Everything That’s Wrong of Bitcoin
Edit: Reddit user lakompi clarified some things. Namely that you can’t exactly reduce SegWit to a larger block size (it’s a bit more variable). Rather than edit the below I’ve left it as is and you can read their reply at the link below. Similarly, 2MB’rs actually want and implemented up to 8MB. This was initially left out of the main portion of the article to keep things simpler.
Bitcoin frustrates me. I love the network and I hate the ideology, especially since both sides are fighting over nothing worthwhile.
The problems of Bitcoin are the problems of Humans. We’re notoriously bad at getting along. If we had it our way we’d split into small tribes of less than 100 people and be permanently at war with half of the other tribes. However, modern society is too complex so we split into groups of 2 or 3.
Note: This article assumes you at least have a mild understanding of what a Bitcoin is, and what a Block is. If not, scroll to the bottom for some definitions.
So why all the fighting?
Bitcoin is primarily dominated not by miners but by two ideological camps. The Church of the Segregated Witness and The Templars of 2MB. We’ll call them SegWit and 2MB. These two groups constantly fight with each other, even today, even after splitting, they still fight.
All you really need to understand is that SegWit is a 1MB block with 70–100% more transactions. A 2MB block is a 2MB block. They’re fairly close in terms of total transaction capacity.
SegWit “loses” data to pack more transactions into blocks.
SegWit is a fix to an issue where there was extra information being sent that didn’t need to be included. All Bitcoin does is keep track of who sends what Bitcoins. This extra data had people attesting to the transaction, saying, hey yeah, I saw that, looks good. When removed this gives a 70–100% increase to how many transactions fit inside a block.
The actual implementation of SegWit, as it exists today, sends out 1.7MB blocks, ignores 0.7MBs of them, and calls them 1MB blocks. Maybe they’ll change this later, send that extra 0.7MB of data separately. Practically speaking it doesn’t matter today.
2MB blocks give you bigger blocks.
2MB blocks simply hold twice as many transactions as 1MB blocks. They require 4x more processing than 1MB blocks but that doesn’t really matter. It takes a few seconds to verify blocks, and Bitcoin blocks are every 10 minutes on average. Also it would only require 2x more processing power if used with SegWit, but they’re not doing that, so it’s 4x.
These two deeply entrenched are fighting over 0.3MB of a block. And they split into Bitcoin Core and Bitcoin Cash.
Except they had a solution. They had a very good compromise. They could have had SegWit + 2MB blocks which would effectively give them a 3.4MB block. No Bitcoin Core+ Bitcoin Cash confusion, no splitting of a community, and hopefully less mud slinging.
Money works best when there’s one of it
And that’s what really gets to me. Currencies are supposed to be widely adopted. When you’re buying something it should not matter what your politics are. All that matters is do you have the cash. Now the community is fractured over ideologically opposed but technologically solvable issues.
So, in summary, you’re both the same and one of you should implement the other side’s “evil” to bring both sides back together.
Note: I’ve painted with broad strokes here, there’s too much arguing of minutiae. Ideological arguments aside the technical differences in the current implementations of Bitcoin Core and Bitcoin Cash did not warrant a split. A stubborn adherence to ideology alone caused the split.
Bitcoin — Magical internet dollars.
Block — A record of the magical internet dollars that were exchanged. Every 10 minutes a new Block is created and whoever spent/received their magical internet dollars is recorded in the Block. Thus keeping track of who owns what Bitcoin. Your bank does this too. It’s commonly called a ledger.
Block size — Each block can fit a certain number of transactions, previously all blocks were 1MB in size, now they increased them by anywhere from 70% to 800% in size depending on which Bitcoin fork you’re using.