Last week, members of some of the largest companies in Bitcoin released a signed letter of support for larger blocks and Gavin Andresen’s BIP 101. One of those signatures came from BitPay CEO Stephen Pair, but it appears that the company is not married to one particular proposal when it comes to finding a way to enable larger blocks in Bitcoin. According to a recent TechCrunch interview with BitPay CCO Sonny Singh, the Bitcoin payment processor is also open to Jeff Garzik’s BIP 100.
In Favor of Raising the Block Size
Although the first half of the interview focused on BitPay’s role in bringing more merchants to Bitcoin, Bullish Host Alex Wilhelm quickly turned the conversation to the Bitcoin block size debate halfway through the discussion. Wilhelm brought up BitPay’s official endorsement of larger blocks and BIP 101, but Singh clarified that the company is really just interested in larger blocks more than any particular proposal:
“In all fairness, we don’t really care what size it’s going to be. We think it should be raised in some aspect.”
Many individuals in the Bitcoin community initially interpreted the letter from major Bitcoin companies endorsing BIP 101 as an endorsement for Bitcoin XT as well, but the alternative implementation is not mentioned at all in the letter. It’s becoming clear that the letter was more of an endorsement for bigger blocks than anything else.
BIP 100 is Fine Too
Although BIP 101 was the favorite block size increase proposal in the Bitcoin community no more than a week ago, Jeff Garzik’s BIP 100 now has a majority vote from the miners on the network. Alleged issues with the proposal have been pointed out by Bridge21, but it appears that BitPay is a fan of their own team member’s work. During the interview, Singh stated:
“Jeff Garzik is on our team. He’s part of the BIP 100 — he wrote that [proposal] actually, so we’re fine with that too.”
A key difference between BIP 100 and BIP 101 is that BIP 100 allows miners to vote on increases and decreases in the block size limit. With BIP 101, the rate of the block size increase is linear and predictable. The predictability of BIP 101 is why Bitcoin Foundation Chief Scientist Gavin Andresen prefers his own proposal over Garzik’s BIP 100.
A Block Size Increase is Not Mission Critical
In summary, BitPay’s Sonny Singh seemed to have a generally relaxed tone when speaking about a potential block size increase. Although the Bitcoin community has been in a frenzy ever since BIP 101 was implemented in Bitcoin XT, it seems that there are cooler heads working at BitPay. Singh went as far as to say a block size increase is not “mission critical” at this time:
“More importantly, we think it should be raised; however, it’s not mission critical that it has to be done. There’s still so much room to grow on the blockchain. We could double or triple and we wouldn’t have any issues right now.”
The BitPay CCO also endorsed the upcoming Scaling Bitcoin workshop in Montreal, and he’s hopeful that some sort of compromise can be made at the event. Having said that, Bitcoin XT Lead Developer Mike Hearn will not be at the workshop. In the past, he’s stated such events lead to no real solutions that eventually get implemented as software.