Bitcoin Cash (BCH) Stress Test Clogs Network

Reportedly, miners failed to follow instructions on block size, leading to a large queue of transactions in the mempool.

Over the weekend, a stress test clogged the Bitcoin Cash (BCH) network went through a stress test, handling more than 10 times the usual volumes. But this time, the stress test caused significant mempool congestion.

The possible reason is miners that limited block size, thus taking less transactions on board. Users discovered that three large BCH pools - antminer, BTC.com, and Bitcoin.com, have failed to allow larger block size, and limited blocks to 2 MB.

The stress test also revealed bottlenecks and “weak” nodes, which could not handle block propagation. Overall, the BCH community counted the test as a success, but skeptics saw it as revealing weaknesses in the network:

https://twitter.com/lopp/status/1036245691050483714

The BCH network is secured by 1,463 nodes, of which 764 are following the Bitcoin ABC version. The test prevented some of the nodes from keeping up with the distributed ledger. Running a node on BCH requires a commitment to a significant hardware investment, as the network attempts on-chain scaling.

The congestion happened despite the transaction load only reaching around 574,000 transactions in 24 hours. At one point, the network handled 100 transactions per second. Peak activity during a stress test in November 2018 saw the network handle 1.5 million transactions.

The Bitcoin ABC upgrades limit block size to 2 MB by default, although there is no limit and larger blocks are allowed when needed. The Bitcoin ABC team, however, did not see large blocks as a goal, unlike the competing Bitcoin SV chain that branched off last November.

The BCH network attempts a form of on-chain scaling, and so far manages to keep low fees. Still, the network only carries up to 50,000 transactions per day, a relatively low count. The BCH hashrate hovers around 2.1 EH/s, still much smaller in comparison to Bitcoin’s activity. But major pools also point their resources at BCH for additional block rewards.

BCH currently trades at $281.97, displacing Litecoin (LTC) for weeks from the fourth position on CoinMarketCap. Trading volumes reach above $1 billion, after trading for BCH picked up in the spring of 2019. BCH is still recovering from the November 2018 mining war, which spawned Bitcoin SV (BSV).

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