Bitcoin Startup Purse Proposes ‘Extension Blocks’ Scaling Solution


Bitcoin startup Purse has announced new proposals which could help solve the bitcoin scaling problem.

A new specification document released today outlines how systems could be upgraded to introduce new ‘extension blocks’.

The update would enable Purse to handle additional blocks beyond the standard 1MB blocks synonymous with bitcoin, and in large part responsible for the conflicting views on how to handle scaling.

The proposed Purse solution stands alongside proposals from Bitcoin Core and Bitcoin Unlimited, introducing a so-called ‘soft fork’ which could prevent the need for a split in the blockchain.

Since its origins in 2014, Purse has moved from offering a platform for bitcoin customers to get discounts at Amazon into focusing more heavily on its own network. This saw the company launch Bcoin back in September.

The concept has been cautiously welcomed by some analysts, and could alleviate fears of a potentially damaging shutdown which many consider a necessary step with other potential solutions.

Stephen Pair, CEO of BitPay and a contributor to the development proposals, said that the proposals would help them avoid a shutdown, minimizing market disruption while still achieving the ultimate goal of greater scalability.

“With ‘Extension Blocks’, you can implement something and maybe only a small portion of the network even cares about it, but it can be enforced by the miners and included in blocks. It can work or not work and it won’t impact the rest of the network.”

While the proposals are relatively in-depth, Purse is keen to stress at this stage they are only contributing to the conversation, proposing an alternative ‘third way’ to those advocated by Bitcoin Core and Bitcoin Unlimited respectively.

Crucially, the plans have already attracted support from vocal advocates of the challenger Bitcoin Unlimited, including mining company ViaBTC.

The potential bitcoin fork, which could see a split in the underlying blockchain, has been a source of fierce debate, with some advocating strongly for the need to adopt a more practical approach to scalability.

While the early signs for the Purse proposals seem promising, it remains to be seen whether they could provide the consensus solution the industry requires to establish a sustainable future for the bitcoin blockchain.


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