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Author Topic: Jeff Garzik's opinion: Bitcoin block size thought  (Read 6268 times)

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Jeff Garzik's opinion: Bitcoin block size thought
« on: February 25, 2013, 06:04:07 PM »
Jeff Garzik's opinion: Bitcoin block size thought

Bitcoin block size thought
(Monday, February 25, 2013)

As pasted from an IRC discussion today:
  • (a) I once posted a patch to change max block size, so I thought about this long before forum readers ever woke up to the issue,
  • (b) I have since backed down from that radical position,
  • (c) it seems likely that max block size will change sometime in bitcoin's future,
  • (d) block size is VERY MUCH like bitcoin's 21M limit, so a lot of care must be taken when changing MAX_BLOCK_SIZE logic.  Block size is an economically limited resource whose production is tightly defined and controlled by algorithm, with an intentionally steady production rate (the 1MB limit).
  • (e) I lean against solutions that are feedback-based (average of last 1000 block sizes, etc.), as they can be gamed too easily
  • (f) implementation will likely be:  if (now > future date) { do it }
  • (g) my default rhetorical position will be to push back against changes, for now, since there is no demonstrated need for hard fork.
  • (g.1) Block sizes are nowhere near maximum, and
  • (g.2) Competition for space encourages efficient solutions, whereas a too-loose block size policy incentivizes the opposite: dumping into the block chain
  • (h) when I ran asic + p2pool, I set max block size at 900k and free tx at 300k.  That reflects my personal (not official dev team etc.) preferences.  I filtered out 1e8 outputs from mempool.
  • And very importantly, (i) it is a mistake to increase block size simply because people are too lazy to implement layers on top of bitcoin.  Bitcoin will forever be a zen balance of applications and layers that sit on top of the blockchain, and those that directly use the blockchain itself as their comm/functional layer (c.f. SatoshiDICE).

So I generally agree with a lot of gmaxwell's points, and it is important therefore to not arbitrarily increase blocksize, simply because that makes some apps easier -- because they free-ride on the blockchain itself. Maybe one future state of The Mainnet Blockchain is simply a high security merged mining root for several important chains, who can say?
Block size is a core economic resource, like the number of bitcoins itself. Not merely the number of transactions we can support... it influences fees and many other factors.
My off-the-cuff guess (may be wrong) for a solution was:  if (todays_date > SOME_FUTURE_DATE) { MAX_BLOCK_SIZE *= 2, every 1 years }  [Other devs comment: too fast!]  That might be too fast, but the point is, not feedback based nor directly miner controlled.
  • Block size does not need to change right now.
  • If and when block size changes, implement a simple rule, and let the free market figure out the rest (which might include a more complex rule years later, when the picture is more clear).
Standard disclaimer:  speaking only for myself, not any other dev or organization.
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