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Author Topic: Bitcoin Core/XT Explanation in simple terms  (Read 3223 times)
Anonymailer
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May 31, 2015, 05:28:36 PM
 #1

As a result of the lack of clarity regarding the current debate about Bitcoin's future, I've tried to put it in simple terms for those who're trying to figure out what's going on.
The below is also available on my blog: http://fabulouspanda.co.uk/blog/index.php?post/2015/05/31/The-Bitcoin-Core-vs-XT-debate-and-necessary-clarifications.

The news that Bitcoin may fork has caused widespread panic among the community. Here I hope to explain a few important facts regarding it's wider implications.

The most well known developers of Bitcoin have raised important issues regarding the long term viability of the Bitcoin network, and the various solutions proposed going forwards. Due to the lack of consensus, this has resulted in a great deal of fear and uncertainty in the user base.

The code which powers the Bitcoin network can be found here: https://github.com/bitcoin/bitcoin This code has evolved as long as Bitcoin has been around. But the debate over the block size limit and how to manage it has caused some of the best known developers to set up another client for bitcoin, here:

https://github.com/bitcoinxt/bitcoinxt
Edit: The bitcoinxt github has existed since 2014, but it's only now over the max block size debate that Gavin Andresen has leant support to it

The former is now referred to as "Bitcoin Core", and the latter "Bitcoin XT". For the time being, you can use the same wallet with both bitcoin clients, and they run on the same network. From the XT github README:

"Bitcoin XT is more experimental than Bitcoin Core, and has a strong emphasis on supporting the needs of app developers and merchants. By running it you not only provide additional services to the network but help build confidence in the implementations, contributing towards consensus for inclusion in a future version of Bitcoin Core.

XT uses the same data directories as Core so you can easily switch back and forth."

If/when the two change dramatically enough, that may no longer be true, in which case the network will 'fork', resulting in a new Bitcoin XT network incompatible with the Bitcoin Core network, which would require different wallets. But the important thing to bear in mind is that if you have a backup of your current wallet now, you can run both clients/networks - essentially, if you have 1 Bitcoin, after the fork (if you have today's wallet backed up) you will have 1 Bitcoin, and 1 'BitcoinXT', each with independent values based on their popular adoption. As Bitcoin is currently by far the dominant cryptocurrency, it is extremely unlikely that both possible future versions of Bitcoin would either cease to exist or lose all value, and the developers are doing their best to avoid a fork and reach a common solution to the necessary evolution of the technology.

So please, try to keep the debate about this big news relevant to the facts and keep in mind that as with all Bitcoin news, many people will attempt to use the news to manipulate those without full knowledge of it to affect the price in their favour. We need discussion, not panic.

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May 31, 2015, 05:44:54 PM
 #2

What if you don't run either client & 90% of your stash is in cold storage?

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May 31, 2015, 05:48:58 PM
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So what are the proposed solutions that aren't the 20MB blocksize fork? I want a list.

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May 31, 2015, 05:53:59 PM
 #4

So what are the proposed solutions that aren't the 20MB blocksize fork? I want a list.

https://github.com/bitcoinxt/bitcoinxt

What if you don't run either client & 90% of your stash is in cold storage?

You will have to import the keys to spend the coins. Depending on the client you import the keys to you join either (or both) networks.

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May 31, 2015, 05:54:04 PM
 #5

What if you don't run either client & 90% of your stash is in cold storage?


you just import your wallet.dat in bitcoinXT and you are fine.


@Anonymailer

good thread.

Anonymailer
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May 31, 2015, 05:54:11 PM
 #6

What if you don't run either client & 90% of your stash is in cold storage?
The same applies. If you keep your wallet stored 'cold', in the event of a fork you will still be able to use that cold wallet with either or both networks.

