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Author Topic: What happens when block generation becomes too slow?  (Read 2825 times)
gkelly
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April 10, 2010, 05:34:09 PM
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As the proof-of-work problem becomes increasingly more difficult the interval between block generation increases exponentially. What happens when the number of transactions in the system outpaces the block generation rate? Won't we be in the situation where we can no longer grow the block chain fast enough to include all of the ongoing transactions in blocks? If I've misunderstood something from the paper or the code please chime in and correct me, because I'm a touch worried about the future of the currency. Tongue

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theymos
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April 10, 2010, 06:29:27 PM
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The network adjusts the difficulty so that roughly 6 blocks are created network-wide every hour. Each block can contain lots of transactions.

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April 10, 2010, 08:02:14 PM
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If the network grows very large and that makes it difficult to get your transaction into a block for free, you can make it happen faster by paying a small transaction fee to the node that puts your transaction into the block chain. Bitcoin supports this functionality.

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gkelly
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April 10, 2010, 10:30:49 PM
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The network adjusts the difficulty so that roughly 6 blocks are created network-wide every hour. Each block can contain lots of transactions.

But http://bitcoin.org/faq#How_are_new_Bitcoins_created indicates that the difficulty of the POW is increased to halve the block production rate every 4 years. Since this asymptotically approaches 0, it seems problematic. If the rate was a constant 6 blocks/hour then it wouldn't be an issue, but the FAQ suggests otherwise.

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If the network grows very large and that makes it difficult to get your transaction into a block for free, you can make it happen faster by paying a small transaction fee to the node that puts your transaction into the block chain. Bitcoin supports this functionality.

This is true. However, if the POW problem is hard enough that even paying transactions have to queue indefinitely for inclusion in a block then they're no better off than those transactions that are included for free in the block (and have to queue for inclusion regardless).

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April 11, 2010, 05:45:10 AM
 #5

The number of coins created per block is halved every 4 years, not the number of blocks created. 50 coins are created per block now. When we reach about 200,000 blocks, each block will be worth 25 coins. After another 200,000 blocks (4 years), each block will be worth 12.5 coins.

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