Garzik Predicts ‘Chaos’ If Changes Made to Both Fee Structure and Block Size

Bitcoin core developer Jeff Garzik sent an email to Pieter Wuille on July 22 in which Garzik spoke against the implementation of a fee market and also said that Bitcoin’s block size “will be increase eventually,” so it would be best to do so without adding a “second period of chaos and disruption” with a change in fee structure. He said in the email:

“First, users & market are forced through this period of chaos by ‘let a fee market develop’ as the whole market changes to a radically different economic policy, [one] the network has never seen before. Next, when blocks are consistently full, the past consensus was that block size limit will be increased eventually. What happens at that point? Answer — Users & market are forced through a second period of chaos and disruption as the fee market is rebooted again by changing the block size limit.”

A month ago, Garzik submitted a bitcoin improvement proposal, or BIP 102, to increase the block size of bitcoin to 2MB until a consensus is made between core developers and those participating in the block size debate. In it, Garzik proposed to double the bitcoin block size by November 2015 as a temporary solution.

Bitcoin core developer Pieter Wuille wrote an indirect response to Garzik, saying:

“Some people have called the prospect of limited block space and the development of a fee market a change in policy compared to the past. I respectfully disagree with that. Bitcoin Core is not running the Bitcoin economy, and its developers have no authority to set its rules.”

Wuille argued that a fee implementation should be adopted by bitcoin users, similar to Copay’s new variable transaction fee feature, in which users can adjust the mining fees. A fee market adoption would allow bitcoin users to pay higher miner fees (<$.1) to have their transactions confirmed or included in the blocks faster than the others.

Garzik stated, however, that such implementation would alienate the existing bitcoin users and would enforce a completely new environment that users would have to adjust to. The point that Garzik makes is that the fee implementation creates a major change in Bitcoin, as so does the block size expansion. If the blocksize will increase in the future, it is best to create minimal change for users, rather than creating two variables that could confuse the majority of bitcoin users in the long term. He said changes to the fee structure would cause a “radically different” — and perhaps problematic — experience for users, markets and the Bitcoin software:

“For the entirety of bitcoin's history, absent long blocks and traffic bursts, fee pressure has been largely absent. Moving to a new economic policy where fee pressure is consistently present is radically different from what users, markets, and software have experienced and lived.”

Jeff Garzik

Bitcoin core developer Jeff Garzik