Lightning Network Adoption: Bitcoin Core Developers’ Ambitious Plans
Luke Dash Jr, developer of Bitcoin Core (BTC) has caused an uproar of controversy following his idea to reduce the bitcoin block size from 1MB down to 300kb. While this isn’t the first time this concept has been brought up by Luke; with Lightning Network adoption rapidly growing, it may be a good time to do so now.
A Temporary Soft Fork
Luke Dash Jr initially proposed this idea back in January 2017. He gave his own Bitcoin Improvement Proposal (BIP) with a request of reducing the block size down to 300kb. This proposal was just months before we saw the network fees shoot up to around $30-$50 per transaction, but during this time, the mempool was already starting to fill up.
Be that as it may, this initial proposal didn’t gain any traction and people brushed it off. After all, around this time, the scaling debate started to increase, and the rising fees in the cryptocurrency market had everyone upset so there was plenty going on to draw attention from the proposal.
Today though, Dash Jr has returned, with his second proposal to shrink the bitcoin blocksize to less than a third of what they currently are. The difference now though, is that this could increase Lightning Network adoption.
This patch would enforce a very simple soft fork, reducing Bitcoin block sizes to ~300kb between Aug 1 and Dec 31 — It demonstrates how one can make a truly temporary soft fork,
There is never any guarantee. We need to reduce the block size just to have a *realistic hope* of it remaining feasible and *becoming practical again*.
The blockchain is *already* bigger than most people are willing to tolerate, and the situation is getting worse and worse.
— Luke Dashjr (@LukeDashjr) February 6, 2019
Increase fees and move transactions to lightning
Forced Onto the Lightning Network?
3 days later, John Carvalho of Bitrefill explained to his followers that Dash Jr’s proposal was something he wants to get behind.
I agree with Luke Dash Jr that the block size should be smaller. I feel more confident to say it now that we have Lightning Network making strides — I’ll run the soft fork
When Carvalho was asked about which benefits or financial incentives come with smaller blocks, he replied saying:
To increase fees (doesn’t even have to be malicious, could be for survival). To move transactions to Lightning Network (maybe miners realize they can make easier money by increasing fees on L2, under the right conditions). Reduced costs (new network/web conditions)
If #Bitcoin softforks such that blocks between Aug 1 2019 and Dec 31 2019 must be smaller than a reduced block size limit, what should that reduced limit be?
(Even if you don't currently support such a softfork, please give an opinion.)
— Luke Dashjr (@LukeDashjr) February 5, 2019
There is no way to use Bitcoin without downloading and validating the entire blockchain. That's how it works.
— Luke Dashjr (@LukeDashjr) February 12, 2019
Of course, the result of any proposed changes to Bitcoin resulted in controversy on social media. But, cryptocurrency entrepreneur Vinny Lingham joined the discussion stating he supports those changes. He said:
1mb is an arbitrary number and if Bitcoin is going to rely on L2 to scale, then it makes no sense to keep it at 1mb. — Reducing it to 350k as per the research from Luke Dash Jr is practical and can help move transactions to layer 2,
Despite him speaking his actual opinion, many people thought these claims were so far fetched that they had to be said in jest. It’s possible he was poking fun at the idea. Regardless, lightning network adoption is definitely growing worldwide, and this could be a catalyst for it.
You can only sell more rasberry pi's if you lower the blocksize pic.twitter.com/5mehAdnWV8
— Randy (@nondualrandy) February 11, 2019
Disagreements Within the Crypto Space
Be that as it may, many people disagree with the concepts proposed by Dash Jr, and Carvalho’s statements regarding higher fees. One user on Twitter said:
Smaller blocks simply means less transactions on the chain, purposefully hard-coding a lower limit — It doesn’t make any logical sense.
But he was dismissed after the user explained his standpoint; claiming the Lightning Network was “centralized, bloated and overcomplicated”
Exciting times for #BTC, a soft fork to smaller block size will accelerate the adoption of #LN (as fees go up) and cement BTC as the leader in off chain scaling, esp as #LTC and other chains adopt LN. Users who prefer on chain/low fee have #BCH, users who like off chain have #BTC https://t.co/rRNywBMH6V
— Mark Lamb (@MarkDavidLamb) February 11, 2019
All things considered, this may be the time that Dash Jr’s Bitcoin Improvement Proposal comes into fruition. This could potentially be a catalyst for greater Lightning Network Adoption. But some people disagree.
Cobra, anonymous owner of Bitcoin.org and Bitcointalk.org wants this discussion to end immediately. He has even gone as far as to ask the crypto community to ‘stop this madness’
Stop this madness! Last thing Bitcoin needs is yet more contentious forks in this key year for adoption! A soft fork to "reduce the block size" is a hard fork in all but name. This will split off from the established consensus, cause massive drama, and damage trust in Bitcoin. https://t.co/54tzz4UIli
— Cøbra (@CobraBitcoin) February 11, 2019
The lightning network has many people excited, some too excited for their own good. While the Lightning Network is an amazing new feature, forking the Bitcoin network is a risky move, regardless if it’s in hopes of greater Lightning Network adoption. It forces people to split into 2 groups. Those that want 300kb blocks, and those that want 1mb blocks.
What do you think of this potential Bitcoin fork? Do you support it or are you against it? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
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