Bitcoin SV, which split from Bitcoin Cash last year, has announced that it has successfully mined two 128 megabyte blocks, which are the largest blocks ever mined on a public blockchain. However, this is not universally regarded as an accomplishment: while some see this as a vindication of Bitcoin SV’s potential, others will see it as an excess.
Bitcoin SV’s Block Size
Bitcoin SV’s desire to raise block sizes was the reason that it separated from Bitcoin Cash last year. However, at that time, Bitcoin SV merely raised its block size limits. It wasn’t until this March that Bitcoin SV demonstrated via its testnet that 128 MB blocks were sustainable. And now, two real 128 MB blocks have finally been mined.
This matters because large block sizes are one way of achieving scalability: if a block contains more transaction data, fewer blocks need to be mined, and transactions become more efficient. Unfortunately, large blocks also put greater demands on miners. Bitcoin SV tries to avoid this issue by offering miners extra rewards if they mine a 128 MB block.
However, Bitcoin SV’s 128 MB blocks aren’t just useful for scalability: they are also ideal for storing files. Users can store video and music files on the Bitcoin SV blockchain, which makes Bitcoin SV more than just a ledger of crypto transactions—in fact, the platform describes itself as a “commodity ledger and data network.”
Other Paths to Scalability
Although Bitcoin SV has tentatively proven that very large blocks are feasible, its parent coin, Bitcoin Cash, is taking a different approach to scalability. Bitcoin Cash is improving its efficiency by fixing current bottlenecks and laying the groundwork for future improvements. Unlike Bitcoin SV, Bitcoin Cash isn’t increasing block sizes as a first response.
That said, Bitcoin Cash is raising its block sizes—just very gradually. As such, Bitcoin SV and Bitcoin Cash may be more similar than they seem. Arguably, most of the bad blood between the two projects comes from the fact that Bitcoin SV is promoting itself very aggressively, not due to the technical differences that underlie each coin.
Meanwhile, Bitcoin itself is approaching scalability from an entirely different angle. It is using features like SegWit and off-chain networks like the Lightning Network to handle transactions more efficiently. One thing is clear: as blockchain technology grows in popularity, scalability is important—even if there is no consensus on how to achieve it.