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Author Topic: Size of BTC blockchain centuries from now...  (Read 10487 times)
nebulus
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September 14, 2012, 06:10:42 PM
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Hello, I am sitting here and downloading the transaction history in order to test the wallet I had backed up months ago. Let me tell you, it's been two days already and a major pain in the ass. But anyway, this got me thinking if we approach the future where BTC transaction are going to increase (exponetionally or not) does the blockchain size eventually become infinite? Also, how in the world people who can't afford equipment that can process large data, would benefit from BTC?

Thanks for answers!

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DeathAndTaxes
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September 14, 2012, 06:17:51 PM
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In 1980 a 26 MB hard drive cost ~$5,000 (or $193,000,000 per TB).
Obviously angry birds isn't viable.  I mean who is going to spend a couple hundred dollars in storage on a free game. Smiley
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September 14, 2012, 06:29:56 PM
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Other clients than Bitcoin-Qt are available, not all of which require the full blockchain: dre.redmartian.org/compare.htm

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nebulus
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September 14, 2012, 06:33:54 PM
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In 1980 a 26 MB hard drive cost ~$5,000 (or $193,000,000 per TB).
Obviously angry birds isn't viable.  I mean who is going to spend a couple hundred dollars in storage on a free game. Smiley

Well, you are assuming here that storage space/bandwidth will increase at the same rate as the number of transactions. I guess there is an equilibrium point somewhere here. Bitcoin just have to wait until better tech comes around. So technically, if there is no better tech, Bitcoins fucked.

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September 14, 2012, 06:35:59 PM
 #5

Right now, there is a hard-coded limit of 1 megabyte per block.

If we assume that limit never changes, that gives:
 1MB per block * 6 blocks per hour * 24*365.25*200 = 10,519,200 MB

... or 10.5 terabytes for the maximum size of the entire blockchain over the next 200 years (somebody check my math, I'm really good at dropping zeroes).

I expect that in 200 years 10 terabytes of storage will cost a few pennies.


Now whether or not that 1 megabyte per block limit should go away is hotly debated, and will be debated more and more as transaction volume increases.

How often do you get the chance to work on a potentially world-changing project?
nebulus
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September 14, 2012, 06:41:26 PM
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I expect that in 200 years 10 terabytes of storage will cost a few pennies.

Okay, I should have been more accurate in forming my thought.
Besides, just storage... there is bandwidth, HD (device speed), probably RAM is somehow also intertwined to search the transaction history, etc...


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September 14, 2012, 06:50:15 PM
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I expect that in 200 years 10 terabytes of storage will cost a few pennies.

Okay, I should have been more accurate in forming my thought.
Besides, just storage... there is bandwidth, HD (device speed), probably RAM is somehow also intertwined to search the transaction history, etc...


Then there's the option of a lite client that doesn't require downloading the blockchain.
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September 14, 2012, 07:13:11 PM
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I expect that in 200 years 10 terabytes of storage will cost a few pennies.

Okay, I should have been more accurate in forming my thought.
Besides, just storage... there is bandwidth, HD (device speed), probably RAM is somehow also intertwined to search the transaction history, etc...

All of which have been doubling in terms of x/$ for decades now.  While they don't all follow Moore's law exactly they are all exponential.  It is inconceivable that 50 years from now RAM, storage, computing power, and internet connectivity bandwidth won't be many magnitudes higher than today both in absolute terms and in performance per dollar.

Still as SgtSpike pointed out there are lite-nodes which don't require the complete blockchain.
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September 16, 2012, 12:07:00 PM
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30 years ago we had 1 mhz 8 bit processors,   maybe a whole whopping 128k of ram, 140k fancy new 5 inch floppy disks and you might have been one of the rich guys who could afford the fancy new 1200 baud accoustical modem instead of the 300 baud normally used to hook up to your favority BBS.  Hard drives were there, I think 40 meg was the high end for consumer at a price tag of about 1200 bucks if I remember properly.

Look at what we have today.

16 core, multi gigahertz processors,  128 Gigs of ram, solid state drives or you can grab a 3 terabyte HDD fairly cheap, and baud rates in the mega and giga range.  Let's not forget the 'free' internet access at many many coffee shops, mcdonalds, etc as you travel around, and libraries too.

Somehow I have a feeling that as the size of the chains grow, so will technology so it should not be an issue really.

