While most Chinese Bitcoin exchanges, Western Bitcoin web-wallet services and Bitcoin software providers have weighed in on the recent debate regarding the block size limit, almost all of the non-Chinese Bitcoin exchanges have so far refrained from offering meaningful, public comments on the issue.
Cointelegraph reached out to all the bitcoin exchanges that account for at least one percent of global trading volume, as listed on bitcoinity.org, but we received no response from most of them. As such, it remains unclear whether the Bitcoin exchange industry would be in favor of raising the block size limit to 20 MB, as proposed by Bitcoin Core Developer Gavin Andresen.
Tuur Demeester, editor-in-chief at Adament Research, published a research paper this month called “Sizing Up the Block Size Debate.” Like CT, Demeester found that Bitcoin exchanges were generally averse to taking a clear stance on the issue. Speaking with CT, Demeester said:
“The Bitcoin exchanges have not spoken up during this block size issue. I understand why. It's a highly technical, polarized debate and they have not much to gain from publicly favoring one side over the other.”
The restraint from the different bitcoin exchanges on the matter is striking, as they form a fundamental element of the Bitcoin ecosystem. Because of this important role, the exchanges' preference concerning the block size limit could carry a lot of weight, especially if the decision does come to making the radical shift from Bitcoin Core to Mike Hearn's Bitcoin-Xt in order to allow for Andresen’s proposed bigger blocks.
ItBit told CT they did not have a strong stance on the block size issue, while BTC-e, Bitfinex, Bitstamp, Kraken and ANXBTC did not respond to inquiries at all. It also doesn't appear that the companies have made any public statements on the matter elsewhere. The only exchange that has is Coinbase. The company said on Twitter that they support the block size increase, as we reported earlier this week in an article regarding web wallets' stances.
The one non-Chinese bitcoin exchange to directly respond to CT’s inquiry was LocalBitcoins.com. Like itBit, LocalBitcoins.com was hesitant to pick a clear side in the debate, and explained that it would probably follow where consensus goes, rather than push consensus in a certain direction themselves.
Commenting on the different proposals that have been suggested over time, the community manager for LocalBitcoins.com, Max Edin, said:
“A one-time increase is easier to get behind and support, while a fixed automatic increase sounds dangerous in the long run.”
“Dangers to decentralization seem overblown. But many smart people disagree, so who knows? We are unlikely to be the first movers in this, and will adopt what seems to get the majority support.”
Update June 16, 10:06 UTC: After publication of this article, itBit provided Cointelegraph with the following statement:
"We believe the block size should be increased and are open to proposals as to what the ultimate limit should be."