Scaling Bitcoin Day 1: Constructive Debate Shines

Scaling Bitcoin

Billed as a potential venue for debate on more heated issues surrounding the long-term viability of the bitcoin network, Scaling Bitcoin saw a who’s who of developers decamp to Montreal to talk about the underlying technical issues facing bitcoin yesterday.

Often reduced in conversation to mentions of its price or market cap, Scaling Bitcoin succeeded at showcasing the breadth of challenges posed by bitcoin’s approach to incentivizing disparate parties to maintain a common and equally beneficial distributed resource.

Held in Montreal, day one of the much-anticipated event focused more on how incentivizes for network participants should be balanced and less on the positives and negatives of any of the competing proposals – whether Bitcoin Core, its alternative BIP proposals or Bitcoin XT.

The more vitriolic parts of the discussion were confined to afternoon workshops on topics including the level of trust and privacy the bitcoin network requires between users and how relations between miners and developers should be managed.

Held under Chatham House Rules, the discussions were transcribed, though no names were able to be assigned to the content. Nonetheless, some of the more direct statements to the significance of bitcoin’s challenges were made during the presentations on these roundtables.

There, one prominent academic appealed to the overall spirit of the event, stating:

“In bitcoin, technical decisions actually have real economic consequences. Science compels us to hold these conversations to a higher standard, but those technical decisions should be made by actual measurements and not appeals to emotion.”

Others spoke to the value of the day’s denser, earlier topics including the need for a greater knowledge of how often inefficiencies in the mining network – such as orphan blocks not ultimately included in the chain – are produced, and the communications delays that result

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