Scaling Bitcoin has been a topic of substantial debate for quite some time now. When Bitcoin Cash came around, it almost seemed as if these problems would be put to rest once and for all. With its on-chain scaling approach, BCH is the most functional version of Bitcoin right now. In fact, it seems we will see another major on-chain scaling upgrade for BCH in the very near future. If things go according to plan, 32-megabyte blocks will become the new normal very soon.
Bitcoin Cash Continues to Evolve
Even though the Bitcoin Cash network can comfortably support 8MB blocks right now, very few mining pools and service providers do so. In fact, Antpool only has started mining 4MB blocks, indicating there is still some room to breathe, so to speak. However, if the network’s current growth rate continues, reaching 8MB blocks is only a matter of time. Thinking ahead will become a necessity at that point.
To counter any future problems in this regard, the Bitcoin Cash developer community has put a roadmap on the table to increase the default block size to 32MB later this year. It is well known that such a plan has been discussed before. On-chain scaling of Bitcoin Cash seems to be the right way forward, as it is something the vast majority of its community will easily agree to.
The big question is whether or not major mining pools are confident they can support 32MB blocks. Especially when it comes to Chinese service providers, the existing infrastructure may not be able to deal with such a large block size right away. Given Antpool’s recent switch to 4MB blocks, it seems they are testing the waters to see how far they can push things. Going to 32MB is a major increase, though, and no one should underestimate how much pressure it will put on the company’s infrastructure in the coming months and years.
All developers in the Bitcoin Cash community have the same vision when it comes to future scalability. Becoming and remaining a fast and low-fee peer-to-peer electronic cash system will be a big challenge, but nothing is impossible. Seeing such a unified consensus among the developers is rather impressive, as it is something we don’t often see in the world of cryptocurrency right now. With the focus on increasing the block size further, it will be interesting to see what the future holds for BCH.
The deployment of a new client supporting the 32MB block size may occur as early as May 15 of this year, though the next upgrade wouldn’t happen until November 15 of 2019. It is evident that this new major block size increase will need a fair amount of testing and support from the BCH community as a whole. So far, things seem to be heading in the right direction, but there will undoubtedly be more debates regarding this choice. It is good to see such proposals arrive well ahead of time.
It is also interesting to note that the Bitcoin Unlimited team has confirmed that a 32MB block size increase was once possible for Bitcoin. This option was “deactivated”, although it is unclear why, how, and when this happened exactly. Bitcoin will not pursue any on-chain scaling solutions in the near future, by the look of things, which may turn out to be the wrong decision in the end. Only time will tell whether the BCH team is on the right track. So far, the efficiency advantage seems to confirm as much.