Bitcoin’s Block Size Can Be Increased Without Hard Fork, Says Blockstream Co-Founder

Bitcoin (BTC) protocol developer Mark Friedenbach introduced a method for Bitcoin scaling he claims will not require a hard fork at a workshop in Tokyo October 5.

The new concept presented at the Scaling Bitcoin workshop, entitled “Forward Blocks,” suggests a major on-chain capacity boost by means of a Proof-of-Work (PoW) alternation that is done as a soft fork, combined with use of alternative private ledgers.

The proposal describes a method for scaling that claims to be able to increase “settlement transaction volume to 3584x current levels” and improve censorship resistance via sharding.

During the presentation, Friedenbach suggested major improvements for on-chain Bitcoin transactions, or those that appear on the Bitcoin blockchain. The so-called “soft-fork” alternation implies a strengthening of consensus rules where old nodes “still see the chain advance.” The research also represents a definition of “forwards compatible soft-fork,” for which non-upgraded nodes still receive and process all transactions.

In his presentation, Friedenbach emphasized the role of sharding…