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nChain and Bitcoin Unlimited launch Gigablock Testnet for larger bitcoin block sizes

First Published 28th September 2017

Blockchain research and development provider nChain and software provider Bitcoin Unlimited (BU) announce a joint Gigablock Testnet Initiative to test the bitcoin network's ability to handle significantly larger block sizes.

To address Bitcoin's current capacity problem nChain and BU aim to lift the artificial 1MB base block size limit, enable larger blocks, and achieve significant on-chain scaling of the Bitcoin network.

Specific objectives of the Gigablock Testnet Initiative are to:

  • set up and maintain a global test network capable of supporting blocks up to 1 GB in size and sustained Visa-level transaction throughput (3,000 TPS) on the bitcoin network. The plan is to add mining nodes in Beijing, Bangalore, Sao Paulo, Sydney and Vancouver, to expand an existing network of mining nodes in Toronto, Frankfurt, Munich, and Washington State. Transaction generators are also located across the world. This larger Gigablock Testnet can be "stress tested" at very high levels of transaction throughtput; perform continuous experiments related to on-chain scaling on that test network;
  • based upon the results of those experiments, identify bottlenecks and find ways to fix them ahead of time, in order to provide a safe path to larger block sizes for the bitcoin network; and
  • disseminate those findings to the broader Bitcoin community.

BU has already created the new testing network, added mining and transaction generating nodes, and has begun carrying out its first planned experiment.

In addition, the project will also receive assistance from the University of British Columbia in Canada. Professor Victoria Lemieux at UBC will provide further research support where there are synergies between the University's "Blockchain UBC" project and the Gigablock Testnet Initiative.