Bitcoin Unlimited (BU) is a full node software client for the Bitcoin network. While compared to the Bitcoin Core client, Bitcoin Unlimited does not hard-code the limit, enabling the users to signal which block size limit they prefer and to find the limit having a majority consent and set their block size limit to that value. The release of Bitcoin Unlimited serves the release of Bitcoin XT and Bitcoin Classic, alternative clients which intended to improve bitcoin’s transaction capacity of around 2.5-3 transactions/second by increasing the hard-coded block size limit.
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History of Bitcoin Unlimited
Bitcoin Unlimited is an effort to upgrade Bitcoin Core into a client which treats Bitcoin transactions into blocks with a potential maximum size greater than the Core’s hard-coded limit of one megabyte. The one-megabyte block size limit was totalled in 2010 by Satoshi Nakamoto as a short anti-spam step. It defined the maximum network capacity to about three transactions/second. Through the advocates of the change, a block size increase is required to withdraw a workflow bottleneck due to a number of the operations made as Bitcoin adoption increases. BUIP001 documented the program and was drafted by lead developer Andrew Stone.
With Bitcoin Unlimited, miners are individually able to configure the size of the Bitcoin blocks they will validate. Maximum Generation Size also referred to as MG is a new parameter which by default is set to one megabyte. It allows the users to change it and select the size of blocks they produce. Excessive Block Size parameter enables nodes to determine the size of the block they accept. By default, this is set at 16 megabytes. The third new parameter allows a user to select the Extreme Acceptance Depth. It implements a content strategy by retroactively allowing larger blocks if the majority of other miners have done so. Miners using Bitcoin Unlimited continue to process regular-sized blocks, but as soon as a block larger than 1 MB is mined, they will follow the chain including the most work.
How does it work?
The Bitcoin Unlimited client is used to indicate support for the activation of the “Emergent Consensus” protocol which is created to allow the dynamic block size, by taking advantage of Bitcoin’s enduring consensus mechanism. Nodes will indicate the preference on the block size issue, and direct their node to only relay Bitcoin blocks below their selected size, thus hindering the distribution of larger Bitcoin blocks over the network. It will give a “voice” to all participants of the network.
This system allows users to collect the maximum block size they want to accept as legitimate. However, there is a user-configurable fail-safe mechanism that lets users receive a block larger than the limit they have previously set if some blocks above this threshold reach a certain number. It also ensures that no users are unintentionally left behind.
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In the BU system, node operators will choose the block size limit they vote on by modifying their client via a GUI list and miners to decide to improve or lower the block size according to what nodes are voting on. It would, in theory, create a system where Bitcoin scales according to the space needed to provide the transactions in the network which is prone to keep growing like Bitcoin’s reputation and user base.
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