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Author Topic: Can bitcoin support a blockchain that is 1000 times bigger? Is it scalable?  (Read 853 times)
szangvil
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May 09, 2013, 02:10:04 PM
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The current blockchain is about 10GB big. What's gonna happen when bitcoins become what we all want it to be? We are gonna have 1000 times more transactions a day. The blockchain will become a monster. Can the bitcoin network/clients can handle such a huge blockchain?
The Bitcoin network protocol was designed to be extremely flexible. It can be used to create timed transactions, escrow transactions, multi-signature transactions, etc. The current features of the client only hint at what will be possible in the future.
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Stephen Gornick
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May 09, 2013, 07:38:37 PM
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We are gonna have 1000 times more transactions a day.

Well, there are per-block limits, though those are increasing and not permanent.

Can the bitcoin network/clients can handle such a huge blockchain?

 - http://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Scalability#Storage



Stampbit
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May 10, 2013, 09:33:56 PM
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No, bitcoin is not scalable, but something will replace it by the time it becomes centralized.
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May 10, 2013, 09:37:25 PM
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Bitcoin is definitely scalable. The number of transactions is proportional to n2, where n is the number of users. n cannot exceed the population of Earth, which is expected to peak at 10 billion. By contrast, storage space grows exponentially (even faster than Moore's Law).
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May 11, 2013, 09:30:17 AM
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The problem may be, that the size of blockchain - O(n^2) - determines the complexity of transaction validation, so some naive implementation either require O(n^2) of fast memory, or slow search through the blockchain. Then, if the amount of transactions is O(n^2) and the blockchain size is O(n^2) too, it may end in something nasty as O(n^4) time complexity.

And, yes, I know about hashing, patricia trees, etc. But I point out that the storage is just one piece of rather complex build.

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oakpacific
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May 11, 2013, 09:50:16 AM
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The problem may be, that the size of blockchain - O(n^2) - determines the complexity of transaction validation, so some naive implementation either require O(n^2) of fast memory, or slow search through the blockchain. Then, if the amount of transactions is O(n^2) and the blockchain size is O(n^2) too, it may end in something nasty as O(n^4) time complexity.

And, yes, I know about hashing, patricia trees, etc. But I point out that the storage is just one piece of rather complex build.

The transaction fee is in place to prevent exactly the O(n^2) worst case scenario I think. For any real usage of the network you are not going to send transactions to everyone in the world. And even if no fee is charged you definitely won't go to O(n^2) transactions/block where n is the world population, there will only be 2.1*10^16 satoshis ever in existence, which is much smaller than 10^20.

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