Why has raising the blocksize limit become so contentious?

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I have been involved in Bitcoin for many years, but haven’t taken a position in this debate. In my recollection, the block size limit was implemented in the early days to reduce the risk of spam congesting the network. It was always intended to be raised if the network reached capacity.

Now, I actually use Bitcoin on a daily basis. In the past year I’ve noticed periods of significant delays for transactions due to transaction backlog, even when using a high fee setting on a standard modern wallet.

If you’ve ever sat there staring at fees.21.co waiting for your fucking transaction to go through but seeing the ridiculously low throughput of the modern Bitcoin network relative to its usage, you’ll know exactly how I feel about this issue: the network has reached capacity.


So my question is this, why are the current core developers/maintainers of Bitcoin so opposed to a hard fork to increase the block size limit? Hard forks are not inherently dangerous from a technical perspective (Monero for example hard forks every 6 months). Contentious forks are bad from an economic perspective.

I have seen the lead maintainer claim that a hard fork block size increase won’t be introduced due to lack of widespread consensus. I have also seen a group of Bitcoin developers/blockstream employees campaign vehemently against raising the limit. Instead, segregated witness is proposed to lift transaction throughput, until a point where their second-layer payment networks are available. I have even seen a prominent developer, bizarrely, advocate reducing the block size. I wonder how regularly he uses Bitcoin to pay for things.


While I have no issues with segregated witness being introduced to fix malleability issues, nor with second-layer payment solutions built on top of the network – clearly, many do. Yet as I recall, not long ago there was general widespread support – even amongst the blockstream developers – for at least a 2 MB block size limit.

So now a highly contentious “block size increase” SF is being proposed as a consensus, while a generally accepted small block size limit increase HF that was always intended to occur at this point is not?

Clearly this has been bad for Bitcoin. This vicious civil war is hideous, I’ve rarely seen such vehemence on two sides of a technical debate (I am aware it has now become a proxy debate for other issues). My point it is that it IS a technical debate, and it should have a technical solution.


I’m given to understand that there is majority support for limiting the blocksize in this forum – can anyone clearly and lucidly articulate why we should not simply come together to support a hard fork and raise the blocksize to something reasonable – and in doing so possibly lower the consensus limit for segregated witness (which was frankly stupidly set at 95%), while blockstream can continue working on their second-layer solutions?


I remember when this community was all about adoption, being your own bank, real vigour and enthusiasm. Now that’s buried under the weight of hatred for the other side of the debate. But we’re all supposed to be on Bitcoin’s side here. Don’t let pseudo-political figures manipulate your passion for Bitcoin to their own ends: whether it’s Maxwell, Jihan Wu or theymos.

I’ve heard this forum is heavily censored from free discussion. I’m choosing to keep an open mind about it, however. I will archive this post in several places in case it is removed due to censorship – which ironically would be incredibly revealing.


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