Scaling Bitcoin 2017: Science Is Central In Stanford (and Also The Politics Ignored)

Scaling Bitcoin Stanford team

Stanford University hosted the fourth edition of this convention during the weekend of November 4–5: “.”

The annual conference, sometimes known as a “workshop,” has in its short history grown into a little of an institute over the Bitcoin space. It plans to become that the primary platform for Bitcoin’s technical and academic communities, with very little room for business interests — and even less for its “climbing play” which has grown to be the standard on line.

“Here is the place where we want to concentrate on technology, not ideology,” said Anton Yemelyanov, that year’s planning committee seat, as he introduced the occasion on Saturday morning. “We need all to have objective discussions from an engineering standpoint.”

Scaling Bitcoin Inside the Scaling Debate

Scaling Bitcoin has a short but potent history.

The first two conventions were hastily organized one after another at the second half of 2015, both in direct result of the new-at-the-time block size limit dispute along with a looming hard fork throughout . Even the edition, the very first of those 2 conventions, was instrumental in bringing along Bitcoin’s technological community, which had up until that point largely conveyed through discussion channels and mailing lists. And the next edition in introduced Bitcoin’s mostly Chinese mining community onto the stage for the first time, quite literally. Confronted with a disk that is contentious, the occasions have been instrumental in creating community and across continents.

And the conventions proved crucial in preventing the tragedy — at least briefly. Hong Kong saw the introduction of, presented by engineer and major contributor Dr. Pieter Wuille. This invention was contained as a superstar in Bitcoin’s climbing, suggested by Blockstream CTO and Bitcoin Core maintainer Gregory Maxwell right after the conference, and was endorsed by large areas of the Bitcoin ecosystem. It finally on the Bitcoin network this summer.

Currently, two years after three Scaling Bitcoin conventions after the Montreal version, another contentious hard disk looms. — maintained by former Bitcoin Core contributor and CEO Jeff Garzik — is scheduled to hard fork next week in accordance with the to be able to double Bitcoin’s block weight limit — an effort dubbed “SegWit2x.”

Nevertheless, this upcoming hard fork did not require much care in Stanford. Apart from subtle remarks SegWit2x’s topic was nearly completely absent. Illustratively, Bobby Lee, CEO of and among the few outspoken SegWit2x proponents on stage,even refused to take some questions on the challenging fork after his invited discussion — instead focusing on Bitcoin’s meteoric cost rise over the past years.

The Talks as well as the Science

Scaling Bitcoin instead continued on the road set out this past year at the, hosted in. Having a broader scope than scaling independently , fungibility and solitude were prominent topics, while contracts, fees, mining and much more were part of this app too.

Probably the largest creations presented during the weekend, at least within the domain of features that could feasibly be implemented around Bitcoin with no rigorous protocol alterations, were presented by a number of the veterans (by today) at the space.

Tadge Dryja, co-author of and currently utilized by the, presented “Discreet Log Contracts.” In case the math checks out such as he thinks it will, these could effectively recognize trustless oracle approaches, possibly supplying a superior (being easier) option to the majority of innovative smart contracts. Put bluntly, believe these kinds of solutions can make resource-intensive systems like Ethereum obsolete.

Along identical lines that were conceptual, Blockstream mathematician Andrew Poelstra presented “scriptless scripts.” Without needing to embed the entire contract code itself, utilizing cryptography — specifically, touch aggregation — smart contracts can be anchored. Originally made for the routine, the notion can be leveraged from Bitcoin, also.

And talking of veterans from the space, Nick Szabo — partnered with (among other people) Mr contributor Elaine Ou — presented his suggestion to broadcast Bitcoin transactions over radio waves. Not so subtly referencing China’s recent, both detailed how Bitcoin can travel round the world (and over the great firewall of China) without too much requiring an online connection.

When the topic of Bitcoin’s block size limit — the “first” scaling matter that spawned the conventions — came up at all, it had been mostly in the circumstance of propagation speed. Maybe both most presentations on this topic, no coincidence were based on work by a number of those people involved in disk efforts. Even the team presented their evaluation outcomes on the “Gigablock” system, which they believe safely supports blocks which exceed current limits by several orders of magnitude. And UMass Amherst professor Brian Levine presented the “Graphene” cube propagation protocol, co-designed from Bitcoin’s former lead developer Gavin Andresen.

On the extent that next week’s hard fork was discussed, ” Anthony Towns’s demonstration likely came closest. Towns detailed how service for prospective protocol changes could be determined through market dynamics. Difficult 20, Though, while interesting, this kind of solution won’t be ready in time to your SegWit2x.

The Difficult Forks and the Politics

Indeed, compared to a number of the last occasions, a feeling of urgency was mostly absent from Stanford.

This may be in part because the majority of Bitcoin’s specialized community has by now roughly settled on a route forward   — also SegWit2x is no part of it. Likewise the question is not so much if Bitcoin will climb through layers; for these it will. Rather, subjects of study today concentrate on the way these second-layer technologies can be optimized for performance, privacy and much more.

Also, as a somewhat broadly organized volunteer effort, the group overseeing the conventions is composed of slightly varying individuals from 1 occasion to another. And resulting from a gap in vision to the 2017 edition, a number of the prior organizers as well as a section  of Bitcoin’s specialized neighborhoodwere also absent for this around.

Maybe as a consequence the feeling of community construction typical for a number of the last events was much less prominent in Stanford. And the question of how to take care of a looming  hard fork was a more central subject at the similar but more casual conference in Paris several weeks ago. In little over two years, Scaling Bitcoin instead transformed from what is best called an emergency summit to something akin to your normal academic conference though an emergency summit wouldn’t have seemed inappropriate at this stage in time.

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For a complete overview and videos of all demonstrations, see . (Or trace for transcripts.)

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