638MB block advances Bitcoin SV’s journey to be world’s money—and everything else too

Big transaction blocks are how Bitcoin—in the form of BSV—demonstrates its utility over other blockchains for big data. This week, another record fell with a 638MB block processed on BSV’s mainnet, as a result of a test run and supported by BSV enthusiasts around the world. Block #678301 was processed by TAAL (CSE:TAAL | FWB:9SQ1 | OTC: TAALF), who marked the occasion with a tweet:

No other blockchain today is capable of processing transaction blocks that large, at a cost (in transaction fees) that makes it feasible for business and other large organizations’ use at scale. BTC developers have steadfastly resisted calls to increase that network’s capacity past a theoretical “block weight” (accounting for SegWit) of 4MB per block, resulting in BTC fees currently running over $16 per transaction. Due to the Ethereum network’s scaling challenges, ETH users are now enduring per-transaction “gas” fees of $20 or much more.

While this new 638MB block significantly increased the record for overall block size, it was comprised of a more modest number of larger-sized files—2,674. BSV has previously proven it can process blocks with a much larger number of transactions: the prior record 369MB block (May 16, 2020) contained over 1.3 million individual transactions, and block #634643 on May 12, 2020 contained over 1.1 million transactions in a 309MB block.

The latest record is another step towards BSV’s ultimate goal, which is to process regular transaction blocks of 1TB or more filled with large numbers of individual transactions. The “Teranode” implementation of the Bitcoin protocol, which developers anticipate testing this year on the BSV network, should see further and even bigger steps towards that goal.

BSV units will always function as electronic cash for those who wish to use it that way, especially for micropayments over the Internet, fulfilling Bitcoin’s original promise. But Bitcoin was always capable of much more, processing and securing data at a massive scale to work together with the Internet to power advanced blockchain data capabilities.

As both BTC and ETH unit price and trading demand have risen over the past months, their networks have become even more congested—mainly by traders sending BTC and ETH coins to and from exchanges. With their capacity limits, it’s virtually impossible to deploy any useful business application on BTC or ETH—without running into high fee problems. For all of their mass-media hype, BTC cannot actually function as the world’s electronic cash system for daily use, and ETH is too expensive/clogged to use for distributed apps (DApps), smart contracts and even tokens at any scale. That truth is (deliberately) lost in the noise, as bagholders point at their assets’ speculative market prices, leaving serious investors wondering where on earth that “value” could be coming from.

Stress test passed

This week’s record Bitcoin SV block was the result of a community-driven stress test, designed to further push the boundaries of much capacity the BSV main network could handle, and how well it could handle it. Various applications and services, with contributions from BSV supporters around the world, sent or contributed to 3.7GB worth transactions across the network over a short time. The BSV Infrastructure Team at nChain provided some technical support during the process.

Wait… weren’t we talking last month about 1GB and 3.15GB blocks? Yes and no. Those larger blocks were on the Bitcoin Scaling Test Network (STN), where the goal is to push block sizes as far as possible. This week’s record happened on the Bitcoin mainnet, or, the same blockchain people use to pay for small purchases with mobile wallets, and use social networks like Twetch, Relica, Streamanity and PowPing.

The Scaling Test Network exists so developers can try new techniques, and push it to its limits without fear of breaking it for real-world users.

How Bitcoin came to be like this

Bitcoin SV, or BSV, represents the original Bitcoin protocol with a blockchain reaching all the way back to Satoshi Nakamoto‘s Genesis block in January 2009. Over the years, control over the protocol’s rules were slowly taken over by a centralized group of developers backed by private companies and corporate interests that didn’t necessarily align with Bitcoin’s vision of low-fee, fast transactions for everyone.

Those developers also altered several functions central to the protocol’s operations and economic incentives. Its transaction processors, or miners, need the BTC unit price to constantly rise in order to cover their costs—the BTC “block reward” for miners halves every four years (as it also does with BSV), and now stands at 6.25 coins per block. With a crippled 1-4MB maximum for every 10-minute block, they also must rely on large per-transaction fee increases. It’s not unusual to pay $10 or more to make a single BTC payment, making BTC unusable for “small casual transactions” as the original Bitcoin white paper referenced.

When BTC Core developers tried to hide this problem in 2017 by introducing external “payment layers” and the Segregated Witness (SegWit) transaction format change that altered the chain of digital signatures which is key to Bitcoin’s definition of a “coin”, supporters of the original protocol decided enough was enough.

The projects formally parted ways that year, and developers worked to restore the Bitcoin protocol to its original form, with the ability to process (and retain auditable proof of) transaction blocks of any size. There was another split of views in 2018 (between BCH and BSV), with BSV has continued and restored the original Bitcoin protocol.

Thanks to the work of BSV protocol and application developers, Bitcoin’s original promise still exists, and continues as BSV. BSV transactions cost a small fraction of a U.S. cent for everyone, and the network has plenty of capacity available for Big Data enterprise-tier use as well. Only now are people beginning to understand what Bitcoin can really be used for (that is, everything). The world’s new money was just the beginning.

New to Bitcoin? Check out CoinGeek’s Bitcoin for Beginners section, the ultimate resource guide to learn more about Bitcoin—as originally envisioned by Satoshi Nakamoto—and blockchain.

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