This past Monday, a European based Bitcoin brokerage, CoinWallet.eu conducted a stress test on the Bitcoin network. The stated goal was to create a backlog of 200mb worth of standard fee paying transactions, which would create a backlog that could last more than 24 hours to clear. The test began on schedule, however within a few hours it became apparent that the test was not going quite as planned. While transactions were building up, the desired backlog was not materializing. A post by CoinWallet later in the day revealed that the test resulted in a number of their transaction sending servers to crash, thus preventing the test from reaching its full impact.
Nevertheless, despite the “failed” test, which purportedly was only 10% as strong as planned, still had a wide range of effects on the Bitcoin network. These included up to 13 hour confirmation times for “economic” fee transactions, up to 2 hours confirmation times for standard fee transactions, a complete failure of blockchain.info, failure of numerous Bitcoin ATMs (most notably the Lamassu ATM), and numerous other anecdotal issues that are too widespread to keep track of.
According to the company, this will not be the last stress test that they perform on the network, and from the looks of it, they plan on running a followup test next Monday. The goal will be the same as the first test, however it is likely that the company will take more care to ensure that things go exactly as planned. The Coin Front has reached out to CoinWallet regarding these tests and will hopefully arrange an interview with the company’s CTO in the near future. In the meantime, we can only speculate as to how much the next test will impact the network, and the Bitcoin community’s decision on whether or not to increase the block size.
Jun 25, 2015