The Blocksize War book now in Farsi language

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The book Blocksize War is now also available in Farsi.

Blocksize War, BitMEX tells the story of the Blocksize War

Blocksize War is a book published in March this year by BitMEX that tells the story of Bitcoin’s “block war”, which raged for over two years from mid-2015 to the end of 2017.

The issue that caused this clash was the size of the blocks on Bitcoin’s blockchain.

The war

Initially, Satoshi Nakamoto did not impose any limit on the size a single block could reach when he created the Bitcoin protocol. At the time, 2009, the problem did not arise, because all blocks were of minimum size.

Even in 2011, when Satoshi disappeared, the problem of block size had not yet arisen, because of the very small number of transactions that were required to be included in a block for confirmation.

As only one new block is mined every 10 minutes, if the maximum number of transactions that can be included in a block is very limited, the Bitcoin network could handle far too few transactions.

The fact is that to protect the decentralization of mining, it is better to impose a very small maximum block size, which contrasts with the need to validate as many transactions as possible by putting them in a block.

Therefore, on the one hand, there were those who preferred a smaller block size, which would guarantee greater decentralization at the expense of scalability, while on the other, there were those who were willing to sacrifice a little decentralization in order to increase the number of manageable transactions.

In support of the former, there began to emerge the hypothesis of using a second layer, later called the Lightning Network, which would allow off-chain transactions so as to be able to write fewer transactions on the blockchain but guarantee scalability.

In the end, the latter scenario seems to have prevailed, as the Blocksize War ended in a deadlock. Today, the maximum size of each block that can be registered on the Bitcoin blockchain is still 1 MB, exactly as in 2015.

Blocksize War ended in a deadlock

Bitcoin forks

In November 2017, it seemed that a change to the Bitcoin protocol to allow 2 MB blocks could be accepted, but this proposal was withdrawn at the last minute because it had not gathered widespread support.

The “Blocksize War” also gave rise to the Bitcoin Cash (BCH) project, which has far larger block size limits, more than an order of magnitude larger than those of Bitcoin.

Although this conflict ended with neither winners nor losers, it did have the merit of bringing to light a profound question, namely who controls the rules of the Bitcoin protocol. In the end, the decision not to change the protocol showed how difficult it is to change it if one cannot gather a very broad consensus. This year the Taproot soft-fork required 90% consensus among miners to be approved. 

It also clearly showed how difficult it is for a fork to take the place of the original protocol, as it was initially believed that BCH had some chance of toppling BTC due to much lower fees due to a larger block size. However, this did not happen, demonstrating the incredible robustness of the Bitcoin protocol, which has in fact resisted any attempt at modification.

 






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