Will Bitcoin Block Size Reduction Cause Any Crypto Conflict?

Bitcoin core team have been quite busy in the past week as the argument over whether the block size of the Bitcoin blockchain should be reduced. The argument over a reduced block size has been going on for quite a size and the reason being the ever-increasing size of the full Bitcoin node, making it difficult for the users to conveniently run it.

The current Bitcoin block size is around 1 MB and the developers are looking into reducing it to 300kb. However, many who are against the idea believes that reducing the block size by 1/3rd would also reduce the transaction speed by the same amount. Thus, countering one issue without putting in the necessary research might open gates for many other problems on the network.

This article would try to look at both sides of the argument and give a better picture of whether Bitcoin block size reduction could cause any crypto conflict.

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Why the Urge to Reduce the Bitcoin Block Size?

Recently, during the Satoshi conference, there were two main proposals were made to the Bitcoin core team,

  1. Reduce the block size of Bitcoin
  2. Increase the upper limit of the total number of Bitcoin which is 21 million.

The second argument of increasing the upper limit of the total number of bitcoin was propagated to solve the problem of mining centralization by mining farms around the world. The questioner suggested that in the current scenario it’s almost impossible for a newcomer or someone without a powerful mining rig to look towards the mining option and earn some block rewards.

Coming to the main argument on why people are urging the core developers to reduce the size, currently, the Bitcoin node is around 200 GB, i.e you need more than 200 Gb of space on your computer to install and run a complete node. This is fairly difficult even in the modern day where PCs have become quite powerful. 

Mind you running a full node does not provide any form of incentive and it’s a done by the community members purely out of love for the concept of cryptocurrency. However, running a complete node plays a very significant part as it helps in maintaining the decentralization aspect of the cryptocurrencies.

A blockchain node is the copy of the complete database of the network. The node has a copy of all the transactions made on the network right from the genesis block.

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Why Decreasing The Block Size Might Create a Crypto Conflict

Bitcoin is an open-source cryptography project and the pioneer of cryptocurrencies, the bitcoin blockchain has predefined working structure and many don’t want to make any significant changes to the core which was invented and introduced by Satoshi Nakamoto.

The other valid point for a conflict of interest is that, reducing the block size would make the network even slower and if you are not new to the crypto world, you must have heard about bitcoin scalability issues a dozen times.

People who are against the idea believe that blindly focusing on one aspect of decreasing the size of the node might lead up to many other problems associated with it. Bitcoin bashers have always pointed out how slow the network is for local payment systems and centralized traditional modes are years ahead. This scalability issue led to the formation of the lightning network, which is an off-chain solution to increase the transaction speed.

Bitcoin Cash forked from the main Bitcoin network over the issue of block size reduction as Roger Ver did not want to make any significant changes to the fundamentals of the original network.

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What Could Be Other Alternatives

You must have seen the meme, “I am in it for the technology”, well the people who run complete nodes on their PC are the real ones who are in it for the technology as running a 200 Gb of file which might take a couple of days to download and other couples of days to be installed, does not really give back anything in return.

So, yes as a community we must look for alternatives to help them keep the network truly decentralized. However, we cannot try to minimize one problem at the cost of others. Instead of reducing the block size on the main network, we must look for off-chain alternatives, just as we did for the scalability issue.

The lightning network might not be a perfect solution, but for sure it would help the network on a temporary basis. Similarly, the core team might look for off-chain solutions like making a light version of the node, which still contains the complete database but with significant compressed size.

If running a node for the network is so important, its high-time the core team might look for incentivizing them, as it might encourage many others to join the league and the ones already operating it won’t feel like a burden.

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