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Author Topic: Please do not change MAX_BLOCK_SIZE  (Read 12996 times)
justusranvier
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June 01, 2013, 04:57:39 PM
 #61

In any case what matters is how we can make Bitcoin scale now while remaining decentralized and censorship resistant, not what Satoshi thought Bitcoin should be four years ago.
I agree with this. It would be nice if this sentiment would come out more often so that nobody would think bring up what Satoshi's original intentions may or may not have been in these conversations is a valid point.
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Peter Todd
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June 01, 2013, 05:12:37 PM
 #62

In any case what matters is how we can make Bitcoin scale now while remaining decentralized and censorship resistant, not what Satoshi thought Bitcoin should be four years ago.
I agree with this. It would be nice if this sentiment would come out more often so that nobody would think bring up what Satoshi's original intentions may or may not have been in these conversations is a valid point.

You have brought up the bigger issue though of what people think decentralized actually is, or how important it is. For instance as jdillon pointed out recently in a pull request the Bitcoin Foundation doesn't include the promotional and protection of decentralization in its bylaws. I'm not sure jdillon had the right approach in that pull-request, but the responses of various foundation board members are interesting, especially with regards to anonymity and privacy. There certainly is a segment of the Bitcoin community that doesn't see decentralization as particularly important, and would happily sacrifice it in favor of extremely low cost payments of any size. (remember how the conference had the tagline "Bitcoin - The future of payments")

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June 01, 2013, 05:17:19 PM
 #63

OK, so now I see some bitcoin war having a chance to pop up in a near future. People vs corporations?
It's not good, and I surely hope to stand on the right side.
Though, I don't think it's likely for me to move to the enemy camp, unless they just force me. But I will surely try to fight, FWIW, because I want to have a bitcoin node in my home 10 years from now. I mean, without a need to have also an A/C to cool it Smiley

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justusranvier
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June 01, 2013, 05:27:10 PM
 #64

You have brought up the bigger issue though of what people think decentralized actually is, or how important it is. For instance as jdillon pointed out recently in a pull request the Bitcoin Foundation doesn't include the promotional and protection of decentralization in its bylaws. I'm not sure jdillon had the right approach in that pull-request, but the responses of various foundation board members are interesting, especially with regards to anonymity and privacy. There certainly is a segment of the Bitcoin community that doesn't see decentralization as particularly important, and would happily sacrifice it in favor of extremely low cost payments of any size. (remember how the conference had the tagline "Bitcoin - The future of payments")
What I find most frustrating about these debates is that people who profess concern about centralization in the form of resources needed to run a node propose as a solution centralization in the form of restricted transaction rates and blockchain gatekeepers and nobody seems to care or notice the discrepancy.

Etotheipi proposed, and maaku is implementing, a solution to allow people who don't have the resources needed to store a huge blockchain to still be first class network citizens. If people really are concerned about resource usage why aren't they involved in this project? If there are problems in the proposal, are they offering possible solutions or at least actively assisting with the search?

When someone puts forward something as a problem, and then shows absolutely no interest in possible solutions to the problem, then it's reasonable to assume that they don't actually want to solve the problem and it's being brought up as an excuse to further some unstated agenda.
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June 01, 2013, 05:29:18 PM
Last edit: June 01, 2013, 05:40:43 PM by Seth Otterstad
 #65

I'll just post this again from retep's ridiculous video thread, since I don't see enough people arguing the point about Moore's law.  Moore's law means that even with no blocksize limit, we will be able to store the blockchain on PCs forever.

The blockchain is not currently increasing in size linearly in a straight line, as you can see here:
http://blockchain.info/charts/blocks-size?timespan=all&showDataPoints=false&daysAverageString=1&show_header=true&scale=0&address=

It is increasing exponentially because we are in the adoption stage where more users are added.  Once bitcoin reaches its potential market size, or once it hits a blocksize limit, the blockchain size will increase linearly.  We will never see sustained exponential growth in the number of monetary transactions that humans need to conduct.

