Coinwallet.EU Floods Bitcoin Network in Pivotal ‘Stress-Test’

Bitcoin miners are watching closely as CoinWallet.EU aims to prove to the world that Bitcoin's current state is unsustainable.

Bitcoin miners are watching closely as CoinWallet.EU aims to prove to the world that Bitcoin’s current state is unsustainable.

CoinWallet.EU is a bitcoin wallet and brokerage service aiming to make it easier to buy bitcoin, avoiding the approach of “complicated orderbook style exchanges or intrusive US-based brokerage services.”

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The company is currently flooding the network with ‘high priority’ transactions that use more data-those that get processed by miners first-and paying an inordinate amount in fees (a total of 20 BTC, or $5,000) to do so. A total of 241 MB of data is to be transmitted, to fill 100 blocks. If all goes according to plan in the “ultimate stress test”, the network backlog will be 241 blocks, or 1.67 days. It may take 2-3 days for ‘ordinary’ transactions to be processed, as opposed to the typical 10 minutes to one hour.

Thus, it seeks to prove that a bad (or irrational) actor, willing to pay large but manageable sums in transaction fees, can effectively paralyze the network. The case will be made, it argues, for a larger block size allowance, or the future sustainability of Bitcoin may be at stake. The topic has recently been hotly contested among Bitcoin’s biggest experts and mining pools.

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Coinwallet.EU states in a reddit post:

“Bitcoin is at a breaking point, yet the core developers are too wound up in petty arguments to create the required modifications for long term sustainability. If nothing is done, Bitcoin will never be anything more than a costly science project. By stress testing the system, we hope to make a clear case for the increased block size by demonstrating the simplicity of a large scale spam attack on the network.”

Leading Bitcoin expert Peter Todd explains the supply/demand economics of transaction fees/priority to the masses in a beautifully explained post on GitHub. He compares the issue to the placement of a large order on a bitcoin exchange, sufficient to manipulate prices. In the case of block processing, it is ‘affordable’ to create a bottleneck- $40K is sufficient to choke the network, even with the envisioned 8 MB block size.

Steering clear of the block size debate, he says the test underscores the current lack of visibility into the cost per kb of data processed.

Thus far, full nodes are reporting backlogs of at least 8,000 transactions, and even blockchain.info has fallen behind in its updates.

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