So what are the proposed solutions that aren't the 20MB blocksize fork? I want a list.
That's not as easy to put in simple terms and possibly shouldn't be included in this thread, but the XT project proposes immediately increasing the max block size to 20MB whereas the Bitcoin Core project has yet to reach a solution. This might help inform you more:
http://qntra.net/2015/05/gavin-threatens-to-quit-bitcoin-development-and-join-hearns-fork/

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May 31, 2015, 05:58:10 PM
 #7

So what are the proposed solutions that aren't the 20MB blocksize fork? I want a list.

blockstream, basically sidechains, 20 of those is like having the current limit raised to 20

as a far as i know there are no others alternative, either 20mb or sidechains
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May 31, 2015, 06:01:50 PM
 #8

What if you don't run either client & 90% of your stash is in cold storage?
The same applies. If you keep your wallet stored 'cold', in the event of a fork you will still be able to use that cold wallet with either or both networks.

So what are the proposed solutions that aren't the 20MB blocksize fork? I want a list.
That's not as easy to put in simple terms and possibly shouldn't be included in this thread, but the XT project proposes immediately increasing the max block size to 20MB whereas the Bitcoin Core project has yet to reach a solution. This might help inform you more:
http://qntra.net/2015/05/gavin-threatens-to-quit-bitcoin-development-and-join-hearns-fork/

Thanks man, this was the simple 'dumbed down' answer I was looking for.
I have a healthy stash but I'm not a techie or computer wizard, tbh I have no need to be.
I'm just an investor but thank you for easing my fears/nerves.
I just didn't want to be left with useless or out of date coins etc.

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May 31, 2015, 06:18:21 PM
 #9

Good explanation, I will link this thread when I'll see an user that wants to know more about the '20MB fork" (and other features).

Well done!
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May 31, 2015, 07:05:24 PM
 #10

Thank you for this! This cleared up a lot. so since you said you can pick what network you want to import the private keys to if you have cold storage, does this mean that essentially you double your BTC? Also if you choose to import on one network, can you ever send a transaction to the other network? I would guess if ou wanted this you could just make a paper wallet and then send the money back to cold storage and then import the wallet on the other network?

Thanks

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May 31, 2015, 07:17:41 PM
 #11

Thanks for the simple explanation. What are the implications if someone uses other wallets? Example blockchain.info wallet, electrum, and many others? I think this will cause serious uncertainty in the beginning if the blockchain forks. It is best to avoid a fork if possible.  Embarrassed
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May 31, 2015, 07:19:13 PM
 #12

It was hard to understand the difference of Bitcoin Core/XT but after reading this easy and well explained thread now many things are cleared in my mind about this upcoming and expected changes. Thanks a lot.
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May 31, 2015, 07:26:54 PM
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Thanks for the simple explanation. What are the implications if someone uses other wallets? Example blockchain.info wallet, electrum, and many others? I think this will cause serious uncertainty in the beginning if the blockchain forks. It is best to avoid a fork if possible.  Embarrassed

when electrum or any other client require you to choose the path of your bitcoin client, you simply tell him to use core or xt, no difference

for the OP, there will be a dump in the price(50%) if we can really double our coins with this fork, i don't like that at all
Anonymailer
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May 31, 2015, 07:30:22 PM
 #14

Thank you for this! This cleared up a lot. so since you said you can pick what network you want to import the private keys to if you have cold storage, does this mean that essentially you double your BTC? Also if you choose to import on one network, can you ever send a transaction to the other network? I would guess if ou wanted this you could just make a paper wallet and then send the money back to cold storage and then import the wallet on the other network?

Thanks
The most important thing is to backup your Bitcoin wallet now.

You then don't have to choose between one or the other, you can use both, which would not quite mean you have double the Bitcoin but the same quantity of two different coins, Bitcoin Core Coins and Bitcoin XT Coins.

Whether it actually forks comes down to whether the miners/pool operators adopt XT and allow transactions larger than 1MB to be confirmed. If half do and half don't it could be quite messy, luke-jr who operates the eligius.st pool supports the Sidechain plan so that pool may not be likely to switch to XT. However due to the vested interests of the 'Blockstream' company https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=1075323.0 the other developers and miners are hesitant to adopt side chains and are likely to support the XT project, which by increasing the max block size to 20MB gives us as a community longer to reach a consensus around how to avoid a constantly increasing max block size.

If a full fork doesn't happen before XT confirms a block larger than 1MB the transactions in those larger blocks would only be confirmed on the XT network but without intervention would not be confirmed by the Core network. Hopefully it will be around a year until we see blocks that size and if there's a fork it will have happened by then, and it will have become clear whether the community prefers Core or XT.