Bitcoin merchant adoption and transaction fees have grown 1000% over last year, which is an extremely high rate that temporarily outpaces hard drive capacity growth, but this cannot be sustained very long.  Hard drive space and internet speed show no signs of slowing their exponential growth rates, so they will always outpace the bitcoin blockchain in the long run.  Exponential growth will always win out over linear growth.  People will be able to store the blockchain on their personal computers forever.  Removing the blocksize limit doesn't change that.

There was a recent article in Bitcoin Magazine that analysed the blockchain size, but most of their articles are not available online.  The article looked at some worst case scenarios, and even using really conservative estimates, 20 years from now people will easily be able to store the whole blockchain on their phone and download the whole thing in a few hours.

Hard drive capacity over time:

World internet bandwith over time:


World internet bandwidth is smashing the pace of Moore's law.  Tor bandwidth also follows Moore's law.

1980:  300 baud
1990: 14.4k
2000: 384k dsl
2010: 20mb cable
2013: 1000mb fiber

Storage capacity is also likely to have radical breakthroughs that smash the pace of Moore's law.

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piotr_n
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June 01, 2013, 05:30:20 PM
 #66

Quote
OK, so now I see some bitcoin war having a chance to pop up in a near future. People vs corporations?
It's not good, and I surely hope to stand on the right side.
It's actually quite interesting topic to consider.
Splitting the coinbase into forks, where one stays at the limit, while the other one goes unlimited in size, or there are more branches, with different limits...

I think technically that could be done quite easily. Almost naturally - you just let a fork go and see how the market acts upon it.
BTC would split into BTC1 and BTC2 and from that moment each of them would have a different exchange rate. At the beginning, probably both below the last common price, but later - obviously either of them is still better than any other concurrency..
Maybe that could actually work Smiley

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June 01, 2013, 05:31:59 PM
 #67

...There certainly is a segment of the Bitcoin community that doesn't see decentralization as particularly important, and would happily sacrifice it in favor of extremely low cost payments of any size. (remember how the conference had the tagline "Bitcoin - The future of payments")

Eventually it will dawn on the business types that only a handful of entities are capable of consuming the whole pie, and that if Bitcoin proper can remain a rock solid core there will be many many slices of pie which will be plenty big enough to keep them busy.  At least those who's primary interest is economic.

Admittedly it is bit presumptuous for me to play business guy however.  It is probably true that one can be severely dis-advantaged by jurisdictional differences in a marketplace which is truly global.


amincd
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June 01, 2013, 05:36:12 PM
 #68

Bitcoin can always be forked into a block size limited version if we find censorship is becoming a problem with larger blocks. Artificially limiting the block size now is creating a problem to solve a non-problem.
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June 01, 2013, 05:44:00 PM
 #69

Bitcoin can always be forked into a block size limited version if we find censorship is becoming a problem with larger blocks. Artificially limiting the block size now is creating a problem to solve a non-problem.

Wishful thinking.

If censorship was a problem, that would be because hashing power was under the control of authorities, who would simply use that hashing power to 51% attack the censorship resistant Bitcoin. Changing the PoW algorithm doesn't help either, as new coins haven't been able to survive 51% attacks by people having fun, let alone focused attacks, for a long time.

We've got one shot at getting a decentralized PoW-based consensus system implemented. Don't screw it up.

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June 01, 2013, 05:46:14 PM
 #70

We've got one shot at getting a decentralized PoW-based consensus system implemented. Don't screw it up.
Sounds like a word of a wise man Smiley

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amincd
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June 01, 2013, 05:46:51 PM
 #71

If a >50% attack is a problem, it won't matter what the block size is, unless you're suggesting a mechanism by which larger blocks leads to authorities getting hold of hashing power..?
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June 01, 2013, 05:47:56 PM
 #72

I think he means we should stay together and join our power to protect the net Smiley

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amincd
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June 01, 2013, 05:48:51 PM
 #73

He doesn't mean that and in any case, a parallel chain could use merged-mining.
piotr_n
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June 01, 2013, 05:50:23 PM
 #74

well it's sort of rude to talk about what he means while he's reading it, so can answer himself.
but I started - I know, sorry Smiley

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Peter Todd
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June 01, 2013, 06:37:15 PM
 #75

If a >50% attack is a problem, it won't matter what the block size is, unless you're suggesting a mechanism by which larger blocks leads to authorities getting hold of hashing power..?

