Brave New Coin Survey Shows Bitcoin Holders Want Scalable Blocks, Less Centralized Decision Making

Brave New Coin released a survey today that focused on the on-going bitcoin block size debate. While it should be noted that the survey sample was heavily weighted towards American Bitcoin users and more respondents stated that they were involved in the industry because they hold bitcoin as an investment (rather than own a company or mine bitcoin), some interesting conclusions can be drawn from it.

Keeping those qualifiers in mind, 52.8% of respondents stated that they wanted the blocksize to scale based on the network needs and 54.8% stated that the the developers should “Add a scaling system now for indefinite growth” when asked when the block size limit should be increased.

A definitive 75% of respondents stated that the block size should be determined by miner vote, either after 75% approval (46%) or 90% approval (29%).

[Check out our own UK FOCUSED SURVEY from earlier this year]

Meanwhile, bitcoin users tend to think that the current process that decides which BIPs are committed to Bitcoin Core is too centralized. 43.7% of respondents stated that they think the current voting process is “too centralized” compared to only 36.5% who stated it wasn’t.

The most definitive statement to come from the survey was this: Nearly everyone wants bigger blocks, only 2.8% of respondents said they want Bitcoin to stick with its current 1MB size limit. The only option that scored lower was those who stated they didn’t have an opinion on the subject.

The biggest winner from the survey may have been Gavin Andresen’s BIP101 proposal. While respondents didn’t seem to warm to his assertion that a benevolent dictator should maintain Bitcoin’s code, since more users already feel like development is too centralized than don’t, they still seem to support his proposals.

BIP101 and Bitcoin XT scored a combined 50% when respondents were asked “Which improvements do you support?” Bitcoin XT’s main feature is BIP101 and a few less controversial improvements. If XT became the primary iteration of Bitcoin, it would also arguably wrestle control of the network away from current lead developer Wladimire van der Lann and hand it to Mike Hearn. BIP101 could be implemented without XT.

Jeff Garzik’s BIP100 proposal came in second, with 23.4%.

While this survey’s sample size is far too small to call it definitive and it focuses disproportionately on American Bitcoin users (through no fault of Brave New Coin, their readers are their readers) it does provide some insight into the views of the people who are rarely asked what they think: Your average, everyday, Bitcoin user.

If we want Bitcoin to go mainstream, the community’s leaders may want to consider the voices of every day users, they are the closest approximation to the general population that Bitcoin has.

You can read Brave New Coin’s summary of its survey here, and the entire survey can be found here.
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