Several of the Bitcoin industry’s top companies have decidedly given their backing to increasing Bitcoin’s block size and adopting BIP101. They include BitPay, Blockchain, Circle, KnCMiner, Bitnet, Xapo, BitGo and itBit.
BIP101 is core developer Gavin Andresen’s iteration of the Bitcoin protocol that gradually increases the allowed block size to 8 MB. It is supported by Bitcoin XT, a patch on top of Bitcoin Core. If adopted by 75% of miners in early 2016, it would constitute a hard fork in the Bitcoin blockchain. The proposal has been the subject of heated debate in the community.
In a joint letter, the companies’ heads state:
“After lengthy conversations with core developers, miners, our own technical teams, and other industry participants, we believe it is imperative that we plan for success by raising the maximum block size.
“We support the implementation of BIP101. We have found Gavin’s arguments on both the need for larger blocks and the feasibility of their implementation – while safeguarding Bitcoin’s decentralization – to be convincing. BIP101 and 8MB blocks are already supported by a majority of the miners and we feel it is time for the industry to unite behind this proposal.”
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Indeed, the proportion of Bitcoin nodes supporting Bitcoin XT has been steadily increasing, and now stands at over 15% after only a few days.
Absent from the list of companies was Coinbase, one of the industry’s top heavyweights. The startup has been relatively quiet on the debate thus far. CEO Brian Armstrong seemed to favor a wait-and-see approach, indicating that hard forks (such as Bitcoin XT) aren’t so bad if infrequent. He tweeted:
5/ hard forks probably shouldn’t happen frequently, but periodically they are an elegant solution that helps bitcoin keep growing
— Brian Armstrong (@brian_armstrong) August 17, 2015
Also absent was Blockstream, a startup specializing in sidechains, and which last year secured $21 million in funding. It is believed by some that it opposes block size increases at this time.