Scalability Enhancements Kept Bitcoin Decentralized: BitMex Research
Adrian Zmudzinski's original article for cointelegraph.com reduced by 55%
Bitcoin node synchronization would be impossible if it were not for the improvements that have been made to the software, according to the research arm of crypto exchange BitMex. BitMex Research measured the Initial Block Download times of Bitcoin Core software releases from 2012 to 2019 needed to download the blockchain and verify it and shared their conclusions in a blog post published on Nov. 29.
"We then even tried running Bitcoin Core 0.7.0 on our brand new local machine, with 64 GB of RAM and 8 Intel i9 processors the node was still unable to get past 2016. The large reductions in IBD times and the inability of old nodes to fully synchronize indicate that if it were not for these scalability enhancements, by now Bitcoin would be essentially dead, even if users had the highest specification hardware available." The most significant improvement in speed took place after Bitcoin Core version 0.12.0 when developers adopted a signature verification library purpose-built for Bitcoin in place of a standard one. Interestingly, until Bitcoin Core 0.14.0 the scalability improvements seemingly kept the pace and maintained the sync times in a relatively narrow time range.
After those initial releases, the popularity of the Bitcoin network and its size started to grow much faster than scalability improvements made to the software, resulting in longer sync times. As Cointelegraph recently reported, the latest Bitcoin Core software update, 0.19.0.1, further improves on scalability by using Bech32 that natively supports SegWit transactions.
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