Personally I'm inclined to support increasing the max block size for now, as the community has definitely not decided as a whole to commit to side chains and if a change as significant as side chains is implemented the developers need to convince us of their case for it. I would like to see the XT team come up with an alternative solution.

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May 31, 2015, 07:47:51 PM
 #15

Thanks for the simple explanation. What are the implications if someone uses other wallets? Example blockchain.info wallet, electrum, and many others? I think this will cause serious uncertainty in the beginning if the blockchain forks. It is best to avoid a fork if possible.  Embarrassed

when electrum or any other client require you to choose the path of your bitcoin client, you simply tell him to use core or xt, no difference

for the OP, there will be a dump in the price(50%) if we can really double our coin with this fork, i don't like that at all

This can be quite the problem if everybody suddenly has double coins (although different. Especially if they don't go 50/50 in price, but one becomes dominant. Early sellers of the weaker coin can make huge gains this way..

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May 31, 2015, 07:50:30 PM
 #16

Thanks for the simple explanation. What are the implications if someone uses other wallets? Example blockchain.info wallet, electrum, and many others? I think this will cause serious uncertainty in the beginning if the blockchain forks. It is best to avoid a fork if possible.  Embarrassed

when electrum or any other client require you to choose the path of your bitcoin client, you simply tell him to use core or xt, no difference

for the OP, there will be a dump in the price(50%) if we can really double our coin with this fork, i don't like that at all

This can be quite the problem if everybody suddenly has double coins (although different. Especially if they don't go 50/50 in price, but one becomes dominant. Early sellers of the weaker coin can make huge gains this way..
I expect one will become dominant. The aim of the XT team is to convince the rest of the Core team to increase the max block size until the community is convinced of more drastic changes to the network.

MacMiner - The first, best and easiest to use native Mac coin mining app: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=197110.0

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May 31, 2015, 08:08:45 PM
 #17

my question is how does this affect mining? Can I solo mine with Bitcoin XT, and since nobody else is mining on it find blocks quickly?
I am supposing that mining is necessary for it to be effective - how else can it implement 20mb blocks?
How will core and XT affect the mining difficulty?
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May 31, 2015, 08:14:15 PM
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my question is how does this affect mining? Can I solo mine with Bitcoin XT, and since nobody else is mining on it find blocks quickly?
I am supposing that mining is necessary for it to be effective - how else can it implement 20mb blocks?
How will core and XT affect the mining difficulty?

Right now Bitcoin Core and Bitcoin XT are two clients for the same network. You can't solo mine XT with low difficulty because the blockchain hasn't split. What matters is whether miners start allowing larger block sizes or Core implements side chains at which point you can expect a full fork.

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May 31, 2015, 08:28:12 PM
 #19

If/when the two change dramatically enough, that may no longer be true, in which case the network will 'fork', resulting in a new Bitcoin XT network incompatible with the Bitcoin Core network, which would require different wallets. But the important thing to bear in mind is that if you have a backup of your current wallet now, you can run both clients/networks - essentially, if you have 1 Bitcoin, after the fork (if you have today's wallet backed up) you will have 1 Bitcoin, and 1 'BitcoinXT', each with independent values based on their popular adoption.
I've done some research, and I have looked at Gavin's email about this, and I found that this statement is false.

He is not going to actually fork Bitcoin into two different coins, he is forking Bitcoin Core into two different projects, one without the increase and one with. He would create in Bitcoin XT another version of blocks, say v5. Once a majority of the miners are creating valid-by-old-rules blocks with the new version number, then he creates a soft-fork so that people update to a new version where all of the new-rule-blocks are valid, then once a super-majority uses the new client (greater than 90% of the network), the hard-fork occurs and anyone still using the old clients which reject the larger blocks are then left in the minority and left behind. By forking it in this way, only one coin will remain with the majority and be accepted, and the remaining minority will be left behind.

I will post the email here once I find it.

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May 31, 2015, 08:31:06 PM
 #20

As only block size is being increased, wont bitcoin core coins be compatible to bitcoin XT as their block size is lower than the proposed one for bitcoin XT ? Just wondering Roll Eyes
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