Bitcoin SV and the roadmap to Genesis

Bitcoin SV and the roadmap to Genesis

The Bitcoin SV (BSV) project continues to do what no other blockchain thought possible—scale on chain in a massive way that puts it in line with what is seen by the world’s major credit card companies. The project has been steadily working on different aspects of the “Roadmap to Genesis” and Steve Shadders has issued an update on the progress. To say that BSV is capable of doing what no other blockchain can do would be an understatement of epic proportion.

According to the latest information, the roadmap from last August until the second quarter of this year has seen all of the items fulfilled, or close to being completed, except for one, parallel block validation. This was put on the back burner in favor of other network improvements that were expected to provide a greater return on investment.

Coming soon will be a network upgrade called Quasar. It is currently scheduled for July 24 and centers on increased scaling capabilities. According to Shadders, “We have previously signalled an intent to raise the cap to 512MB however after consultation with the Bitcoin Association (the owner of the Bitcoin SV project) and miners representing a significant majority of hash rate it has been decided that the Bitcoin SV software will implement a default of 2GB in July.“

The logic behind the increased default is simple. By raising the cap, and allowing miners to set a limit of 512MB, the network will be able to see more scaling as it becomes necessary without having to introduce additional upgrades or forks.

The next big upgrade following Quasar is scheduled for February 4, 2020. It will provide a number of protocol restoration changes designed to return the network to the original Bitcoin protocol. It is aptly called Genesis and is scheduled for “11 years, 1 month and 1 day after the original Genesis block.”

The announcement continues, “The Genesis upgrade will also address scaling. We believe that by late in 2019 the Bitcoin SV node software will have implemented all of the safety mechanisms required to allow us to eliminate the block size cap altogether and let miners manage it without intervention from developers. So long as those changes are completed we intend to bring the planned date for allowing unlimited block size forward by almost a year and lift the cap completely in the Genesis upgrade.”

Unlike blockchains such as Bitcoin Cash that allowed developers to make all the decisions, BSV is publishing data in order to receive community feedback before moving forward. This creates a completely transparent network that is truly decentralized and built by the community, not by a few individuals who want to control the entire ecosystem.

Steve Shadders: Bitcoin SV’s 128MB blocks proves scaling potential

Steve Shadders: Bitcoin SV’s 128MB blocks proves scaling potential

The Bitcoin SV (BSV) world woke up on March 8 to exciting news. nChain’s BSV Node team announced they had successfully maintained an average block size of 128MB across 144 blocks over a 24 hour period. We spoke with Steve Shadders, director of solutions and engineering at nChain, about the details.

We began by talking about what this means, for both nChain and the BSV network. Shadders said:

“What it means and what it has convinced the SV team of beyond a shadow of doubt is that raising block limits beyond what current software can handle isn’t going to make the sky fall in and has a genuine benefit. We got to this point of improving the software so it can handle it because of two things: 1. We actually try to exceed the old limits when performance changes are made and 2. It places a certain degree of healthy pressure on us to keep our eyes on the target, which is scaling capacity.”

Now that we know Bitcoin SV is capable of sustaining these big blocks, what can we expect to see on the business and application side?

“Simply having the capacity there now and giving app developers confidence that we have a roadmap to make sure the capacity will always be there changes things dramatically for businesses and devs in this space. Good ideas that have previously been shelved because they needed capacity are being dusted off. The new possibilities of a scalable Bitcoin are also starting to seep into the collective consciousness of Bitcoin app developer communities and we are seeing an explosion of creativity. 

“Not every idea will stand up, but even the ones that don’t become fuel for new ideas. In a world where your idea is just something that you might be able to do one day in the future if a bunch of protocol devs agree to change a limit there’s not a lot of motivation to jump out of bed and build it now. That’s not the case anymore and ideas can become reality only days or weeks after that first spark of creativity occurs.”

Let’s talk more about how this was done. Did the team accomplish this with new node software, of the existing version of BSV 0.1.1?

“The STN (Scaling Test Network) is a combination of latest stable release software (v0.1.1) and various development builds with different unreleased performance features. This allows us to test the impact of some of those features in a relatively controlled way. As well as checking for interoperability issues with the stable release.

“The Bitcoin network is a living thing with many complex interactions governing its behavior so it is important to have a bit of diversity of software versions running on it so those interactions are mirrored.”

