After some confusion in ethereum following a backlog of transactions due to the Status ICO – which led to a brief, very amicable, debate – the majority of miners started increasing the gas limit. A limit that, in many ways, acts as a transactions limit.
The move was seemingly led by ethpool/ethermine, with ethfans, mininghub and nanopool joining. In combination, they account for around 55% of ethereum’s total hashrate, therefore the limit started rising, now standing at just above 6.7 million, up from around 4.7 million while around 4 million is being used.
F2Pool and dwarfpool are still voting for the limit to be lowered, but since they are in the minority, they both are targeting 6.7 million, which means the network’s capacity has in effect just been increased by around 50%.
That means ethereum can now handle more transactions, with fees potentially falling too, as the community manages to address the so called scalability debate in just about one week.
That used to be the case for bitcoin too when miners increased its capacity from 250kb, to 500kb, to 750kb and then to 1MB, but at 1MB the community split as some developers insisted that limit should be kept, even though all miners agreed it should be increased.
However, despite the miners and wider business community consensus that the 1MB limit should be increased, they failed to do so because Bitcoin Core developers refused to merge a higher limit, with alternative clients failing to gain majority.
That means bitcoin is unable to handle more transactions, suffering from constant backlogs and very high fees of $5.50 at one point, with the issue expected to gain some resolution on August the 1st after more than two years of debate.
In contrast, there was hardly much debate in ethereum. There was some initial confusion as terms like gas limit are new to most people, but once clarity was gained the ethereum supporting miners just raised the limit, and thus raised capacity, with ethereum now easily able to handle around 500,000 – 600,000 transactions before another miner vote increase is required.