ViaBTC Sparks Bitcoin Scaling Debate in Reddit AMA

The head of a Chinese mining pool backing an alternative bitcoin implementation completed a Reddit AMA earlier today.

AccessTimeIconNov 17, 2016 at 8:05 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 11, 2021 at 12:37 p.m. UTC

The head of a bitcoin mining pool that has emerged as a strong advocate for a bigger block size argued in a Reddit Q&A today that many in China's mining community support such a move.

ViaBTC founder Haipo Yang took questions during an Ask Me Anything (AMA) session on the r/btc subreddit, commenting on the block size debate.

The event saw strong advocacy for Bitcoin Unlimited, a bitcoin software implementation that has been proposed as an alternative to Bitcoin Core, the primary user client for the bitcoin network. ViaBTC was launched in June of this year (and quickly emerged as controversial).

The AMA session came amid the ongoing rollout of Segregated Witness, a change to bitcoin's code aimed at increasing the amount of transactions the network can handle without adjusting the block size. Yet the upgrade has proven to be a controversial one among some bitcoin users, who have argued that an increase in the block size – or a variable size with Unlimited – is the better approach.

Yang claimed in the session that, as it stands, China’s mining community wants a bigger block size, but isn't unified in its support for Unlimited specifically.

He wrote:

"Most pools in China have lost their trust in Core and shifted their attention to Unlimited. I know a couple of pools said in private that they won't support [Segregated Witness] and will support Unlimited instead. The reason that they haven't shifted to BU is that they are waiting for a better chance and also a possible compromise from Core."

Elsewhere, Yang framed the current debate as "a battle about Bitcoin’s future path", invoking bitcoin’s pseudonymous creator, Satoshi Nakamoto and arguing that Unlimited's approach is more in line with the initial vision of the digital currency.

While the thread largely drew supporters, critics emerged.

One notable inclusion was Blockstream CEO Adam Back, who wrote that Unlimited "is non-functional" and "little tested", among other critiques.

"I’ve already clearly stated my view: the protocol is more important than the code," Yang wrote in response. "We've been running Bitcoin Unlimited for more than a month with no problems."

The push for bigger blocks within China's mining community was also on display during a recent event hosted by bitcoin mining firm Bitmain. This development has largely continued despite the protests of Bitcoin Core and its supporters, who maintain alternatives would be dangerous if more widely used.

Image via Shutterstock


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