What is Bitcoin Unlimited? Will it result in a hard fork?

Bitcoin Unlimited has been around for some time now and has created a controversy about Bitcoin’s possible hard fork. Coindesk recently posted an article about the debate on the project. Like Bitcoin Core, Bitcoin Unlimited has the intention to increase the capacity of the Bitcoin network, yet on a different method than Bitcoin Core. The debate runs around the changing of blocksize limit to satisfy the market needs.

What’s Bitcoin Unlimited?

So what exactly is Bitcoin Unlimited and why it was created? Bitcoin Unlimited is a software client or simply a Bitcoin wallet used as support to the Emergent Consensus protocol, designed to permit a dynamic block size in the network, making use of the current Nakamoto Consensus mechanism. The BU system is up to change block storage capacity from being limited to no limit. It will allow users (specifically node operators or miners) to choose their own blocksize limit by configuring their client. The purpose of the system is to remove the only point of central control in the Bitcoin economy which is the blocksize limit and return it to the miners or nodes. This then activates the Emergent Consensus which is based on free-market economics where miners/nodes meet on consensus central points, making in the process a living and a breathing entity that reacts to the dynamic real-world conditions in a decentralized, free manner.

How it works

According to Bitcoin Unlimited, the concept is supported by the collected information over the past 6 years. The nodes and miners at present are able to choose a soft limit and by demand, it grew in an organic and responsive manner to meet the market needs. Thus, it paved the way for BU to think of the idea of setting a new generated blocksize limit, for instance of 2MB. As demand continues to grow, the limit can easily be increased to 3MB, 4MB, 5MB and so on, therefore giving miners and nodes the control over the process of finding the equilibrium blocksize by letting the free-market to come to the right choice in a decentralized manner.

Cosensus is needed

Bitcoin Unlimited asserts that Bitcoin is and should be whatever its users define by the code they run and the rules they vote for with their hash rate, as stated on bitcoinunlimited.info.

The argument here is that if the consensus will be enabled, there will be a new blockchain with large blocksizes. According to Investopedia’s article, people opposing to the consensus feel that increasing the blocksize can result in a hard fork (force splitting of the blockchain into two branches). Also, they believe that such flexibility can result in miners/nodes preferring bigger and bigger blocks which will eventually make it difficult for small-time miners to mine, thus gaining few miners the control over mining power. When it happens, there will be centralization as opposed to the main core of Bitcoin which is decentralization.

On the same article, Bitcoin Unlimited claims that they do not want to create a fork on the network. They said that if some other entity causes a fork, then BU nodes will follow the most-work or the longest fork. That means that the user’s BU node will not only track a particular choice but rather the majority of the mining entities. The BU system would need the majority nodes to be on their side or else they would not be able to make any changes in the blocksize.

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