Bitcoin developers Tom Harding, Dagur Valberg Johannsson and Jeff Garzik have updated the code to BIP100, a “dynamic maximum block size by miner vote” code proposal which has been in the works for nearly two years. The BIP (short for ‘Bitcoin Improvement Proposal’) could serve as a solution to the ongoing debate over Bitcoin’s block size.
A BIP represents a design document meant to introduce new features and information to the Bitcoin community. BIPs represent a central avenue for communicating ideas to the distributed Bitcoin community.
BIP100 Puts Miners First
The BIP would theoretically allow miners to vote on what the block size limit should be. Mr. Harding believes that miners are actually more invested in Bitcoin than other participants in the peer-to-peer network, and thus better equipped to make decisions.
“They invest in hardware that cannot be used for anything else, and they are the one group that will always, every day, be paid in bitcoin and no other currency”, the Bitcoin developer says. “In the aggregate, miners’ stewardship of the protocol secures Bitcoin. This was Satoshi’s design and it has proven correct beyond all expectations”.
When he first read BIP100, Mr. Harding did not like it. “I believed in June 2015 that miners might manipulate the block size in ways that were not in the best interest of all users”, he tells Bitcoin.com. “But over the next two years, it was we developers who showed ourselves unable to manage the maximum block size reasonably”.
The text for BIP100 puts vivid emphasis on the miners. “Miners directly feel the effects, both positive and negative, of any maximum block size change imposed by their peers”, reads the proposal on Github. “Larger blocks allow more growth in the on-chain ecosystem, while smaller blocks reduce resource requirements network-wide”.
According to the Github proposal, miners act as an “efficient proxy” for the Bitcoin system since they earn bitcoins when they create blocks.
In order to be deployed, BIP100 needs to garner a considerable amount of support from miners. “A simple deterministic system is specified, whereby a 75% mining supermajority may activate a change to the maximum block size each 2016 blocks”, reads the proposal. “Each change is limited to a 5% increase from the previous block size hard limit, or a decrease of similar magnitude”.
Among adopting nodes, there will be no disagreement on the evolution of the maximum block size, according to BIP100. “The system is compatible with emergent consensus, but whereas under that system a miner may choose to accept any size block, a miner following BIP100 observes the 75% supermajority rule, and the 5% change limit rule”, the proposal reads.
“Excessive-block values signaled by emergent consensus blocks are considered in the calculation of the BIP100 block size hard limit, and the BIP100 calculated maximum block size is signaled as an excessive-block value for the benefit of all observers”.
Carrots, Sticks and Speed Limits
BIP100 has been in the making for nearly two years. The proposal was published first by Mr. Garzik, who runs the enterprise blockchain firm Bloq, and who enjoys waxing about the intersection of artificial intelligence and Bitcoin.
“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”, writes Mr. Garzik in the draft for BIP 100. “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”.
Does BIP100 offer a tenable solution to Bitcoin’s growth issues? Let us know in the comments below.
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