Bitcoin Unlimited Surpasses 51% of the Network’s Share

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Bitcoin Unlimited, which aims to increase maxblocksize so that bitcoin can process more transactions, has gained more than 51% hardware share for the first time ever.

The client reached over 52% during a 24-hour period, temporarily gaining the majority of the network, but it isn’t very clear whether this is just variance or whether new hashrate has moved to Bitcoin Unlimited.

Bitcoin India, a seemingly new mining pool, has found one BU block today. Moreover, the share of Bitcoin Unlimited over the longer time frame of one week has increased. Suggesting new hashpower is supporting the client.

Technically, 51% would be sufficient for Bitcoin Unlimited to upgrade the network, but variance may add difficulties, leading to suggestions by some BU miners  that they will wait until 75% is reached before upgrading.

Around 70% of the network has now decided either for BU or for segregated witnesses (segwit), a proposal that would facilitate the Lightning Network while making on-chain scalability more difficult.

The majority of those who have decided favor Bitcoin Unlimited, but around 35% prefer segwit. Some 30% remain undecided, but even if all of them favored Bitcoin Unlimited, the client would not reach 75%.

The situation, therefore, is very much in a stalemate, although Bitcoin Unlimited is seemingly retaining momentum, but it has some way to go. The first hurdle would be passing 51% on a longer time-frame than 24 hours. Then, if the client reaches around 60%-70%, commentators would probably conclude that the community has decided in favor of Bitcoin Unlimited.

The client went through an intense battle last month when Bitcoin Unlimited and Bitcoin Core went head to head. It had a number of bugs exploited, but it quickly recovered, while Bitcoin Core alienated miners and some parts of the community with suggestions of a proof of work hardfork or a flag-day soft-fork, otherwise known as UASF.

The waters seem to have calmed now, with Bitcoin Unlimited apparently continuing to gain hashrate. As such, despite some pretty intense weeks, the client seems to not just be holding its grounds, but is gaining new ones.

If it does activate, then capacity will initially double, allowing bitcoin to handle around 500,000 transactions a day. This would end the current transaction delays of hours to days while bringing down to cents or less the fairly high fees of $1 on average.

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