Bitcoin Scaling: Graphene Compression Presented by Gavin Andersen

When it comes to the scaling of Bitcoin, there seem to be more ideas than big blocks or SegWit. Block compression is coming to the spotlight with updates from leading Bitcoin developers.

n 10 days, the world of cryptocurrencies will see for real how disruptive the SegWit2X hard fork would be. Scenarios vary from strangling the BTC1 blockchain to avoiding a fork altogether. At least in intention, SegWit2X still has a mechanism to take over, as the new blockchain has not activated replay protection and may not do so. 

There are solutions that require large blocks, with the idea of more computing power in the future. 

With present-day computing power, the demands of running a SegWit2X full node would start to become prohibitive. At the moment, the most full nodes are running Bitcoin Core. But others believe the future of the SegWit2X approach is bright:

But the alternative is to achieve a compression of the blockchain information. That way, a block may be in fact larger- and still require less resources to be built. Graphene in its latest version is partially based on a Bitcoin Unlimited proposal, Xtreme Thinblocks. 

"In order to scale the Bitcoin network, a faster less bandwidth intensive method is needed in order to send larger blocks. The thinblock strategy is designed to speed up the relay of blocks by using the transactions that already exist in the requester's memory pool as a way to rebuild the block, rather than download it in its entirety," wrote developer Peter Tschipper. 

The issue with Graphene is to accurately map the right transactions using filters. And while the difficulty of the tasks grows with the size of the mempools, the growth is relatively slow, hence making Graphene into a possible scaling solution for Bitcoin, in its current version as well as a large-block version. 

Graphene also benefits miners, as it speeds up block information: 

"Bitcoin miners want their newly-found blocks to propagate across the network as quickly as possible, because every millisecond of delay increases the chances that another block, found at about the same time, wins the "block race," wrote Andersen in his GitHub repository.

But Graphene is still far from being deployed- and the next 10 days would see more immediate concerns for Bitcoin. 

At the moment, the Bitcoin network has seen congestion again, as mempool size of waiting transactions has grown to a the highest levels in 2 months, despite the usage of SegWit increasing somehow.