The Block Size Debate Forks the Community

The infamous block size debate has launched a tidal wave of concerns and controversies. While major players express their support for various BIP’s, and no consensus about the matter is on the table as yet, the community rages about unprecedented censorship occurences related to the matter.

Bitcoin.org has recently removed Coinbase from the site after the latter had expressed its support for Gavin Andressen’s BIP101 and Bitcoin XT. Even though 95% of those voting on Github expressed their belief that the world’s second largest bitcoin wallet app should be listed back, the vote was completely ignored.

Bitcoin evangelist Andreas Antonopoulous tweeted about Bitcoin.org’s behavior calling it an ‘abuse’:

Coinbase’s CEO Brian Armstrong called Bitcoin.org’s decision to delist the company ‘disappointing’, and wrote:

Andresen’s proposal, however, failed to find any support in the community. Although the deployment was scheduled on 01.11.2016, as for now there are none BIP101-mined blocks whatsoever. According to the proposal’s specification, “deployment shall be controlled by hash-power supermajority vote (similar to the technique used in BIP34)”.

The censorship issue has troubled the XT supporters as well. Following a censorship scandal on reddit several months earlier, they called users to unsubscribe from /r/bitcoin and to subscribe to one of other bitcoin-related subreddits, which, according to them, are uncensored, as opposed to /r/bitcoin. Their website, xtnodes.com sided with Coinbase’s Brian Armstrong, who tweeted:

Armstrong also stated he abandoned /r/bitcoin.

On the other hand, Theymos has justified the censorship decision as follows:

“If Coinbase promotes XT to customers on coinbase.com and/or switches all of its full nodes to BIP 101 software, then Coinbase is no longer using the Bitcoin currency, and it doesn’t belong on /r/Bitcoin. This also applies to bitcointalk.org (where Coinbase would be restricted to the altcoin section). Bitcoin.it and bitcoin.org have similar policies. In fact, Coinbase was already almost removed from bitcoin.org due to your past statements in this matter.”

Another major bitcoin industry player, BTCC, expressed their support for another proposal, namely BIP 102, which implies block size increase up to 2 megabytes.

“You have to be careful. That’s why I urge caution and think maybe the temporary solution is to do 2 megabytes first and see how things go,” Bobby Lee, CEO at BTCC, stated.

“Bitcoin is successful because early adopters like it for what it is. And if bitcoin changes, then we risk losing those people. So if we change major features of Bitcoin such as decentralized, such as secure and all that, for example we change the limit of bitcoins, then people get turned off by that. That’s very important that we keep in mind,” he added.

Meanwhile, the SegWit project, which has garnered support from several prominent bitcoin developers, has announced it launched a testnet for the Segregated Witness system, dubbed SegNet. The testnet is intended to allow experimenting with various implementation of SegWit. The developers, including Pieter Wuille, Eric Lombrozo, Johnson Lau, Alex Morcos among others, have arranged several patches for the testnet. SegNet was launched on New Year’s eve, and has been operating since.

However, SegWit could not settle the block size dispute, though some have claimed it could essentially do so. Apparently, the community could not wait until any technological hard forks or soft forks, and started forking itself in advance.

  • Jordan

    I think that it’s funny that Reddit is the source for the news that Reddit likes to post. This is an extension of the circle jerk, do you see? Reality is that btc is still working as it should, and despite what people wish btc to be, we have btc as it is. If people want to vote, maybe they should mine.

    • Eugene Muratov

      It seems to me, the article is not about reddit. It’s about the community. Part of the community resides on reddit, so why should it be ignored?

      Mining is the best way to vote of course, however, not all of btc users are to be miners. Mining is business – different people make living of different things.

      The discussion is about what will happen with btc in the future, not today. And scalability is sort of an issue, i think 🙂

      • Jordan

        Scalability is an issue for the people who flock together trying to fix something that isn’t broken. Bitcoin isn’t a community, as it is decentralized. Reddit is a community of communities of people trying to be relevant. Miners are the bottom line. Many of them do not talk on Reddit or speak this language of “scalability”. Miners would profit off of a competing transaction market promised by full blocks. %90 of the transaction volume is likely .0001 send spams and “network testing” which will cease when 0% transaction fees stop getting the free lane.