Five Big Questions for Bitcoin Growth in 2016

By January 18, 2016Bitcoin Business

Ryan Selkis is Director of Growth at Digital Currency Group and creator of the Two-Bit Idiot blog. He is currently working full-time with the CoinDesk and Consensus 2016 teams on operating activities and scaling initiatives. question, dilemma There have already been dozens of 2016 prediction lists emanating from the broader bitcoin and blockchain community over the past several weeks, so I’ll avoid contributing to the cacophony. After the abysmal results with my personal predictions for 2014–2015, I’ve finally learned to ask more questions and offer fewer forecasts, anyway.

Instead of prognosticating, I’ll offer 10 simple questions for the bitcoin/blockchain industry going into this year.

Next week, I’ll address the broader blockchain ecosystem. This week, I’ve got five questions for bitcoin in 2016: Block-size debate

The growth in bitcoin transaction volumes shows no sign of abating, and yet the 1MB block data limit is no closer to being raised than it was six months ago. Whether and how it is raised (via hard fork or changes to Bitcoin Core) will have lasting repercussions, and changing one of bitcoin’s fundamental rules will have unintended, unpredicted and perhaps negative consequences. One of bitcoin’s earliest contributors has now written off bitcoin as a failed experiment .

So it helps to remember that the important question this year is not necessarily how bitcoin is scaled, but whether it is allowed to scale without a dogfight.

There are currently only four ways to scale bitcoin today: via lightning networks, via sidechains, via off-blockchain transactions batched by third parties (eg: Coinbase), or by increasing the block-size. Lightning networks and sidechains aren’t yet ready for prime time, and most technologists would agree that increasing the clout of third-party transaction processors goes against bitcoin’s intended design. No offense to the segregated witness enthusiasts, but that doesn’t sound like a true scaling solution […]

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