Why its not just about block size


Active Member
Aug 25, 2015
crossposted: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=1164405.0

At first I thought it was, and I've come full circle on this.

It was my opinion that block size should be bigger (I accept others feel differently - thats cool). The only way for me to do anything about it, other than arguing oti, was to switch clients.

Then I read all the bad stuff about Mike and Gavin and what they were doing and I was a bit worried. I read about how they were putting nefarious changes that track IP addresses. Blocking nodes etc

That made me worried too. I don't like creeping censorship as much as the next man so tools that allow it should be regarded with suspicion. Then I read what the change did and saw that it didn't seem (to me) to be half as bad as people were making out.

Then I started to read more about why XT came about I'm not going to link to it all because everyone should do their own research. My understanding though in summary is that the core dev environment seemed to be pretty toxic. This is a pretty bold claim so I started reading through some past posts on the developer list, pull request discssions etc to try and establish how legitimate this claim is. To me it seems to have some legitimacy, but I would encourage you to look for yourselves and see what you feel. I won't post links because I don't want to be accused of leading you.

Now I'm not here to tell you Gavin and Mike are the good guys and core devs are evil. Nor am I here to support those that think XT is the end of times and the core dev team are the knights in shining armour that are going to rescue os from the defilers that sullied out land with a fork. The devil carries a fork. Therefore XT is the work of the devil.

I'm here to say that I think its important that people look around at what is going on and have a real honest think about the situation. Don't believe any of what I wrote above check it all out. Have a look at the pull requests that have been submitted, the discussion that follows. The manifesto posted by XT and the articles written explaining there philosophy. The actions that have been taken by the various participants.

When I did that I found that I no longer supported XT for the block size limit upgrade, but I supported it because it felt like it was right that there should be diversity in clients. That hard forks are almost unavoidable so better that we learn to love the bomb.

I will paste one quote though because I can't spend this whole post being entirely ambivalent, it was by Gavin and whether you like him or not I think he makes an interesting but probably contentious point, which is based on some facts as opposed to being pure conjecture, or open to interpretation. I'm not going to try and assert this is some ultimate truth and anyone that disagrees is a traitor or anything like that either. None of the discussion like that is helpful. There are some smart people on these boards and if they can all discuss instead of bickering maybe it can set an example. I'll do my best, I hope others will too.

Gavin Andresen said:
Yes, I think having lots of diverse implementations of the Bitcoin protocol is a very good thing. I know Greg Maxwell has been pretty vocal in the past disagreeing with that, and I understand his point of view: it is really hard to get two or three or eleven different implementations to accept and reject exactly the same sets of transactions or blocks. Consensus is hard.

But it is hard to get EXACTLY THE SAME implementation running on different hardware or just running at different places on the network to accept and reject exactly the same sets of transactions or blocks. Bitcoin Core versions 0.7 and earlier could "self-fork" -- exactly the same code running on identical hardware could disagree about what chain was valid because of a bug.

And it's now safe to talk about the REAL reason for BIP66, which was to prevent a fork between 32-bit machines and 64-bit machines.

One of the principles of security is to eliminate single points of failure. Another is to try to minimize the damage done by failure of any one component. A diversity of implementations running on the network helps both of those aspects of security, and that is why I'm happy to see other implementations like Conformal's btcd or Coinbase's Toshi, and why I think multiple forks of Satoshi's original codebase is healthy for the long run.

Polarising debate isn't helpful I can see advantages and disadvantages to all. Stubbornly setting up in one camp and arguing beyond reason that yours is the one true solution isn't good. You may say that is what XT has done but this can be levelled equally at core. XT is a choice, so is core. Lets have more choice and less 'Conscription'.
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New Member
Aug 28, 2015
I feel the most intriguing aspect of the debate is that as one reaches the most extreme zones of the pro- and ant- view is that the participants in each have overlooked the most important lesson from this debate - This is how consensus works. Its not about dreaming up your own world view and then screaming at everyone to get on board or forever be identified as a dissident, its about a round robin approach to finding out what desire everyone has in common and then moving forward. Last week we were led to believe that the consensus view was "<1mb blocks', but now its clear that the consensus is more accurately described as '>1mb blocks'. Thats a pretty dramatic shift in one week, and that is thanks to the choice and discussion possibilities opened up by XT. Haters will hate, but rational people will find common ground and move forward.
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Well-Known Member
Aug 26, 2015
Yeah, it's about demonstrating that Bitcoin can evolve.
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