Do you think the success of the test relied on these “lab conditions”? Do you think we’ll see this happen on the mainnet?

“There certainly is an element of lab conditions given that we use the STN for research into scaling related behaviors of the bitcoin network. Sometimes we are testing one very specific issue and we’ll see different secondary effects due to choice of mechanism used to put load on the network. 

“So I think it’s reasonable to expect the mainnet will always lag behind the STN by a few months in terms of scaling capability. Which is as it should be. The STN is for bleeding edge research and code. The mainnet is targeting stability. The STN is also a tool to improve that stability. Not just by researching new ways to break limits. But by providing an environment to test what the safe limits for mainnet really are.”

How long before we could see this result in a real-world test?

It’s hard to gauge precisely. But what matters most for mainnet is that it’s supply capacity remains at least an order of magnitude ahead of demand so we’ve got room to handle short term spikes in demand without it affecting the user experience like we see frequently on BTC (Bitcoin Core). What we are seeing now is steady and consistent growth due to transaction size and a steady but slower growth due to transaction volume. At the moment we have a very wide safety margin. And while I’m expecting the see the pace of growth of mainnet increase we are improving software capacity at rate fast enough to stay well ahead of the curve.

When do you think we might see the block size increased to 512MB?

In talking about 512MB block size limits we need to establish what raising that limit unblocks. There are two types of block sizes we care about. The intermittent spikes and the sustained rate of throughput. Intermittent spikes can be expected rarely but can be 10 or even 50 times the size of sustained block size. We have already 128MB on the STN for both spikes and sustained for 36 hours. And given we have had a 108MB block on mainnet using a previous software release that was missing some performance enhancements it’s not a stretch to think mainnet can hit 128MB spikes right now. Even if 128MB sustained is not yet feasible the block size shouldn’t be limiting larger spikes. 

So I’m of the opinion that the STN limit should be raised to at least 512MB right now. And that the Bitcoin SV ecosystem needs to start planning for a minor protocol upgrade in the next few months to raise the maximum block size on mainnet.

Bitcoin SV able to sustain blocks above 128MB

Bitcoin SV testing shows sustained blocks of 128MB

One of the arguments that has led to Bitcoin SV (BSV) continuing to develop as the true Bitcoin is the proof that a blockchain needs to be able to scale to handle a significant number of simultaneous transactions. This was pointed out in Satoshi Nakamoto’s original white paper on cryptocurrency, as well as evidence that on-chain scaling was possible. However, developers who became involved in what is now known as Bitcoin Core (BTC) thought they knew better and were determined to take crypto down the path they wanted, which included virtually no characteristics of a usable digital currency. As BSV repeatedly has shown, larger block sizes are not possible, they’re achievable and the blockchain’s community has once again proven how easy it is to increase the network’s scalability.

According to a tweet by the BSV Node account, the Scaling Test Network (STN) has been able to maintain an average block size of 128MB in 24 hours, and an average size of 128MB across 144 blocks. This follows a new achievement this past January, on the anniversary of the Bitcoin genesis block, when the BSV chain mined a block measuring 103MB.

The STN is a BSV-specific network that was designed to test large blocks. It is the fourth of four permanent BSV networks, alongside the mainnet, the testnet and the regtest, which is a local test network.

According to the STN’s description, “The STN is included as a standard network in the latest builds of Bitcoin SV. It can be selected by using stn=1 in bitcoin.conf instead of testnet=1 or regtest=1.

The Scaling Test Network has been implemented to reduce the impact of scalability testing on testnet and to preserve testnet as a network for testing of applications build on top of Bitcoin SV without requiring testnet users to make significant hardware available.”

Currently, blockchain networks are limited on the number of transactions they can manage at one time. This was a hurdle that had to be overcome from the time Bitcoin was first conceived if it were to compete with payment solutions such as Visa or MasterCard. Satoshi knew this and built into the Bitcoin white paper a model of how scaling could be achieved. BTC developers decided against his advice, leading to the creation of ancillary transaction channels such as SegWit and the Lightning Network, both of which cause disruptions in the immutability and consistency of the information stored on the blockchain. No other blockchain—apart from BSV—has worked to push on-chain scaling forward and has shown that it is feasible and that it works.

