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2 Jun, 2019 07:10

The blocksize wars (E7)

In this episode of TO THE MOON, Max and Stacy take on the year 2016 when the blocksize wars burst onto the scene in January, when a bitcoin core developer, Mike Hearn, rage quits in spectacular fashion. Trace Mayer explains that the blocksize is a security parameter that constrains some of the throughput of the network but it has to do with the consensus rules.

Jan Capek picks up the blocksize war issue by explaining, that a group of people believed the best way to scale bitcoin was to increase the blocksize but this could cause latencies on the network due to the geographical distribution. Jimmy Song steps in with a further explanation that one side wanted a ‘hard fork’ which is a forced upgrade in order to increase transaction capacity. Transaction capacity matters more for means of exchange, less so for store of value. The problem for the big blockers was that they wanted to force an upgrade but bitcoin is decentralized and so they couldn't do it. Giacomo Zucco elaborates that if you want fast and cheap payments, you need to centralize the systems as they are faster and cheaper, but also more fragile politically speaking whereas decentralized systems are anti-fragile but slower and more expensive.

Tone Vays believes the blocksize war was about control of the underlying protocol. Trace Mayer reminds everyone that if you think you are indispensable to bitcoin, you're going to get ‘rekt’. Bitcoin economist, Saifedean Ammous, argues that much of the underlying cause of the blocksize war was a fundamental misunderstanding of the meaning of the word, ‘cash’. Guests and archival clips include: Jimmy Song, Marshall Long, Simon Dixon, Trace Mayer, Jan Capek, Giacomo Zucco, Tone Vays, Saifedean Ammous, Francis Pouliot, Jaromil, Hartej Sawhney.

Podcast: https://soundcloud.com/rttv/sets/to-the-moon