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Blockstream’s Johnny Dilley: We’ll Eventually Have an Adaptive Block Size Solution

Technical - Blockstream’s Johnny Dilley: We’ll Eventually Have an Adaptive Block Size Solution

The Crypto Show recently interviewedJohnny Dilley, who runs strategy at Blockstream. Dilley shared his views on the future of Bitcoin’s block size limit, and explained why he’s not worried that a solution has yet to be chosen. Dilley’s calm demeanor in regard to the block size issue seems to be partially based on his excitement over various improvements that are making their way to Bitcoin via soft forks.

That a Hard Fork Hasn’t Happened Is Bullish for Bitcoin

When asked about the lack of a hard fork to a larger block size limit up to this point, Dilley said that nothing is likely to change over the short term. He explained:

“I think, today, we’re still no closer to any short-term movement (six months to a year) on the block size issue. That just has to do with the fact that driving consensus in a system that’s designed to not force anyone to do anything is difficult ‒ and that’s actually a good thing.”

Dilley expounded on his view, which has been also been expressed by Bitcoin Core contributor Cory Fields and others, that the difficulties with coming to consensus on changes in Bitcoin is a good thing. The former member of the Pantera Capital team stated:

“The fact that there is considerable tension and the fact that a hard fork hasn’t happened is actually the most-encouraging, most-bullish sign for Bitcoin that there’s been in two years. It means that the system works. The fact that it’s difficult to make controversial changes to Bitcoin is a really good sign. It means it’s very resilient to attempts to overturn outstanding or current governance status.”

Dilley added a disclaimer to his bullish tone, stating, “To be clear, I’m the most bullish Bitcoiner I know.”

No One Entity Has Control Over the Block Size Limit

In terms of what kind of change will eventually be seen in Bitcoin’s block size limit, Dilley said, “We will get to some sort of adaptive block size solution.”

BitPay co-founder and CEO Stephen Pair’s simple, adaptive block size limit is the one flexible solution that has garnered the most attention up to this point; however, many similar proposals have been made over the years.

In terms of how a final decision will be made, Dilley added, “I don’t think any individual or institution really has any control over what that final state looks like.”

Although Bitcoin has not hard forked to a larger block size yet, much of the community, including Dilley, is encouraged by the various improvements, such as CHECKSEQUENCEVERIFY and Segregated Witness, that are currently being tested and rolled out onto the network.

Excitement for BIP 9, Also Known as Version Bits

Dilley mentioned a variety of improvements that are coming to Bitcoin, but he seemed most excited about BIP 9 (Version Bits), which was recently used for the first time in the release of Bitcoin Core 0.12.1. This is a change to the way in which soft forks are rolled out, and it will allow many soft forks to be deployed at the same time. 

“That’ll be a massive and strict improvement for Bitcoin’s ability to get multiple things in flight at once,” Dilley said.

In terms of how upgrades have been made in the past, Dilley added, “This sequential methodology that we’ve been working off of has actually slowed our ability to roll out the types and kinds of things that Bitcoin needs to really thrive.”

Kyle Torpey is a freelance journalist who has been following Bitcoin since 2011. His work has been featured on VICE Motherboard, Business Insider, NASDAQ, RT’s Keiser Report and many other media outlets. You can follow @kyletorpeyon Twitter.