Blockstream Executive: Most Bitcoin Scaling Arguments Have Little to do With Scaling
Samson Mow, the chief strategic officer at Blockstream, a bitcoin development company working to implement off-chain payment solutions such as Liquid to improve bitcoin’s ability to scale, recently emphasized that most scaling arguments within bitcoin have very little to do with actual scaling.
Over the past two years, bitcoin industry, mining and development communities have been working to scale the bitcoin network proportionally. The mining community asked for a 2 MB block size increase in return for the activation of the Bitcoin Core development team’s transaction malleability fix and scaling solution Segregated Witness (SegWit).
Earlier this year, a group of 85 companies led by bitcoin investment firm Digital Currency Groupproposed SegWit2x, a solution that would activate SegWit and also lead to a block size increase by 2 MB. Essentially, the proposal of SegWit2x is identical to that of the Hong Kong roundtable consensus, wherein developers and miners agreed to activate SegWit and increase block size by 2 MB.
However, the activation of SegWit, which seemed like a simple scaling approach and solution by many analysts and industry, was made difficult by various political movements and extended bitcoin scaling arguments. As Mow noted:
“The scaling debate is really just an attempt to control consensus rules, which would confer the ability to modify Bitcoin’s economic rules.”
Interestingly, Vitalik Buterin, the co-founder of Ethereum, who has been a supporter of bitcoin for long period of time, released a statement which supported the viewpoint of Mow. Buterin explained, “Segwit2x is a political solution to a totally political problem.”
During the time, Charlie Shrem, a bitcoin pioneer and Jaxx cryptocurrency wallet COO Charlie Shrem, also emphasized, “Because its a political solution to a technical problem, and developers see everything needing a technical solution.”
One major issue with bitcoin scaling and arguments surrounding the topic is that even after a unanimous agreement from both the industry and mining community, controversy around scaling can’t seem to come to an end. Almost immediately after the mining community, Bitcoin Core development team and the industry agreed to activate SegWit via BIP 141, the original SegWit proposal, and pursue the SegWit2x plan and increase bitcoin block size by 2 MB, ViaBTC, a China-based mining pool, led the Bitcoin Cash hard fork proposal and hard forked the bitcoin blockchain.
ViaBTC along with Bitmain, the original creator of Bitcoin Cash, remained in support of SegWit activation via BIP 141 and the SegWit2x proposal. Still, unsatisfied with the result, ViaBTC decided to fork the bitcoin blockchain in order to cope with its different vision.
At the time, even Bitmain, the original creator of Bitcoin Cash, clarified that it did not expect ViaBTC to continue the development of Bitcoin Cash considering that it was developed as a contingency plan towards BIP 148. SInce BIP 141 never activated, Bitcoin Csah project should have been dropped, according to Bitmain.
“Because it is a contingency plan, the UAHF will be implemented by us only if the UASF fork happens and poses an imminent risk to the Bitcoin ecosystem. Bitcoin ABC was proposed at The Future of Bitcoin conference in Netherlands and is a software led by developers who believe in increasing Bitcoin’s blocksize. The development of UAHF is now led by supporters of Bitcoin’s block size increase. Bitmain cannot and does not control their opinions,” said Bitmain.