A Bitcoin Hard Fork? The Science of Contentious Code is Advancing

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Bitcoin developers are probing deeper into how best to execute a so-called hard fork, a contentious upgrading tool that’s been at the heart of the nearly $16bn network’s most divisive debate for years now.

The issue is that to be used cleanly and without unintentional consequences, a hard fork requires all the digital currency’s miners to move to a new blockchain, or version of its transaction history. One case study of what can otherwise happen came last summer, when ethereum inadvertently split into two networks after executing a hard fork some users disagreed with.

That’s not to say that all hard forks have the same outcome.

Interestingly, the following two ethereum hard forks went according to plan, as they were non-contentious changes to fix attacks on the network, perhaps demonstrating that they can go well if all participants agree.

Meanwhile, against this backdrop, some in the bitcoin community have long been calling for a hard fork to increase transaction capacity by raising the blocksize parameter to 2MB or more, with Bitcoin Unlimited being the latest software to take up the call for action.

One impediment is that, since increasing the block size is a contentious change, a similar ethereum-like split could occur in bitcoin if a

Read more ... source: CoinDesk

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