Updated BIP 102 Gets Some Community Support, Now it’s Miners’ Turn

News and Analysis

Gavin Andresen posted a new block size-related BIP proposal on Guthub. Though officially the so-called “bip-bump2mb.mediawiki” is a variation on a theme commonly known as BIP 102, and implies a 2 MB block size increase, some community members believe it technically is an almost precise copy of Bitcoin Classic.

The proposal’s consensus threshold is set at 75% of hash capacity. Andresen himself explains this choice as follows:

“The choices of constants for the deployment scheme were motivated by prior experience with upgrades to the Bitcoin consensus rules: 0x10000000 was chosen to be compatible with the BIP 9 proposal for parallel deployment of soft forks 75% was chosen instead of 95% to minimize the opportunity for a single large mining pool or miner to be able to veto an increase, either because of ideological opposition or threat of violence or extortion. A four-week grace period after the voting period was chosen as a balance between giving people sufficient time to upgrade and keeping people’s attention on the urgent need to upgrade.”

However, the community in general favored Andresen’s proposal. In a rare and somewhat amazing flush of consensus, redditors from both /r/btc and /r/bitcoin, usually at each other’s sword points, agree it’s time to praise Andresen.

Thus, a redditor from the /r/btc forum post says:

“Good job Gavin Andresen. So far, you’ve demonstrated time and again a willingness to compromise even in the face of relentless stonewalling.”

Another redditor from /r/bitcoin says:

“I appreciate Gavin and that he continues to work on Bitcoin despite all of the mud that gets flung at him. […] I sincerely hope we do exercise a hard fork network upgrade before 2018 (containing a number of things including a blocksize increase) and that the result of which is a better Bitcoin.”

While the original BIP 102 chose 90% as a consensus threshold, the new version’s reduced trigger at 75% is way more realistic. Also, as soon as the required has power is accumulated, the implementation will have to go through a 28-days grace period. The expiration date for the request is January 2018, and has no backward compatibility. Currently, miners and the community will have to express their support with hash power.

However, some believe that even as provided, the proposal actually acts as a temporary solution for a transition period. 2 MB, according to that opinion, may postpone the fee pressure building for a while. The theory argues, in case the proposal is implemented as a hard-fork, this may have a more lasting impact, as it could demonstrate that hard-forks do not destroy the whole ecosystem.

Notably, January 23, representatives for almost all Chinese mining pools expressed their preferable vision of block size solutions. First, they believe that minimum block size increase shall comprise at least 2 MB. However, their other preference is mining power consensus threshold set at 90% or higher, which Andresen’s updated BIP 102 fails to comply with.

Chinese pools also reject the Segregated Witness proposal as is, partially because it implies only 1.6 – 1.8 MB increase against their desired minimum level. It is also said, that if Bitcoin Core developers cannot come up with a more flexible solution, the Chinese pools will vote in favor of Bitcoin Classic.

Some still believe that Andresen’s new BIP 102 is either someone else’s code compilation, or even a copypaste from Bitcoin Classic. Thus, Roger Ver posted an ironic tweet addressed to Andresen:

However, concerning the unexpected consensus expanding throughout the community, one may hope that further discussions as to block size increase may have less drama attached. What will miners do remains yet unknown.

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