7 Leading Bitcoin Companies Pledge Support for BIP101 and Bigger Blocks

Bitcoin Magazine
7 Leading Bitcoin Companies Pledge Support for BIP101 and Bigger Blocks
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Leading bitcoin startups including BitPay, Blockchain.info, Circle, KnCMiner, Bitnet, Xapo and BitGo have come to a consensus to implement Gavin Andresen’s BIP 101, and to expand the current block size to 8 megabytes, after a long discussion with core developers, miners and the companies’ technical teams. A statement of their support was posted on the Blockchain.info blog today signed by Stephen Pair, Peter Smith, Jeremy Allaire, Sean Neville, Sam Cole, John McDonnell, Wences Casares and Mike Belshe.

“We support the implementation of BIP101,” the companies say in the letter. “We have found Gavin’s arguments on both the need for larger blocks and the feasibility of their implementation – while safeguarding Bitcoin’s decentralization – to be convincing. BIP101 and 8MB blocks are already supported by a majority of the miners and we feel it is time for the industry to unite behind this proposal.”

This announcement follows a similar statement released in June by five leading Chinese bitcoin companies, F2Pool, AntPool, BW, BTCChina and Huobi. In this statement, the companies explain their support for 8 megabyte blocks but raise concerns about any larger sizes. These mining pools currently represent over 60 percent of the entire Bitcoin network.

This letter of support follows last week’s announcement by Stephen Pair, co-founder and CEO of BitPay, that the company supports the “Increase maximum block size” or the BIP 101 proposal by Andresen and the merger of BIP 101 into Bitcoin Core.

“Currently, the block size limit is hard-coded to 1mb, which constrains overall transaction throughput. BIP101 proposes to increase that limit to 8mb after January of 2016 when a supermajority (>75%) of the blocks being mined indicate they support the increase. The limit on block size will double every two years after that until it reaches 8gb in 2036,” Pair wrote on Medium.

The post continues, “We believe BIP 101 will safeguard Bitcoin’s decentralized nature while providing a reliable, immediate path toward greater network throughput, and we would like to express our support for merging BIP 101 into Bitcoin Core.”

 

Photo George Redgrave / Flickr (CC)

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Bitmain Launches More Powerful BM1385 Chip for Antminer S7: Most Efficient Publicly Available ASIC
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Bitmain, the bitcoin mining ASIC provider, announced today that it has launched its fourth-generation ASIC, the BM1385. This chip, the company claims, can generate a 45 percent increase in hashrate while needing 50 percent less electricity than its former chip, the BM1384.

“The problem at the heart of designing chips for bitcoin mining is the careful balance of performance with electrical consumption. With lower power consumption, miners have lower electricity bills, or they can increase their hashrate without increasing their power expense,” said a Bitmain chip designer in a statement.

According to the company, the BM1385 can attain 32.5 gigahash per second at a power consumption of 0.216 watts/gigahash-second using 0.66V. This chip was built on the 28-nanometer process of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC); the company felt that it could outperform chips that were built on 14 and 16 nanometer process nodes that didn’t have full custom design techniques.

“The BM1385 chip represents more than six months of full time research and development work from our chip design team, so it required a significant effort to produce. This being our first full-custom chip design, it took a lot more work than previous chips we’ve put out,” said Bitmain Head of North AMerica Jake Smith.

Full custom design is an arduous process whereby the engineers have to lay each individual transistor inside the chip. However, while the creation process is more intensive and involves higher risk of failure at tape-out, the finished chips are able to do far more with less electricity.

“We anticipate that before we release our full-custom 16 nanometer chip, the BM1385 will continue to be the industry standard for the bitcoin mining industry,” said Bitmain co-founder Jihan Wu.
Bitmain has grown very aggressive with releasing its previous chips. Its BMI1380, which was used in the AntMiner S1, was released in Q4 2013. Its BM1382 and BM1384 came out in Q2 and Q4 of 2014 respectively. This is the fourth chip in two years that Bitmain has released. When Bitmain announces the launch of its AntMiner S7, it will use this BM1385 chip.

“A few of our competitors have also announced chips with similar power efficiencies; even though they won’t be selling these they will also have an effect on the network. This will probably cause hashrate to increase, and also make a lot of older, less power-efficient miners become obsolete,” added Smith.

Jacob is a product manager working in the industrial news space as well as a freelance writer covering finance. He found bitcoin randomly, fell in love with its potential, and has been addicted to it ever since. He runs a weekly newsletter about Bitcoin at CryptoBrief.com.

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Bitcoin Product of the Week: MunchPak Delivers Delicious Snacks for Bitcoin
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The Bitcoin product of the week series from Bitcoin Magazine highlights some of the cool, interesting, or funny things you can buy with bitcoin. What should we cover next week? Let us know at hello@bitcoinmagazine.com.

The Bitcoin Magazine team recently had the opportunity to review MunchPak, a monthly subscription service that curates snack foods from all over the world and ships them to your doorstep – all for bitcoin. Whether you’re a junk food aficionado, an explorer of exotic tastes, or simply bored with your usual snacking options, the MunchPak is designed to entertain and satisfy an adventurous palette.

Our one box included twelve random treats from all around the globe – which meant that we often had to guess at what was it was we were given.

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For example, the Sweet Potato Shaped Snacks from Korea turned out to be a sweet and crunchy Korean cookie snack reminiscent of French Toast Crunch in flavor.

Another candy had the chewy texture of lime-flavored Starburst, but with a thin layer of creme filling on the inside. We’re not sure what it was called or where it came from, but it was definitely a hit.

Other staff favorites included the Japanese soda pop candies and the chocolate-filled cookies (probably – someone ate them all before we had a chance to try them!) The only snack we unanimously disliked was an allegedly mango-flavored gummy, shaped like a turkey leg and covered in cayenne pepper.

MunchPak boxes come in three different sizes (Mini, Original and Family Pak) and are customizable. There is an option to send them as a gift, which could be a fun treat for students going away to college.

Boxes ship worldwide within 72 hours (with free shipping within the US), though they can take around 5 business days to arrive once they ship, depending on customs. MunchPak accepts payment by PayPal, credit card or bitcoin.

 

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