With just days to go before its scheduled launch on July 14, Bitcoin1 – the corporate and Chinese-backed variant of Bitcoin – has suffered its first meltdown on testnet due to its demand for much larger block sizes.
Block size is at the heart of the current debate over Bitcoin’s scalability roadmap that led tp the creation of Bitcoin1 in the first place. Core developers advocate SegWit as a way to increase the effective capacity of Bitcoin’s current block size (1MB). The group of Chinese miners and companies backing Bitcoin1 want a bigger block size that would break compatibility with Bitcoin as we know it.
According to a bug report on Github, the Bitcoin1 nodes are not extending their blockchain on the Bitcoin test network, which is now stuck.
It has emerged that the code in Bitcoin1 not only ignores small blocks, but also actively bans nodes that create small blocks. Since there are no large blocks yet on the Bitcoin testnet, the reference client banned all the nodes it communicated with, leaving it isolated and stuck without any new blocks to extend its blockchain.
This behavior is actually touted as a feature by Bitcoin1 supporters, as it wants to punish anyone not running their software. However, the testnet clients still remain stuck as testers wait for a large block to be mined, which – given the lack of transactions on testnet – would probably never happen naturally.
More worrying is the fact that this behavior flies in the face of the message the Bitcoin1 developers have been pushing – adopt SegWit now through a soft fork and then hard fork later to big blocks. Unless it is changed, such code behavior would seem to suggest they will fork immediately when the software is deployed on July 14.