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Author Topic: BTC block timestamp limited to year 2106, will bitcoin work after that ?  (Read 1312 times)
marksmith1020
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July 30, 2012, 01:24:18 PM
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Hi!

I recently had a look at the BTC protocol specs, and found out that the time stamp field of a block, which indicates when the block was created exactly, is limited to 32 bit. Doesn't this mean, that the BTC system can only be used until the year 2106?
thanks,
Mark
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anu
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July 30, 2012, 01:30:04 PM
 #2

Hi!

I recently had a look at the BTC protocol specs, and found out that the time stamp field of a block, which indicates when the block was created exactly, is limited to 32 bit. Doesn't this mean, that the BTC system can only be used until the year 2106?
thanks,
Mark


Didn't look at the problem, but block order is determined by the hashes, so it should be possible to let the timestamp overflow.


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theymos
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July 30, 2012, 04:15:20 PM
 #3

unsigned int is good until 2106.  Surely the network will have to be totally revamped at least once by then.

There should not be any signed int.  If you've found a signed int somewhere, please tell me (within the next 25 years please) and I'll change it to unsigned int.

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wersaup
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July 30, 2012, 06:22:54 PM
 #4

shouldnt be an issue. if it ever becomes an issue, we could simply widen up the 32bits to a 64 bits(which is likely at some point anyhow, because processors that can treat 32 bit integers efficiently will die out sooner or later). or we could split it and put it into some of the unused bits of the block hash(assuming difficulty will never go that low that this overflows, which is a good assumption, imagining that a processor from a hundred years in the future probably has enough hashing power to be able to sustain the current entire bitcoin network on its own).

other than that, there's some more pressing issues, like the file size of the blockchain. IMHO there needs to be a solution that reduces the blockchain size by magnitudes(for example by removing old, redeemed transactions), or there will not be a hard drive that can store the blockchain at some point. Also, bitcoin is already slow enough at its current status, so before we look into a hundred years into the future, we should focus on todays problems.
stepkrav
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July 30, 2012, 06:49:58 PM
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i'm pretty sure by that year humanity (if any) will have discovered something far better than the current version of bitcoin.
Maged
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July 30, 2012, 07:09:16 PM
 #6

Should be safe enough to just overflow if we add some special-case code to handle the overflow events. If that's done in the next 50 years, people should have plenty of time to upgrade. Of course, this is assuming that we still haven't done a hardfork by then, which I find unlikely given that we're sometimes already about half way to the hard 1 MB block size limit for blocks.

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