While bitcoin may not be facing a “nightmare” scenario as indicated by the media, digital currency users are now paying higher-than-average fees and waiting longer for transactions to confirm due to an unknown disruptive network user.
The incident has sparked a flurry of questions about the nature of the increased transaction load on the network as it comes amid the ongoing debate over scaling the bitcoin network.
Known as the “block size debate”, the issue has fragmented the bitcoin community into two camps: Bitcoin Core, the network’s volunteer developers, who are seeking to change to how signatures are stored, thus increasing capacity as early as April of this year; and Bitcoin Classic, a contingent of developers and enthusiasts who have launched software that would more quickly force an update to the 1 MB cap on transactions they believe is an impediment to user adoption.
At issue, is that when a user sends a bitcoin transaction, an extra cost is attached in the form of a fee. Effectively, bitcoin transaction fees serve as a way for users to bid to be included in a block, with that cost rising or falling with demand