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September 16, 2012, 12:33:50 PM
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Swarm client combined with 10-year-ledger, search the forum and rejoice Wink

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nebulus
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September 18, 2012, 01:57:35 PM
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Swarm client combined with 10-year-ledger, search the forum and rejoice Wink

+1

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September 25, 2012, 05:48:14 AM
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Right now, there is a hard-coded limit of 1 megabyte per block.


Is the 1 megabyte hard-coded limit something expected to change?

If it stays like that, I guess Bitcoin will not be good for micro payments as transaction fees will rise.

If the limit is raised, the blockchain will grow faster than expected.

Whatever is done has pros and cons

What direction is Bitcoin going to take? Who decides?

 Huh

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September 25, 2012, 07:20:34 AM
 #13

Right now, there is a hard-coded limit of 1 megabyte per block.

If we assume that limit never changes, that gives:
 1MB per block * 6 blocks per hour * 24*365.25*200 = 10,519,200 MB

... or 10.5 terabytes for the maximum size of the entire blockchain over the next 200 years (somebody check my math, I'm really good at dropping zeroes).

I expect that in 200 years 10 terabytes of storage will cost a few pennies.


Now whether or not that 1 megabyte per block limit should go away is hotly debated, and will be debated more and more as transaction volume increases.

Nice info, thanks Gavin  Smiley

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September 25, 2012, 12:39:46 PM
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I think the limit will go away and also that it won't matter.

Storage is really cheap guys. If you end up needing an array of terabyte drives to hold the whole chain, so what? Most nodes and virtually all participants in the system won't need the entire dataset.

Bear in mind not one but several organizations store the entire web and the history of almost every page, on hard disks.
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September 25, 2012, 01:45:18 PM
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Please note that the long time it takes to download the blockchain is not a download limit. It's because for each block the client check the blockchain to be sure it's ok and yaddayadda. So basically it's epic hard disk crunching.
Just downloading the blockchain would take less than a hour now, it's not even 4GB. It's the verify part that slow down it.
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September 25, 2012, 02:09:31 PM
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Block chain size growth will make installation of new full nodes expensive. Number of full nodes may decrease with time. In that case, power over Bitcoin network will likely move to few rich enough entities. Lightweight clients rely on full nodes.
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September 25, 2012, 02:34:02 PM
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You can run a full node that prunes (see Satoshis paper). The only time when you need nodes that have full block chain copies is to bootstrap new nodes from scratch, which will eventually be quite rare - but that doesn't imply there are only a few nodes, just that setting one up isn't something lots of people do every day.

Also, nothing stops you acquiring a copy of the database that you know is trustable (eg, there is a hash of it in the git repository) and bootstrapping from that, you don't have to rebuild the entire DB from scratch.
AbsoluteZero
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September 25, 2012, 03:03:06 PM
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I think the limit will go away and also that it won't matter.

Storage is really cheap guys. If you end up needing an array of terabyte drives to hold the whole chain, so what? Most nodes and virtually all participants in the system won't need the entire dataset.

Bear in mind not one but several organizations store the entire web and the history of almost every page, on hard disks.

The limit will not just ”go away”

Most of the network has to agree


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September 25, 2012, 08:31:08 PM
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You can run a full node that prunes
Which will save, say, 70% of space. One will still have to obtain a copy of remaining 30% at least, which will be a lot, still.

I am concerned about supposed future deficiency in new installations. Most existing installations will be shut down sooner or later for various reasons. Without enough new installations, number of full nodes can drop low enough for one powerful entity to be able to control most of the remaining.

that doesn't imply there are only a few nodes
In my opinion, few will be interested in hosting huge amount of data.

Also, nothing stops you acquiring a copy of the database that you know is trustable (eg, there is a hash of it in the git repository) and bootstrapping from that
Yes, I am talking about bootstrapping from trusted data. I'm not sure if full verification of the block chain will be feasible at all.
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September 25, 2012, 09:02:58 PM
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Please note that the long time it takes to download the blockchain is not a download limit. It's because for each block the client check the blockchain to be sure it's ok and yaddayadda. So basically it's epic hard disk crunching.
Just downloading the blockchain would take less than a hour now, it's not even 4GB. It's the verify part that slow down it.

Has anybody attempted/published a client or utility that could could verify the chain using openCL?

GPUS are used for the hashing involved mining now, is there a reason why it would be inefficient to verify the same way?

Maybe another project to put on my list? However, I would think that professional developers much more advanced in this technology have already considered it.  Grin

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