Why Can’t We Have Faster Bitcoin Blocks?

Welcome, welcome to One Minute Crypto! I'm your host, Chronos, and I today, we're going to talk about two reasons why Bitcoin would benefit from more frequent blocks, and then why those benefits maybe aren't such a big deal after all, and we'll finish out with why that upgrade will probably never happen anyway Right now the average mining time between bitcoin blocks is 10 minutes, and that's hard-coded into the protocol

So what happens if we speed that up a bit? By the way, this episode is proudly sponsored by KeepKey, a convenient USB hardware wallet for keeping your cryptocurrency offline and safe They also have an affiliate program, where you can earn $10 for every customer you refer Learn more at KeepKeycom So the first benefit of speeding up the block timing is that it's an effective increase to the maximum block size, which boosts the total network capacity

Right now, the bitcoin network has a maximum size of 1MB of transactions per block, ignoring Segwit, so with blocks coming out every 10 minutes, you can think of that as 6MB per hour, on average If we increased the timing to 1 minute instead, that would be 60MB per hour, which is a huge capacity upgrade So why isn't this a big deal? Well, the block size limit is just a number that all the miners and nodes agree on If everybody agreed, we could just change to a 10MB block size limit, and have the same effect, so there's really nothing special about the capacity impact of the block timing Another benefit of speeding up the block timing is that users would see their transactions confirm on the chain more quickly

Waiting around for 10 minutes on average for your first confirmation is not a great user experience, and many alternative coins use faster block times to improve this But I don't think this is a big deal either, because even 1-minute blocks are much too slow for point-of-sale transactions like you'd have in a grocery store If you really want to solve in-person payments with cryptocurrency, you'll want something like the Lightning Network, with instant confirmations, or another security mechanism altogether You probably can't just use really fast proof-of-work blocks to solve this, because newly-mined blocks take time to be seen by the other miners, which can cause them to get orphaned The problem is just not that simple

So, what about the downsides of speeding up the block timing? Well, if we made a modest change, like cutting the timing to 5 minutes instead of 10, I think the downside would be nearly nothing There's a slightly higher risk that two miners will mine blocks at the same time, causing one of them to be orphaned, but it's not a big deal So why can't it happen? Well, I think that Bitcoin has simply gotten too big to be making upgrades like this It's simply too difficult to get such a huge variety of people to agree on such a major change So that's what I think, but what about you? Let me know in the comments below the video

I'm Chronos Thanks for watching!

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