Bitcoin’s block-size dispute rages on. A proposed change to a single parameter in Bitcoin’s reference implementation has spawned into a great debate, resulting in tireless discussion, multiple conferences , a growing split within the Bitcoin community and at least one prominent developer joining a bank-run alternative.
The subject of debate itself, moreover, started out in the technical realm, predominantly relating to the increased propagation time of larger blocks, and the level of mining centralization. Over the past year, however, the same debate mostly moved into the political domain, leading to the big question of governance, and the spawning of several competing Bitcoin implementations.
But interestingly, these two domains – the technical and the political – are not necessarily separate. Not only do some technological trade-offs require political decision-making, political decision-making can sometimes be influenced by technological trade-offs.
The block-size limit provides an outstanding example.
Social Implications of Technology
A widespread belief within the Bitcoin community (often employed to excuse the currency’s notorious use on darknet marketplaces) is that all technology – including Bitcoin – is neutral, and can be made to serve various ends. Like a hammer, which can be used to build a house or bust someone’s scull,