A team of researchers from Bitcoin Policy Institute, a non-profit think tank, has flatly rejected the conclusions reached in a 2022 article stating that Bitcoin (BTC) has an inherent scalability problem that will lead to limited adoption in the future.
According to researchers at the Bitcoin Policy Institute, the original document, titled “Bitcoin’s Limited Adoption Problem“, is based on three wrong assumptions.
First, the authors of the original paper state that payments on the Bitcoin network require the full consensus of the network for settlement. Second, they claim that adding miners to the network prolongs settlement time by “delaying network consensus.” Third, they claim that there is an upper limit on Bitcoin payments due to the architecture of the Bitcoin blockchain.
Researchers at the Bitcoin Policy Institute reject each of these premises in a recently published paper with the cheeky title “Bitcoin works in practice, but does it work in theory?”.
The institute’s researchers, who come from six prestigious American universities, affirm that The so-called “limited adoption problem” is theoretical and contrary to the reality of how Bitcoin works:
“Hinzen, John and Salah argue that the design of the Bitcoin protocol causes a negative network effect […] This is an interesting theoretical result, but it is based on wrong assumptions about how Bitcoin actually works.”
Rebutting the claims in the first article, the institute’s researchers argue that its authors “have absolutely no understanding of how Bitcoin achieves consensus and how miner entry and exit affect the timing of new transaction blocks,” and that their research ignores “existing and widely implemented scaling solutions.”
Although the institute’s research paper concludes that the criticized work reaches a strong conclusion, namely that “Bitcoin’s blockchain is not well suited for on-chain payments”, he also points out that these scaling issues have been known since the creation of Bitcoin and have therefore been adequately mitigated since then.
Ultimately, the institute team notes that the authors of the original article are “fighting windmills” because “Bitcoin scales through off-chain payments, not increasing performance at the base layer. Off-chain protocols offer more scalability precisely because they don’t require network-wide consensus.”
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