Bitcoin SV’s (BSV) quasar protocol, named after supermassive black holes that reside in the center of galaxies, went into effect on July 24. The main reason for the quasar protocol upgrade was to increase the block size limit from 128 MB to 2,000 MB, i.e. 2 GB. This seems to be a continuation of the long-running contest between Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and Bitcoin SV (BSV) to see who can have the biggest blocks.
Bitcoin Cash (BCH) originally forked from Bitcoin (BTC) due to an argument over block size. Bitcoin (BTC) opted to implement segregated witness (SegWit), which effectively raised the block size limit to 1.2 MB, while Bitcoin Cash (BCH) split off and raised the block size limit to 8 MB. In May 2018, Bitcoin Cash (BCH) raised the block size limit to 32 MB.
By November 2018, a fraction of the Bitcoin Cash (BCH) community wanted even bigger blocks, causing Bitcoin SV (BSV) to split off from Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and raising the block size limit to 128 MB. Now Bitcoin SV (BSV) has the biggest block size limit by far of 2,000 MB and plans to go to infinite block sizes — meaning there will be no block size limit — in February 2020.
But the block size limit increases by both Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and Bitcoin SV (BSV) have been pointless since the beginning. The chart below shows how the average block size of Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and Bitcoin SV (BSV) has generally been 0.1 MB, and often as low as 0.01 MB, meaning that the 128 MB block size limit for Bitcoin SV (BSV) was ridiculous to begin with. That makes Quasar protocol’s 2,000 MB block size absurd.
Another way of looking at this is the total size of the blockchain. Despite having much bigger block sizes, Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and Bitcoin SV (BSV) have much smaller blockchain sizes than Bitcoin (BTC), since far fewer people are using Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and Bitcoin SV (BSV) in comparison to Bitcoin (BTC).
It is actually a good thing that the blockchain sizes of Bitcoin SV (BSV) and Bitcoin Cash (BCH) are much smaller than Bitcoin (BTC). If the developers of Bitcoin SV (BSV) got their wish and 2 GB blocks were regularly filled, in only a day 288 GB of blockchain data would be generated. Within a month, most Bitcoin SV (BSV) nodes would quit since they would not have enough storage space on their computers to hold such a blockchain, leaving the Bitcoin SV (BSV) blockchain centralized into the hands of a few nodes and miners.
That being said, Bitcoin SV (BSV) is already overly centralized, with CoinGeek and its associated pools Mempool and svpool already controlling nearly half the network. In other words, a single company, CoinGeek, can control the entire Bitcoin SV (BSV) network if they want, and this is an unacceptable level of centralization.
This centralized control by CoinGeek was demonstrated right after the Quasar Protocol upgrade was implemented. A 210 MB block was pushed onto the network, causing 17% of nodes to crash, while another 19% had not even upgraded to the Quasar Protocol.
This represents a three-way blockchain split that occurred, and it was due to CoinGeek mining the 210 MB block while simultaneously controlling more than half the hash rate. As stated by the Bitcoin SV (BSV) developers themselves, ”If the miner that mined the larger block has a majority of hashrate, the chain will get longer and you’ll continue following the longest chain. The other miners will have to choose to either raise their limit and follow the longest chain or remain forked. We expect this is the likely scenario.”
Therefore, the Bitcoin SV (BSV) developers, who are closely related to CoinGeek, forced the Quasar Protocol upgrade via mining a ridiculously large 210 MB block that was likely filled with spam transactions. This single 210 MB block forces miners and nodes to either upgrade or leave the network, which seems like a totalitarian and centralized way of doing things.
The above chart shows mining difficulty for Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin SV (BSV), and Bitcoin Cash (BCH), which is highly correlated to the total network hash rate. It can be seen that Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and Bitcoin SV (BSV) have only a tiny fraction of miners in comparison to Bitcoin (BTC).
It seems foolish to play games with the small amount of miners left on the Bitcoin SV (BSV) network, but CoinGeek did it anyways to force the upgrade to 2,000 MB blocks, despite the upgrade being completely pointless.