56f680073770

It appears there is some contention between devs: https://www.dropbox.com/s/tljgh7wq7c7x7e6/Screenshot%202015-05-03%2018.24.23.png?dl=0

To put it mildly, yes :slight_smile:
There’s a lot of good comments from the 1MB camp.

I was wondering what would happen in case the 1MB fork wins.

1 Like

That makes a lot of sense. Making any non-incremental change (increasing the block size 20x in one go for example), seems like an inordinately unhinged idea. Why not try 2MB?

Peter Todd says “I think it’s quite premature.”

There’s a very good discussion (there’s an audio recording as well) between Peter and Gavin at LTBcoin.
https://letstalkbitcoin.com/blog/post/community-roundup-21-solving-problems

I’m now firmly in Peter Todd’s camp.

With the current block size less than 1/5000th of 1% of the world can send 1 TX per day. The idea that we can solve this with TX fees is beyond absurd, I can not believe how far the Bitcoin community has fallen.

Satoshi never intended for the 1MB limit to be permanent and that is well documented.

Now we are allowing core devs, who run competing alt coins, to intentionally keep technical limitations in place on the bitcoin network in order to profit from creating work arounds. *edited out specific coins

I think the emotional attachment to Bitcoin from the average user is being overestimated. If Bitcoin becomes to expensive or difficult to use I personally believe there would be a shift to a more appropriate chain or perhaps the user would give up on cryptocurrency entirely in favor of something that has worked for them before - cash and credit.

Bitcoin has value as a near frictionless non censorable value transfer network. If we begin to add friction, Bitcoin loses a significant amount of value, ruling out the possibility of a 3rd world country adopting Bitcoin as a reserve currency in addition to hampering remittance efforts.

Bitcoin is a social network, its value in many ways is dictated by Metcalfe’s Law. Bitcoin could very well go the way of Myspace if we are not careful.

Step in the shoes of a late adopter. If a cup of coffee is a 5 cent litecoin TX and a 25 cent Bitcoin TX which will I consistently use? Better yet, if a TX costs 25 cents due to artificial limits on the Bitcoin network, why would I not just go back to using my credit card where I earn 2% back for my cup of coffee?

There is this wild sense of entitlement sweeping the Bitcoin space, the notion that alt coins can not overtake Bitcoin or that the success of Bitcoin is set in stone. I was under the impression we were building a “World Wide Ledger” and at 400k max TX per day this can not be a World Wide Ledger under any circumstance. Best case with 1MB limit Bitcoin can be a piece of a larger World Wide Ledger composed of a variety of cryptocurrencies.

Something to consider, we started with a 32MB block size limit and a 1MB limit was put in place as spam prevention. This was years ago and the environment surrounding Bitcoin is significantly changed. 1MB was not meant to be used as a bottleneck, the limit was meant to be used to protect the network until it was more mature. Satoshi has quite a bit written about the block size limit that is now being conveniently ignored by those opposed to an increase.

For a Counterparty (XCP) specific question, once the Bitcoin chain is either crowded and expensive or no longer secure due to a decrease in value, does Counterparty have a contingency plan for switching its primary chain if it was to become necessary? I have heard devs talk about how Counterparty is not tied to Bitcoin if things were to go south, if you have any additional information on this scenario I would love to hear more.

Thank you for your time fellow crypto enthusiasts, I hope we come out of this a stronger network than before!

Peter also said that and he thinks that’s a lesser evil than making such a significant change (increasing the block size).
If you listen to the interview on LetsTalkBitcoin you’ll hear his concerns and the one about additional miner centralization is IMHO the greatest.

Do you mean to say Peter’s involvement in Viacoin represents a conflict of interest? I don’t think it does as Viacoin doesn’t use the bitcoin blockchain and it’s not really a competitor to bitcoin.

A very valid counterargument to that that Peter makes is what happens when 20MB is not enough? Another hard fork?

Well, like Peter said we should consider all possibilities, including innovative approaches to solve these challenges in other ways that do not require a hard fork.
Incidentally, just today LetsTalkBitcoin published another good interview about wallet-to-wallet transfers (without the involvement of miners). Multiple solutions and workarounds may appear this year.
I agree with you on the need for more economical transfer fees, but we need to remember that it’s not just a choice between lower and higher transaction fees. It’s more like this:

  • Lower fees via a hard fork (and a larger block size)
  • Lower fees via workarounds and innovations
  • Higher fees via do-nothing

I don’t know and I recently asked Chris if he can find more about that.
@brighton36, do you know?

Thank you for the detailed response. Yes there are some valid concerns that come as a result of miner centralization but this is not a question of absolutes and in my opinion I think the benefits from an increase to 20MB are worth a marginal degree of centralization. 100MB would certainly be too much at this time. 20MB is perhaps too much but it is important to remember that the default block size would not immediately go to 20MB, it just raises the upper limit.