Larger blocks lead to it being increasingly difficult to mine anonymously, thus making it easier to authorities to control those mining.

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June 01, 2013, 06:54:08 PM
 #76

I put the possibility of world governments coming together to force bitcoin mining nodes to direct their hashing power to attack a parallel blockchain as pretty close to zero and way down on the list of things to worry about.
QuinnHarris
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June 01, 2013, 06:55:35 PM
 #77

I expect at this time bandwidth is the major bottle neck.  At least in the US I think we can expect someone wishing to run a full node to have at least 1Mbps of bandwidth.

All transactions will be first broadcast then transmitted again in a block.  There is also overhead for the inventory notify messages.  I will guess that protocol overhead, inventory and addresses take up about as much bandwidth as transactions so needed inbound bandwidth is about 3x what is needed to just transmit the blocks.  Slow connections would naturally limit outbound traffic as nodes would fetch inventory from other hosts that advertise that inventory sooner.  That said it might be worth improving the client to take into account connection speed between nodes.

1Mbps of bandwidth is 75MB per 10 minutes.  I would expect someone would want bandwidth for other things so lets assume 30MB available.  This means someone with 1Mbps of bandwidth should be able to handle up to about 10MB blocks.

Given this I wouldn't expect raising the limit to 10MB would have a significant centralizing effect but significantly higher would.  This doesn't account for tor.

Bitcoin does have the potential to grow significantly faster than network and computer speed increases so transaction growth to a point where block size would become prohibitive is a real future possibility.  I expect we have a little time before this becomes an a significant issue but its clearly best to have a solution prepared before its absolutely necessary.

Could we get decent statistics on the bandwidth of internet connections through the world and basically set the block size to ensure something like 95% of the fixed internet connections would be able to run a full node?  Lots of fudge factors in this calculation but its still less arbitrary than 1MB.

As soon as the block limit is hit it will raise transaction fees and there will be a significant need to justify the limit.  The more objective and reasonable the way that limit is set the better.
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June 01, 2013, 06:55:52 PM
 #78

I put the possibility of world governments coming together to force bitcoin mining nodes to direct their hashing power to attack a parallel blockchain as pretty close to zero and way down on the list of things to worry about.
I, at the other hand, think that this is the most important thing that we should actually worry about Smiley

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justusranvier
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June 01, 2013, 06:58:56 PM
 #79

If a >50% attack is a problem, it won't matter what the block size is, unless you're suggesting a mechanism by which larger blocks leads to authorities getting hold of hashing power..?

Larger blocks lead to it being increasingly difficult to mine anonymously, thus making it easier to authorities to control those mining.
I2P is better suited to high bandwidth hidden services than Tor, and a I2P transport protocol is already under development.

Also mining anonymously is only essential to the survival of the currency if every government in the world simultaneously banned Bitcoin. As long as this is not the case it's possible for mining as an industry (not necessarily the individual miners) to route around oppressive legal environments.
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June 01, 2013, 07:33:50 PM
 #80

People who are genuinely interested in solving the problem of full node resource usage, instead of just using it as a red herring to further some ulterior motive, can contribute bitcoins and/or code towards actually fixing the problem.
I don't like the way you're talking to me, but out of the respect for other people reading this thread, I'm not going to reply on your void accusations.
But you are wrong - all the way.

FWIW piotr_n UTXO indexes don't help scalability with regards to bandwidth because you still have to receive every transaction on the P2P network to mine profitably or validate properly.

It does, however, greatly alleviate the network, storage, and processing requirements for non-mining full nodes, allowing for modest devices (a 3G phone, for example) to operate with some assurance of security. This discussion isn't just about miners.

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