Core has consistently positioned itself against a block size increase.
In this posts I address the most common arguments I find on tweets and texts from Core devs.
Argument #1: BU is a piece of crap
You may say Bitcoin Unlimited is crappy, untested, QA-less code made by incompetent or evil people who wants to destroy the bitcoin dream. You may say Roger Ver is plotting with ViaBTC to bring the whole thing down just because he can. Or so the saying goes.
None of these things matter. Not a single bit.
“Since BU is a piece of shit, then Core should not try to offer a direct hyper-majority activated block size increase solution which would allow future changes in block size be made without the need of another hard fork”.
As Mr. Molyneux would say: not an argument. Doesn’t follow. Non sequitur.
If Core, which currently has the trust of the vast majority of the community, wants to argue why they shouldn’t HF now, they should just ignore BU and convince everyone based on valid arguments.
Argument #2: A hard fork brings a high risk of chain splitting
I agree with this statement.
But if you tried: “A hard fork now brings a higher risk of chain splitting than a hard fork later in the future”. Evidently false.
Unless Core PR can convince everyone 1MB will be forever sufficient – granted segwit, schnorr and any optimizations – for either on-chain or off-chain scaling, a hard fork with block size increase will eventually be needed.
If this is inevitably the case, it is much more likely to result in a chain split in the future, when there will be more participants, more layers, more protocol ossification as Andreas puts it, than if it is done now when only a bunch of people are throwing sticks at each other on twitter.
Argument #3: Increasing the block size leads to more centralization
Ok. 1024KB is a totally randomly chosen number. It was not studied beforehand, nor AB tested or anything. It was arbitrary. At best an educated guess by a genius.
Milton Friedman once visited India, and asked why the workers were using shovels and hoes instead of modern machinery. They told him it created more jobs, thus it was better for the economy. Milton then asked why didn’t they use spoons instead, it would certainly create even more jobs.
So if smaller blocks might be better for bitcoin, why not just decrease the block size? It can be gracefully made with a soft fork and a miner vote. It would even “filter spam out” even more.
This is just the reductio ad absurdum part of the rebuttal.
The second part is about the dream that a full node can be run on a Raspberry Pi like computer. In plain english: as the cost of the hardware required to run a full node increases, the incentive to run a full node decreases. True.
But this is just one out of many incentives that economic agents are subject to when deciding to run a full node.
Another one is this: as the acceptance, usage and stake businesses have in bitcoin increases, the incentive for those businesses to run a full node increases.
If we take this last incentive alone to contrast with the first. Imagine a business that has half its gross revenue in bitcoin. What do you think is more important to it? Hardware cost?
Let me put it another way: do you think the future of the bitcoin network is made of nodes run by individual bitcoin cypherpunk enthusiasts who are highly sensitive to a 3 figure cost, or by thousands of business spread across the world?
And if this was not sufficient to ignore hardware cost at all, we all know as certainly as the sky is blue that hardware will get cheaper faster than bitcoin could ever catch.
Argument #4: No block size increase would be sufficient forever
As Garzik himself puts it: “Economic actors that wish to see the speed limit [block-size limit] at X or Y – thus dictating the free market – will lobby the Chief Scientist and other ‘core’ developers, individually, in private, in public, with carrots, and with sticks. When [the] Bitcoin market cap [grows 10 times] or more, the lobbying [will be] even more intense. Yet there is no single human or commitment on the planet capable of picking a good speed limit.”
This is an appeal to probability. We just don’t know so far in the future. We don’t know what the hardware will look like, or the internet links, or the sidechains.
Argument #5: Lightning is the best way
First, how do you know? It’s like saying Java is better then Python. It’s up to the market to decide.
And even granted it is the best scaling approach. Why can’t we do both, and let Lightning, when ready and adopted, supplant on-chain transactions by market choice?
I’m personally amazed by the ingenuity of Lightning. But it still has unsolved issues, like decentralized routing. My guess? Won’t be available for consumer use before 2018. Not a chance.
And, blocks, are, full, now.
Argument #6: if you’re not satisfied, you can always fork
Again, this is just a dodgy statement. Not an argument in favor of keeping the current 1MB limit.
It is also a very dangerous path. We now know this is a not so impossible idea, and in fact, has a considerable chance of happening.
And it would hurt us all, no matter what your position on this debate is.
Argument #7: we are smart, and anyone who is smart knows increasing block size is a bad idea
Core supporters deserve better than that. I’m far from being as brilliant a developer as you guys. But whatever the explanation is, give it out. Try us. Maybe we will understand and let this matter rest.
But don’t give the paternalistic “you wouldn’t understand, we know what’s best for everyone” crap.
Take this burden off your shoulders.
Develop the best solution you can come up with. Show us why you deserve the trust and position you have before the community. Give it a long activation time. Require a hyper-majority, just like segwit.
And then let the miners and other players – who trust you more than any other currently available alternative – judge for themselves. Let them be mistaken. Or let the discussion be stuck elsewhere and stop draining your energy and motivation. Let someone else be cursed, and the fingers pointed away from you.
Or, so I hope, let’s watch it all become past waters. You deserve peace. It’s yours to take.