Scaling-focused changes now available with Bitcoin SV version 0.1.1

Scaling-focused changes now available with Bitcoin SV version 0.1.1

True to its roadmap of enabling massive, secure on-chain scaling, the Bitcoin SV node team rolled out on Monday the updated version of the Bitcoin SV (BSV) client.

The BSV version 0.1.1 adds scaling improvements that will deliver “crucial capacity and performance increases to transaction propagation,” according to the node team. These include faster relaying of transactions to enhance security of instant transactions and larger network messages for handling higher volumes of transactions, as well as increased parallelization of network communication.

Among the notable changes in BSV version 0.1.1 are the removal of random delay, parallelization of inventory-handling code, increase in inventory message size and in max protocol message size. The DNS Seed servers were also updated to exclude the Bitcoin Cash (BCHABC) network; the updated node client also features optional logging of transactional sources; and large invalid block messages will now cause ban instead of disconnect.

Another important update to the 0.1.1 version is the addition of the Scaling Test Network (STN).

“The scaling-focused changes in the release have all been researched and tested in the private Gigablock Testnet which is now being relaunched publicly under the new name: Scaling Testnet (STN),” the Bitcoin SV node team said.

Available on GitHub, the BSV 0.1.1 version features the advances used to achieve the sustained 64MB blocks for straight 24 hours, which showed that the network is capable of delivering constant rates of over 300 transactions per second continuously during a full 24-hour period “with no problem.” Tests for 128MB blocks are already underway, and according to BSV Node lead developer Daniel Connolly, the early results are encouraging.

The global Scaling Test Network is open to anyone in the BSV ecosystem interested in participating in a “continuous flow of transactions with rates reaching 700 transactions per second.” This initiative, according to the node team, paves the way for the creation of an environment where scaling capabilities of existing solutions and scaling technologies can be researched and verified. To learn more about STN, visit the Bitcoin Scaling Test Network site.

The Bitcoin SV version 0.1.1 builds on the improvements made in the initial release candidate, which focused on protocol stability. This time, the node team rolled out modifications that enable massive scaling of the BSV network, allowing major enterprises to build confidently on top of the regulation-friendly BSV chain. As Twitter user Brendan Lee noted: “Bitcoin [now reborn in Bitcoin SV] is scaling on-chain, ready for the world to jump on-board.”

Roger Ver

Roger Ver, Samson Mow Deconomy 2018 debate goes off the rails

The war of the words continues this week at the inaugural Deconomy 2018 blockchain forum in Seoul, South Korea.

On Tuesday, owner Roger Ver was pitted against Blockstream Chief Strategy Officer Samson Mow in a panel discussion that tackled the controversial question, “Can Bitcoin Scale?”

As expected, the debate on Bitcoin’s scaling issues as well as Satoshi Nakamoto’s vision for Bitcoin—as a peer-to-peer electronic cash system—turned into a tension-filled exchange between the two panelists. Mow pointed out that the computer science behind scaling Bitcoin needs to be taken into consideration, which means looking at the code and following the consensus rule.

“I think the scaling that works is to take an engineering standpoint to look at the code and to follow consensus rules and build layer 2 solutions,” Mow said. “I think scaling Bitcoin, we have to take into consideration the computer science aspect of it. We can’t just make things up. We actually have to look at the code and we have to follow the consensus rule, so if you look at what Bitcoin Core has been doing, is they’ve been scaling all along so that everything is backwards compatible.”

The intention might be good, Ver responded, but the effect was damaging—Bitcoin lost its first-mover advantage, the market cap of altcoins skyrocketed, and the number of transactions on the Bitcoin Core (BTC) network today was only half of what it was in December 2017.

Bitcoin Core is having negative merchant adoption around the world. Bitcoin Cash is having positive merchant adoption around the world,” Ver said.“So even if Samson and Blockstream and Bitcoin Core supporters have the absolute best intentions in their heart, we have the empirical evidence to show that the effects were negative and incredibly damaging to Bitcoin. Let’s judge things by their effect and their results, not the intent of the people that were putting it together.”

And that’s just the first 10 minutes of the debate, ladies and gentlemen.

Watch how it all went down here:

Note: Tokens in the SegWit chain are referred to as SegWit1X (BTC) and SegWit Gold (SWG) and are no longer Bitcoin. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is the only true Bitcoin as intended by the original Satoshi white paper.  Bitcoin BCH is the only public block chain that offers safe and cheap microtransactions.