Even an increase to a hard cap of 10MB would offer some breathing room for Bitcoin to grow while better long term options such as tree chains, sidechains, and lightning network are finished. Bitcoin needs to become more embedded in systems considering its integration such as Nasdaq before we can seriously talk about a transaction fee market.

I do not agree with the idea that we should intentionally force transactions off-chain because Bitcoin is not a particularly good unit of account at this time and much of its value is still based on speculation. I can not see a scenario where Bitcoin is a useful store of value while the majority of transactions are happening off-chain. Some of the value for any currency is based on the velocity of the currency.

With that said I do not think Bitcoin can be digital gold until it has a larger network effect.

Yes but I edited it out after the fact after reading more about the project itself. I prefer to have devs work on projects that align incentives though. Counterparty for instance using Bitcoin.

Other members of the team may have their own opinions here. But IMO - there will not be a time anytime soon (if ever) that Counterparty will primarily target a chain other than Bitcoin’s. It’s good to support the other chains to a limited degree, as the separation of concern in the code will be well delineated. But, I believe that counterparty (and Bitcoin) is primarily a settlement tool , and that as such the cost to transact on Bitcoin is a feature (as measured in its corresponding immutability), and not a bug. I would expect that lightning network, or something like it will be used to settle small transactions.

As for Bitcoin being ditigal Gold - I would suggest that you let Bitcoin be Bitcoin, and not try to shoehorn it into a 20th century analogy. Whether Bitcoin is a good store of value remains to be seen, but in the time I’ve been following the technology, it’s certainly been performing wonderfully :slight_smile:

1 Like

Isn’t this this max blocksize thing really a non-issue?
(Edit: I mean, keeping an artificial 1MB limit is a problem. No limit at all would not be a problem).

Whenever a miner finds a block he can choose how many transactions to include, right? The more txs, the higher the orphan risk (because someone else may find a block around the same time and the smallest block is likely to propagate faster). Therefore there’s a strong incentive for making blocks small.

I’d say that even with no max blocksize, the miner bias of making blocks too small would be of a greater concern.

If the concern is that some rough, spammy miner (not caring about profit) includes enormous blocks, why not just put the max at last 1000 blocks’ average size, or something of that nature? If bandwidth, cpu power and storage increase by a factor of a hundred over the next decade, fine, Bitcoin will scale well and 100 MB blocks will be the norm. If technology plateaus, well, txs will be expensive but workarounds such as offchain transactions, lightning network (???) may be good enough compromises.

I think time required to mine a block is determined by the difficulty level.
Miners could exclude some transactions (after they “score” the generation bounty) to minimize time spent, but in practice that doesn’t impact their times a lot, so most include low-fee transactions anyway. It is economical to not mine the smallest block size possible.

Related to overall debate, Adam Back’s opinion:

Mike - your and Gavin’s decision to promote a unilateral hard-fork and code fork
are extremely high risk for bitcoin and so there remains little choice. So I apologise
again that we have to have this kind of conversation on a technical discussion list.
This whole thing is hugely stressful and worrying for developers, companies and
investors.

Secondarily do you understand that even if you succeed in a
unilateral fork (and the level of lost coins and market cap and damage
to confidence is recoverable), that it sets a precedent that others
may try to follow in the future to introduce coercive features that
break the assurances of bitcoin, like fungibility reducing features
say (topically I hear you once proposed on a private forum the concept
of red-lists, other such proposals have been made and quickly
abandoned)

Edit: I like this point he made and I think I said something similar in earlier comments, above.

It’s not a free choice it is a security/scalability
tradeoff. No one will thank us if we “scale” bitcoin but break it in
hard to recover ways at the same time.

More here: https://www.mail-archive.com/bitcoin-development@lists.sourceforge.net/msg08276.html

Doesn’t the orphan risk increase with larger blocks? And cannot each miner choose the size of their blocks? Assuming yes on both, isn’t there a small-block-bias?

This quote by Mr. Gavin Andresen indicates that (if I interpret it correctly) that this effect is negligible with a fast relay network but otherwise (with the current system?) they are better off keeping blocks small. It would be interesting to see some real numbers / calculations.

gavinandresen Gavin Andresen - Bitcoin Expert 6 points 14 days ago
yes-- they will connect to the fast relay network or keep blocks small until other new block announcement optimizations are implemented.

My understanding is:

  • There’s a minimum and maximum block size
  • A small block size currently isn’t widespread (as I mentioned above, from reading about this on the Web it appears including additional transactions (above the very minimum) increases the block size that is roughly commensurate with earnings, which agrees with Gavin’s comments if I understand them correctly.

The minimum is one transaction - the coinbase transaction.
Implicitly the minimum size is therefore about 0.00026 MB

https://blockchain.info/block/0000000000000000122b66cdfc34d7acbb1f2e54bb0112b26be5797411892b40