Massive block knocks out 1 in 5 Bitcoin SV nodes – 808,000 transactions!

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Bitcoin SV’s triumph in mining a 210MB block was short-lived, with more than a third of the network unable to handle its massive size.

The block contained 808,000 transactions and, to be fair, 65% of the network handled it just fine.

But almost one in five nodes (17%) got stuck on the 210MB block including Coin Dance and BitMEX.

And it turns out that another 19% of the network is yet to even upgrade to the latest blockchain, and remains on the pre-fork chain.

Bitcoin SV upgraded on July 24 to increase the maximum block size from 128MB to 2GB, however, miners have implemented a ‘consensus’ limit of 512MB for the time being.

Bitcoin SV’s bigger blocks need more RAM

The massive block appears to have caused some hardware to run out of memory.

“It appears that our Bitcoin SV (node) does not have sufficient memory for the large 210MB blocks,” BitMEX Research tweeted yesterday.

“We have just launched a new node with twice the memory of the old one and it is now syncing back to the tip.”

There were three Bitcoin SV blockchains at one point, which is not a good look for the Bitcoin fork.

Some transactions that appeared to have been confirmed will have been discarded as a result.

The hash rate also crashed to 300 petahashes before recovering to around 1200 PH/s.

Bitcoin SV ‘stress test’ notification

Bitcoin SV proponents said the community had been warned well in advance about the “stress test” and that the results had produced a considerable amount of useful data to improve the network.

However, Bitcoin SV users weren’t informed about the minimum technical requirements to run a node until August 2.

For a listener node that expects a high volume of transactions, the requirements include a minimum 8 12 core/thread CPU, 32GB of RAM and a 1 GB internet connection (up and down).

“The node requirements were provided a week after release, not two months before as they should have. Not to mention the lack of communications, pre-production testing environment, etc.” Balzac (@eightyATE) tweeted.

Bitcoin SV lead developer Daniel Connolly tweeted screenshots of his 8GB monitoring node and his 4GB phone both of which he said handled the load fine.

Bigger blocks lead to centralization?

The block size upgrade was controversial and led to claims the network would become centralized as the processing power and cost of running a node becomes prohibitive.

Money Button’s Ryan Charles said that he wouldn’t be able to afford to run a node as block sizes increase in future.

Ryan Charles
CEO at Money Button

“Money Button went down because our Bitcoin SV node ran out of memory and crashed during a stress test…

Running a node is expensive.

Our new instance will cost thousands of dollars per month to operate. As blocks continue to get larger and we have to upgrade the instance many times, this cost will balloon.

Since we do not earn money from transaction fees like miners, it will be too expensive for us to run a node.”

Transactions fees of $350

The 800,000 transaction block earnt a fee of $350 BSV and took many operators hours to verify, potentially opening up a method to attack Bitcoin SV, because blocks could be filled with hard to verify transactions which would clog the network.

Fortunately, the Bitcoin SV network isn’t being used much right now and the vast majority of transactions coming from a weather app.

Calvin Ayre’s Coingeek owns or controls more than half the network via the Coingeek, SVPool, and Mempool.com mining pools. That means that everyone else follows what they’re doing.

So ironically, centralization probably helped save the day. In a properly decentralized network, the split could have become permanent.

To infinity and beyond

Bitcoin SV is on a highly ambitious path towards “infinite scaling” with its Genesis upgrade due in February 2020.

However, it has experienced difficulty even with a 128MB block size which led to several block reorganizations after blocks were orphaned.

Zak Cole – Founder/CEO at Whiteblock

Whiteblock CEO Zak Cole explained to Hard Fork in April that when blocks become too large, they take much longer to be processed by the network than smaller ones.

“The longer it takes to propagate throughout the network, the higher the likelihood of it becoming an orphan,” Cole said.

“The larger the object, the more likely it will be that it isn’t transported in its entirety and will likely have to be rebroadcast.”