- In 2017 began one of the most controversial debates in the cryptocurrency world of all time: whether to raise the Bitcoin block size limit or not?
- SegWit Bitcoin Improvement Proposal was the one that led to the eventual hard fork to Bitcoin due to failed consensus from the majority of Bitcoin nodes.
- The Bitcoin scalability problem is one that had plagued the cryptocurrency since its early days when it began gaining larger user adoption.
Looking back at Bitcoin’s past, there was a time before it became the world’s most popular cryptocurrency before it became the poster child for cryptocurrencies before it reached the astounding value it has today when the Bitcoin community saw the need for the cryptocurrency to scale.
Scalability Biggest Issue in cryptocurrency World
The Bitcoin scalability problem is one that had plagued the cryptocurrency since its early days when it began gaining larger user adoption. The size limit of a single megabyte for a block was committed to the Bitcoin code in 2010 by inventor Satoshi Nakamoto.
It remained that way for a long time to come until the scalability problem emerged when the 1MB limit was being hit regularly, and transactions began queueing up to be validated on the blockchain.
Thus, in 2017 began one of the most controversial debates in the cryptocurrency world of all time: whether to raise the Bitcoin block size limit or not?
Increasing the size meant that more transactions could be accommodated on a single block allowing for lesser transaction fees with risk to the decentralization and more expensive operation to run the network.
Keeping the block size limit the same would mean that the system would remain more secure and decentralized while maintaining a strong incentive for miners due to raised transaction fees.
Although the debate was far-reaching and highly impactful in Bitcoin history leading in a hard fork that brought the genesis of Bitcoin Cash, there was a time before all the propaganda when most of the early Bitcoin community genuinely wanted Bitcoin to scale.
Bitcoin’s scaling, even to some limited degree, was essential from the very start, as can be seen on multiple community threads during the early days of Bitcoin. Even Bitcoin’s famous caretaker and one of its earliest lead developers, Gavin Andresen, predicted very early on that Bitcoin scaling beyond the 1MB would be important if and when the limit would be hit.
But as the cryptocurrency gained more traction and popularity, the community backing it grew, and so did the pool of diverse opinions from the community, which eventually lead to the strong debate on whether block sizes would increase, in 2017 when the fated hard fork occurred.
SegWit: The Bitcoin Improvement Proposal
The push for Bitcoin’s upscaled block size limit was pushed for by many, including one of Bitcoin’s earliest investors, Roger Ver. He believed that those who stood against increasing block size limit were the same people that wanted Bitcoin to remain a digital investment rather than a form of money.
The Segregated Witness (SegWit) Bitcoin Improvement Proposal was the one that led to the eventual hard fork to Bitcoin due to failed consensus from the majority of Bitcoin nodes.
SegWit’s purpose was to prevent transaction malleability unintentionally, allow for working around certain base protocol restrictions like the block size limit (to be increased 2-4MB) and allow for optional data transmission.
There was a time before the censorship, lies, blacklisting and propaganda where big-block Bitcoin was the consensus position by nearly everyone who had been involved with Bitcoin since the early days. https://t.co/IGpbgu7mej
— Roger Ver (@rogerkver) February 11, 2020
Although, when SegWit was activated due to failed consensus, a hard fork came across the Bitcoin network resulting in a new chain that came to be known as Bitcoin Cash.
Bitcoin Cash had a larger block size of 8MB compared to SegWit Bitcoin’s 2-4MB. This allowed for larger transaction throughput on Bitcoin Cash, and since then, Bitcoin Cash has remained the “scaled” version of what Bitcoin (BTC) could have been.
Bitcoin has grown and come a long way since SegWit and Bitcoin Cash has been no slacker, either holding the 4th largest cryptocurrency by market cap spot. Bitcoin currently trades at $10,305 and Bitcoin Cash at $474.23 as of press time.