September 26, 2022

BitMEX: Bitcoin nodes could not sync without periodic software improvements

Node synchronization of the first cryptocurrency would be impossible without continuous improvement software, confident researchers at BitMEX Research.

Experts measured the duration of primaryDownloading blocks (Initial Block Download, IBD) in Bitcoin Core client releases from 2012 to 2019 and came to the conclusion that older versions of the software may not be able to synchronize. At the same time, periodically introduced scalability improvements are the most important factor for the normal operation of the first cryptocurrency network.

“Older versions of Bitcoin have been desperately tryingcope with the growing volume of transactions in 2015-2016. Therefore, we believe that without software improvements, IBD would be virtually impossible by now. ”- says the BitMEX blog.

BitMEX: Bitcoin nodes could not sync without periodic software improvements

The number of days required for IBD for various versions of the most popular bitcoin client

Researchers have discovered that versions of Bitcoin Coreyounger than 0.8.6 cannot synchronize data after 2015-2016. Running older versions of software on powerful hardware did not bring positive results.

“We even tried to launch Bitcoin Core 0.7.0 on our newest local computer with 64 GB of RAM and an i9 processor, however, the node could not advance beyond 2016. A significant reduction in IBD time and the inability of older nodes to fully synchronize indicate that, without scalability improvements, Bitcoin would be essentially dead by now. Even if users had the most advanced hardware ”

The most significant speed improvements were achieved after the appearance of Bitcoin Core v0.12.0 - then the developers introduced a specialized signature verification library instead of the standard one.

“Technology innovations are unlikely to keep pace with the growing blockchain in the future, and time at IBD will continue to grow.”, - the researchers shared their opinion.

Recall, on November 24, Bitcoin Core 0.19.0 was released, which defaults to generating addresses in the bech32 format.