| submitted by /u/ma-am
People need to realize, that at the current (and still raising) popularity of Bitcoin, bigger blocks wouldn't help much if at all.
The thing is, it is very easy to fill blocks. If blocks aren't consistently full, users can effectively set fees to as low as they want and miners will include them anyway. Maybe there's going to be some delay, maybe not. Nice and dandy, but it doesn't work for long. It worked for BTC because the number of users was tiny. And it will work for altcoins, as long as they are tiny. But as soon as a given altcoin gets popular enough to be even remotely significant, it will hit the same wall.
As soon as there is more demand than room on the blockchain, some transactions will be left-over and start piling up: the mempool will keep raising until some people are priced out. Some users will say: "well, that's too much, I'm not going to do that test transaction" or "I'm going to use an altcoin for this". There is a "cut-off cliff of pain". I estimate that this pain-price point to be around $ 10-$ 20 and kind-of fixed. Exactly between "too expensive for paying for any coffee" and "super-cheap way to make international wires". Where rich users are fine paying, but smaller users have been cut-off. Bitcoin got there already. That's why it's nearing $ 20k/BTC. That's what many of you wanted, right?
Tip for people with small amounts stuck: get your wallets ready and maybe, if you're lucky, there will another time when network will calm-down a bit (around new year maybe? or maybe when Coinbase finally start supporting SegWit, etc) and either: consolidate all your small outputs into one bigger TXO (segwit one!), or send to an exchange during that time so at least you can sell it. Just three weeks ago we had a period of 2-5sat/B transaction clearing out.
Anyway, there is no other way. We can't have billions of people on-chain. If we had 8MB blocks, we would still fill them up, until some people wouldn't be able to compete with the fees. Maybe we would buy ourselves a month or two.
Also: I've heard many people complain that using the coins is most important, and better for Bitcoin than holding it. It's absolute rubbish. The value of Bitcoin is set by how many people are willing to HODL it at a given price-point, not how many people are willing to spend it. "Spending" Bitcoin is just a transfer of Bitcoin from person A, to person B – nothing in the system changed except current owner of some coins. It's even worse if B automatically sells for fiat immediately. Holding BTC means that your consider it worth more than a current market price. Bitcoin could totally work and be worth millions per piece, even with transactions at $ 100, as long as people consider it safe and worth holding. As long as I can spend $ 100 once a year to increase my BTC-retirement-fund, and then spend $ 100 once a year, once I retired to cash out to some local currency, I'm all good.
Now, I now it sucks if you're not rich, and you can't toy with it, and keep sending between wallets etc. And you feel like altcoins are better etc. And it's true – ATM many altcoins a cheaper way to send small sums of money around. But saving / investing… let me tell you how it looks from my perspective…
I am a software engineer in Sillicon Valley. I have a well-paying job, I eat $ 20-worth of sushi for dinner, pay $ 10 every time I trade stocks, pay $ 3k each month for rent. I can invest $ 10k in BTC without thinking too much about it. And I'm not telling you this to make you jealous. The wealth inequality is so vast! That's just reality and I think it gives some perspective. I know as I wasn't born here. And I'm no one special here. I'm a nobody. I can't even afford a decent house here. (hindsight is always 20/20, ha)
And there are thousands of software engineers like this. They receive and trade stocks on a weekly/monthly basis, worry about the overpriced stock market, overpriced housing, pilling up cash that they have no idea what to do with. Do you think they care if Bitcoin transaction costs $ 10? No, they don't. And how many people who complain about $ 1 fees will take to invest as much as a person like me can? Hundreds. And as I said – I'm nobody. A CEOs here can drop $ 1MM on Bitcoin, just because they feel playful a given day, or they got jealous of some other CEO friend told them how awesome they are doing with BTC, during a golf game on Saturday. And they wouldn't worry about 50% correction much if at all. And do you think these people buy value-phones and look for good deals on economy-class cars? Do you think they have time to research which altcoin of the day has low transactions? Come on. They will all think something like: "let's put 0.1% of my cash into this magic internet money and see what happens. I want that Bitcoin thing too.".
So, you're free to have your own opinion, but if you ask me, for time being, the people who can not afford to transmit Bitcoin too often will and should just hold it, transferring it when it's relatively cheaper, and use altcoins for playfull spending etc. Just don't expect too much return on your altcoin holdings. I expect Bitcoin to consistently keep growing the fastest, while altcoins keep multiplying. It is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Or an iPhone vs hundreds of Android spin-offs thing. I use Android, but do I believe someone will dethrone iPhone? Nope.
In a sense… you want to invest in Apple stocks, even if you can't afford to drop $ 1k on an iPhone yourself. Because of people richer than you that can, and will.
And if it makes it any better, I know that LN will solve it all for us. We just need to wait a couple of months.. a year maybe for it to be more common. And I've been through all the early hacks, crashes, MtGox, great depression, forking drama… years and years of problems. And Bitcoin being too popular is like the smallest problem I've seen so far. The problem that smaller coins would like to have, haha. Being patient and some educated faith is what you are rewarded for.
This is what "big blocks introduce centralization" mean. When we scale to VISA levels, blockchain would grow 78 TB/Year. Not even mentioning what kind of hardware (besides storage) will be needed to confirm all those transactions. BCH developers couldn't see 2 weeks into the future when they coded in EDA. No suprise they are failing to see couple years in. All miners want is $ $ $ from transactions, not eventual world domination of bitcoin. UASF was a great success, thank you all for making it happen!
Edit: Someone provided better data that shows VISA processed 141 billion tx in 2016. That is 4471 tx/sec! We would need 1.49 GB blocksize to process this, and it would grow blockchain by 214 GB every day, and 78 TB every year!
With the current proposals for fixing Bitcoin's bloated blockchain and transaction problems, a theme has been reoccurring enough that I find it …
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With the current impasse that Bitcoin finds itself in, what are the theoretical and pragmatic implications of the blockchain staying at 1MB for the long term future?
Will this simply mean that transactions will take increasingly longer confirmation times? Or will there be a point where the network will simply not be able to cope with the number of transactions (if the transaction rate continues to increase). I have looked online but haven’t been able to find any answers for the blockchain illiterate that explain this.