The number of blocks mined using the alternative Bitcoin client, Bitcoin Unlimited (BU), is increasing. Over the past weeks and months BU, also known as BUIP 001, has seemingly been increasingly adopted by Bitcoin participants.
Segwit, a proposal for an upgrade of the mining protocol by the development team called ‘Core’, still mines 600 more blocks per 1,000 than BU and remains for now as Bitcoin’s “main” consensus client.
The “quiet” adoption, which has seen BU go from 0 blocks to 200 blocks per 1000 in less than six months, could signal a changing of the guard of sorts in terms of which development pools have gained the trust of the ‘Bitcoin Community’ (especially from the miners securing the network). It’s a result of the so called Bitcoin ‘block size debate’, as new solutions for Bitcoin malleability and block size are imagined by new names. If you are new to Bitcoin these are highly technical and difficult subjects to fathom, and many high-strung debates rage continuously in online forums on the matter.
Bitcoin Unlimited Enjoying Growth in Adoption
Mining pools ViaBTC, India’s GBMiners and Bitcoin.com are examples of pools mining with BU, and comprise currently altogether approx. 13% of the Bitcoin network, bringing the total signaled support for BU up to approx. 17%. In the meanwhile, the development teams behind Bitcoin Classic (another such protocol “upgrade” proposal) and Bitcoin Unlimited have all but merged, and each actively endorse the close relationship between the projects.
A new, ‘mysterious’ mining pool, located at the domain address BTC.Top and going by the moniker “Leite BTC Mining”, adopted BU at the end of December when the pool had about 1% of the total hash rate of the Bitcoin network. The Shanghai incorporated miner now has 3.3% of the total hash rate.
The following chart demonstrates how, in just the past week, Bitcoin Unlimited historical Blocks per 1000 have reached their all-time high.
While Segwit had reached nearly 25% of explicit mining pool support in December, that lion’s share has decreased over the past month. Bitcoin Unlimited at the time of writing had 17.70% of overall support. Segwit was at the same time at 22.22%, after having dipped down to 17% a few hours earlier. Many have called BU’s recent hash rate gain more of a dip in Segwit adoption than anything else.
Since October, the number of Bitcoin Unlimited Nodes, to be sure, has skyrocketed.
While adoption rates for Segwit have flatlined.
With all this in mind, Segwit still dominates the number of blocks mined.
Just F2Pool and Antpool alone, both of which signed a 8MB recommendation in support of a block size increase but have not adopted alternative clients, could send BU over the 50% support level if they decide to start supporting BU.
What is Bitcoin Unlimited?
An alternative client, BU addresses scalability by enabling miners to mine blocks greater than 1MB. BU has pledged support for the Lightning Community and other off-chain technologies. BU developer Andrew Stone says Segwit represents “needless complexity added to the blockchain.”
Mr. Stone told Bitcoin.com’s Jamie Redman: “[Segwit] does not scale enough to interest any companies in creating Bitcoin products or services, it does not even scale enough to significantly deploy off-chain scaling solutions.”
Bitcoin Civics 101
The trend shows Segwit losing hash power and BU gaining. While in many ways this may represent a future changing of the guard for bitcoin, developers for ‘BU’, ‘Bitcoin Classic’ and even ‘Core’ insist to Bitcoin.com that relationships between Bitcoin developers are mostly amicable.