For six years, you can take the virtual currency Bitcoin transfer money online, similar to using a credit card. But unlike the plastic money is behind the digital currency no company with mainframes. Instead, lead thousands of computers around the world in the background, the bookkeeping. Anyone can participate. And who will provide the computing power of its PCs, which is compensated – in Bitcoin. A central role is played by the sophisticated software running on the computers. Sophisticated algorithms and advanced encryption technology manage all transactions and ensure that no one can manipulate these accounts.
For the planning and development of this software, a five-member team is responsible. Now it has come to this committee to a dispute over the speed: Two members, Gavin Andresen and Mike Hearn, are of the opinion that the Bitcoin computer need too much time for a transaction. They fear that the Bitcoin infrastructure will soon reach their limits. To increase the speed, Andresen and Hearn want to change the size of the blocks in which the Bitcoin transactions are stored. Instead of a single megabyte as before, the capacity will be expanded to eight megabytes and then increased every two years. Thus, the processing speed can simultaneously even with very large number of transactions for a single hold up.
But this proposal has met on rejection with the majority in the Bitcoin core team. The remaining three members are afraid of the consequences of this adaptation. They warn that companies with strong computers and good network connection would preferable that the small PC owners do not come into play and would be superfluous. And that, the three fear, would have far-reaching consequences for the Bitcoin: more power for the big ones and hence centralization. And to prevent centralized control of the currency, is one of the main objectives of Bitcoin.
The two parties were able to agree on so far no common strategy – on the contrary: The conflict has escalated so far that Andresen and Hearn pre resplendent and a week ago released their own version of the Bitcoin software – a so-called “Fork”. The problem: The new version is not compatible with the old. It threatens the cleavage of the Bitcoin community. It remains the hope that the core team may come in the coming months on a common approach. Because it actually comes to a split, so it could have dramatic consequences for the Bitcoin: If two incompatible versions of the software are in use at the same time, it is possible that you spend a Bitcoin twice – once on a system with the old then once with the new software.