The Bitcoin SV (BSV)blockchain has conducted a hard fork at block 620,538 to move closer to the original Bitcoin protocol, and to remove block size limits.
The hard fork was first announced on January 20, and its development team has described it as a “protocol restoration” and not as an upgrade, as it brings Bitcoin SV closer to the original Bitcoin whitepaper, removing several features that have been added over the years.
One of those features is the block size limit. It was originally implemented by Bitcoin Creator Satoshi Nakamoto in secret in 2010, and limited BTC’s blocks to 1 MB. In 2017, when the cryptocurrency’s price surged to a new all-time high near $20,000, transaction fees hit a $50 high, heating a longstanding scaling debate on whether limit should be increased.
Those supporting a bigger block size argued it was necessary for BTC to scale to achieve mass adoption, and a bigger block size would mean support for more transactions per second. Those supporting the 1 MB limit argued increasing the block size could compromise BTC’s decentralization as it would become more expensive to run a full node.
In August 2017, big block supporters hard forked Bitcoin to create Bitcoin Cash (BCH), originally giving it a 4 MB block size. In November 2018, when the BCH block size was «32 MB, the community split as some supported technological upgrades, while others argued for quadrupling the block size. At the time, a hard fork led to the creation of Bitcoin SV.
The ‘Genesis’ hard fork sees Bitcoin SV restore “full original functionality” pf the Bitcoin Script and the Pay to Script hash, while completely removing its block size, which was already of 2 GB.
BitMEX Research reported on the hard fork, noting that a large number of nodes originally didn’t upgrade to follow the new rules.
Bitcoin SV has conducted a hardfork upgrade
— BitMEX Research (@BitMEXResearch) February 4, 2020
While initially a chain split wasn’t detected, later on BitMEX research detected a new chain was created as some were still following the network’s old rules. Those supporting BSV argue it can now support more transactions per second than traditional payment networks as the network has been allowed “to massively scale.”
While minimum transaction fees are of one satoshi per byte, the upgrade could see fee rates drop to 0.25 satoshis per byte, according to a pro-Bitcoin SV piece published on ZDNet.
The piece argues removing the block size limit can allow for a massive transaction throughput, which is deemed necessary for miners’ sustainability ahead of the upcoming halving event. It reads:
Bitcoin [SV] can be used freely by businesses and people. More transaction capacity equals more fees, even if those fees are only 1/3 of a cent.
The halving event will see block rewards on the Bitcoin – and its forks Bitcoin Cash and Bitcoin SV – drop from 12.5 BTC to 6.25 BTC per block. These events occur every 210,000 blocks, or roughly every four years.
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