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Bitcoin’s Scaling Solution Without Hard Fork?


There are many issues surrounding the crypto industry today. In fact, one of the things that developers are trying to figure out is the issue of scaling. And today, developers and industry leaders are still looking push the maturation of the industry and eventually achieve growth within the crypto market. One of the things that needs to be achieved is for Bitcoin to be able to process hundreds of transactions all at once.

Bitcoin’s Scaling Problem

In 2017, the average Bitcoin transaction costs around $25 to $50 in fees. And for this reason, developers are looking for solutions to help those who are using the cryptocurrency. Because of high fees, many also tried other solutions.

At the event on October 5, 2018, Mark Friedenbach mentioned the possibility of scaling solution. The solution will enable an increase in block size without a hard fork.

For Mark Friedenbach who is a Bitcoin developer and the co-founder of blockchain tech startup company Blockstream, the scaling solution will make use of what is called “forward blocks”. Forward blocks allow the chain to scale through soft forks and also “privacy-enhancing alternative ledgers” or side chains. Simply put, this will allow Bitcoin’s on-chain transactions to increase by up to 3,584 times.

Sharding method has been discussed. This is an alteration to the current PoW system, shared coinbase headers, and other developments that can make the transaction throughput not something to worry about. But this isn’t the same type of sharding that has been referenced by Ethereum developers.

Sharding has become a popular term in April this year as it has increased the number of transactions a blockchain can process. The idea is that on-chain transactions and multiple network computers divide the transaction load.

Friedenbach mentioned that initially, he didn’t think about the solution originally. However, he was thinking about the “development of a dual PoW change where you introduce a new PoW with a soft-fork”.

Reasons for the Popularity of Other Coins

Scalability has been an issue that Bitcoin has to deal with. In fact, this is the reason why Ripple and Ethereum became popular. For the Friedenbach when he spoke with CoinDesk, “Forward blocks makes that whole argument pointless. We don’t need a hard-fork to scale Bitcoin, if and when we decide to do so. It can be accomplished as a soft fork, like SegWit was.

In July, Bitcoin engineers announced the launch of Bitcoin Operations Technology Group (Bitcoin Optech). This hopes to address different scaling issues that surround Bitcoin blockchain. This is a non-profit team that is backed by some industry leaders such as Wences Casares who worked as PayPal Board Member.

In order to increase Bitcoin adoption, it is important for scaling issues to be addressed. At this point, scalability is a priority for many. Could you imagine businesses waiting for their transactions to get verified? And this was the exact reason why altcoins have presented their case to be used for daily transactions. Could Friedenbach’s solution really make a difference? It is still not clear whether or not this solution could lead to adoption, but this is progress nonetheless.

Mark Ayesa

Mark manages our editorial team, social handles and is always on the lookout for great writing talent to contribute to our site. On a day-to-day basis he ensures the content on is of the highest quality and also carries out extensive research on any current hot topics of the crypocurrency world for our writers.