It’s no secret that Bitcoin has been facing a lot of issues when it comes to how to scale for global adoption. While the technology works well, it just can’t support a massive amount of concurrent transactions. As a result, there has been a long-standing battle to decide how to handle it, leading to a potential spinoff of Bitcoin called “Bitcoin Unlimited.” Essentially, it works similar to how Bitcoin Core (the main chain) works, but with differences in how it handles block sizes. So far, however, this split hasn’t happened, and it looks like it’s been losing steam as of late.
Trying to Cause a Split
Bitcoin Unlimited has been attempting to hard fork Bitcoin by gaining followers on their platform. They believe that the solution to the scaling debate is to make block sizes much larger, such that more transactions can fit in a block, therefore allowing more concurrent ones to take place. For reference, for months now, most of Bitcoin’s blocks have been filled to the brim, leaving many – even those that pay recommended fees – to wait until they can finally be fit into one. The idea of increasing block sizes aims to fix this by allowing more into a single block. So instead of, say, 1.5k transactions each, they can fit 6k, thereby reducing the wait time by that much longer (in this case, 10 minutes instead of 40, a fairly large difference).
While this seems like a great solution from the surface, it also brings about two very big complications:
- Transaction fees are supposed to subsidize mining. If people all pay lower fees, less goes into that pool and less miners find it profitable over time
- This would greatly increase the blockchain’s size, boosting the time to sync, adding another barrier to entry to running a full node, etc.
Both of these are potential issues down the road. It could take years for them to fully kick in and be a problem, but foresight makes it fairly clear that these would harm Bitcoin in the long run.
Faux Support for Gain
In the crypto realm, many are out for personal gain. They will push and do what they can to enrich their own lives, and it has led to some faux support of Bitcoin Unlimited in an attempt to make some quick and easy money. How is this possible? If Bitcoin Unlimited does, in fact, split, anyone who holds private keys to Bitcoin will have equal amounts of coins on each chain. In other words, let’s say you have 10 BTC. You now have 10 BTC and 10 BTU. At this point, you can dump your BTU as soon as possible and take those free earnings over to BTC and increase your holding there. In theory, BTC will still be the reigning champion, and this has led many to artificially support BTU solely to take advantage of the split.
Increasing Hostility Against BTU is Mounting
Aside from the small amount of true support for the hard fork and the fake support that just wants easy money, the community has made it pretty clear that they do not support BTU in any way, shape, or form. Beyond the norm when it comes to hard forks, such as when Ethereum split a while ago, with the Bitcoin situation, the majority of people won’t even acknowledge the potential existence of BTU. It isn’t even just a situation of which one they want to support more, but rather most won’t touch BTU, sell it, use it, or even talk about it. It’s a completely different game than the one played in the past, and it’s growing to the point where it doesn’t seem like BTU is going anywhere at all. Note, however, that some services have decided they will accept both chains (mostly treating BTU as an altcoin), so it hasn’t completely died off yet, but unless something drastically changes, it’s safe to assume BTC will remain the only form of Bitcoin.