Democratic Consensus in Bitcoin Makes Blockchain Split Unlikely – The Basics about Cryptocurrency

There is a lot of focus on the future of Bitcoin right now, as the upcoming block size is still being discussed by various developers. At the same time, there seems to be a fractured community, with various people supporting different solutions to this problem. For a digital currency built around reaching consensus, Bitcoin is in a fragile state right now. But at the same time, most people realize this is how the system was designed to work from day one, and all of the different opinions show a genuine interest in the project.

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Bitcoin Is A Consensus Democracy

Even though there does not seem to be a clear majority consensus on whether Bitcoin Core, Bitcoin Classic or Bitcoin XT has the solution for the block size debate, there is no reason to worry just yet. To many people who are not involved in Bitcoin, these discussions might seem like the popular digital currency ecosystem will be splitting into different teams.

Unlike any other form of money that has ever existed, Bitcoin is an ecosystem driven by consensus and democracy. Heavy debating is a natural part of this process, as the result will affect every single user, platform, and company active in the Bitcoin world today. Granted, there is a fine line between splitting and holding an election, but most community members are well aware this ongoing discussion falls into the latter category.

Outsiders might argue how this ongoing block size debate shows a level of immaturity in the Bitcoin world. While it is certainly true things could be decided upon a lot smoother, this innovative sector can not advance without a healthy dose of chaos now and then. After all, every single one of these potential solutions brings its challenges and future enhancements.

It is not easy to come up with a block size solution that works for everyone. That being said, it looks like everybody is agreeing on increasing the Bitcoin block size to 2 MB in the near future, and take things from there. But even that small incremental change needs to be weighed carefully, as it will build a new foundation for other enhancements and features to come.

A final decision could come sooner than expected, though, as the Bitcoin Classic client has been released by its developers earlier this week. Coinbase, one of the biggest payment processors in the world today, is already running the client on their servers. However, it remains to be seen if the majority of the Bitcoin community decides to follow their example. Without a consensus, Bitcoin Classic will not succeed. In the end, the miners hold a lot of power in the Bitcoin world, as they are the ones validating transactions and generating blocks.

There Is Only One Blockchain

Regardless of which block size solution is embraced in the end, there is no reason to think the Bitcoin blockchain will ever split into separate forks. There is a one-month grace period associated with each solution that reaches a majority consensus on the network. During this timeframe, all other Bitcoin users need to upgrade their clients to either Bitcoin Core, Bitcoin Classic, or Bitcoin XT.

Miners, while holding a lot of power in the Bitcoin world, will have to fall in line depending on which solution is embraced by the majority of the community. Transaction fees act as a reward for miners,  and following the solution as chosen by the democracy will yield the best incentives to process transactions.

While the block size debate may be far from pretty, this is a democracy in full effect. There will always be different opinions, ideas, and suggestions, all of which are definite signs of a vibrant and innovative sector. Bitcoin is a financial protocol for the people, by the people, and everyone can make their voice be heard so we can reach a consensus.

Source: Wired

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