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Block Size Survey Reveals 'Deep Divide' Between Bitcoin Subreddits

Amid the ongoing block size debate, Bitcoin Association Switzerland has published a rare survey – which gauges sentiment on potential solutions to Bitcoin’s biggest headache.

Also read: Increasing Bitcoin Block Size vs. Higher Transaction Fees

Survey Reveals Block ‘Mindsets’

The board president of the group, which describes itself as formed of “enthusiasts,” published his findings on Bitcointalk Monday. 269 respondents answered to questions posed in the block size survey. Overall, 146 “indicated a numeric block-size ranging between 0.5 MB and unlimited,” Luzius Meisser reports.

Luzius Meisser
Luzius Meisser

Meisser explained the main purpose of the survey was to examine a possible link between one’s position within the Bitcoin ecosystem and one’s likely desired solution to the block size issue.

“The main hypothesis I wanted to test is whether an entrepreneurial mindset (as opposed to a technical mindset) makes you more likely to favor big blocks,” he writes. “And the answer seems yes.”

Principal findings extrapolated from the data included deep divides between readers of the two subreddits r/Bitcoin and r/BTC. Meisser:

Among /r/bitcoin and bitcointalk readers, 39% are big-blockers, whereas 94% of the /r/btc readers are big-blocker. Among those reading other news sources first, 76% are big-blockers. This was by far the most statistically significant finding.

In terms of the solutions already presented, the survey finds so-called “small-blockers” more in favor of technological advances over capacity, leading to a conclusion that Bitcoin’s “uses” lie at the heart of opposing community views.bitcoinsuisse

“Small-blockers are more likely to see the future of Bitcoin in a settlement system (24%) or digital gold (17%) than big-blockers (10% settlement, 6% gold),” he reports, adding:

“This confirms the widespread suspicion that the block-size disagreement is related to what we want Bitcoin to be, although not to the extent I would have expected to see.”

Familiar Trade-offs

Correspondingly, Meisser draws the principal conclusion that the current situation boils down to “a trade-off between a technical risk (loss of decentralization, hard fork, etc.) and a business risk (missing the window of opportunity for growth).”overcoming-consensus

“If correct, this would mean that people with higher technical awareness would tend to favor smaller blocks while those with an entrepreneurial background would favor bigger blocks,” he added.

The survey’s limitations and non-scientific nature were acknowledged by the author. Additionally, the pool of respondents is notably somewhat insignificant compared to the number of potential respondents from the subreddit and forum sources. Nonetheless, while much material surfaces from major players in Bitcoin development and Bitcoin business, the voice of other community factions provides interesting pause for thought.

Within the block size debate itself, parties continue to be split through their support of “rival” solutions, which include alternative blockchains, already released and in competition.

What’s your take on the survey findings? Get involved in the comments below!


Images courtesy of bitcoinsuisse.ch, forbes.com

Tags in this story
/r/Bitcoin, /r/btc, Bitcoin Block Size, Bitcoin Community, BitcoinTalk, Block Size Debate, Blockchain, Core Developers, Switzerland
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William Suberg

William Suberg is a freelance digital tech journalist who has written extensively about Bitcoin, the blockchain and the evolving cryptocurrency ecosystem for a variety of publications. He has been writing for Bitcoin.com since January 2016.