Meet BSV & Bitcoin Association – Bitcoin SV Developers Week 2021 introduction

By Lizette Louw | 10 May 2021
Meet BSV & Bitcoin Association – Bitcoin SV Developers Week 2021 introduction

This year's edition of Bitcoin SV Developers Week, or Bitcoin SV DevCon 2021 is coming up in May. Last year’s DevCon was the first to be presented virtually and we welcomed more than 3,400 unique participants. Thanks to your interest, we expect an even bigger turnout this year.

If you are new to the Bitcoin SV world, we want to tell you about the potential we see for developing on Bitcoin and how Bitcoin SV enables these unique capabilities.

We also want to inform developers about Bitcoin Association and the resources and initiatives we offer as the global industry organisation that supports the growth and development of Bitcoin SV and its technical infrastructure, as well as the developers and enterprises that rely on it all around the world. 

What is Bitcoin?

Bitcoin is a lot of different things to many different people. But our developers conference focuses on the powerful capabilities of Bitcoin you may not even be aware of and how to leverage them for powerful businesses, applications and services.

Bitcoin was introduced to the world through the famed Satoshi Nakamoto white paper, who described it as a peer-to-peer electronic cash system. The white paper was introduced in 2008 and the Bitcoin blockchain began in 2009. 

Since then, there has been a misconception that Bitcoin is only an electronic cash system. People think of it as justdigital currency, not a powerful technology platform to build enterprise-class data applications. But that is really what it is. 

In addition to being a digital currency, Bitcoin is something even bigger - the fusion of data and money. This is inherent in its name: bit (data) + coin (money) combine to make Bitcoin. 

Bitcoin is a commodity data ledger that allows data to be used to transfer monetary value, but it also offers data and technical functionalities. We want you to understand that's where its real technical power comes from.

What is Bitcoin SV?

So, what is Bitcoin SV? Bitcoin SV emerged after years of debates over the future of Bitcoin and whether it could scale sufficiently to become a global enterprise blockchain that supports millions of different applications and services. By continuing the original protocol design and vision of Satoshi Nakamoto, Bitcoin SV is on its way to achieving this goal. It is both a peer-to-peer electronic cash system and the global enterprise blockchain that all developers can use to build the most powerful applications for a blockchain-powered future.

Bitcoin SV’s four pillars

Bitcoin SV is designed with four key pillars in mind: having a stable protocol, enabling massive scaling as Satoshi Nakamoto always envisioned, devoting itself to security with a professionalised approach to engineering and committing to the ability to do safe instant transactions.

A stable protocol with Bitcoin’s original design

Why do we keep mentioning the protocol? Bitcoin is more than just a digital currency and a blockchain. Bitcoin is also a network protocol. Just like the Internet protocol, it is a foundational ruleset for an entire data network. It also provides the basis to create systems within or upon its ruleset, just like HTTP is a further protocol built on top of TCP/IP for the Internet and allows HTML to be distributed across the World Wide Web. This is important to understand because additional systems and rulesets are being built within and on top of the Bitcoin protocol. 

Genesis hard fork upgrade

Bitcoin SV has almost completely restored the original Bitcoin protocol released by Satoshi Nakamoto in 2009. After years of deviation by prior protocol developers with the BTC implementation, in addition to similar restrictions introduced in the BCH implementation, the Bitcoin SV team successfully implemented the Genesis hard fork on February 4, 2020, to restore the original Bitcoin protocol.

The hard fork accomplished several goals. Crucially, it removed several artificial limits imposed on the protocol, such as the limit on the block cap size - thus removing transaction and data capacity restrictions and opened up all-new possibilities for developers and enterprises alike. Genesis also restored the full original functionality of Bitcoin Script, which is the programming language used within the Bitcoin protocol. The update also removed some detrimental changes that had been made to the Bitcoin protocol over time like pay-to-script-hash (P2SH). P2SH was an addition made to the Bitcoin protocol after Satoshi left the project to address perceived issues with bare multi-signatures. P2SH brought significant privacy and security issues, in addition to breaking the smart contract capabilities and transparency model of Bitcoin’s original design.

Bitcoin SV Node software v1.0.7 release, February 2021

The latest release of the Bitcoin SV Node software lifted the ancestor and child-pays-for-parent (CPFP) limit from 25 to 1,000 transactions. This facilitates an even broader spectrum of business use cases for Bitcoin SV by enabling longer chains of unconfirmed transactions.

The lifting of the ancestor limit is a big win for the digital asset ecosystem. Whereas before, an event could be recorded roughly every 25 seconds, now, sequences of events can be recorded within the space of a single second.

Steve Shadders, Technical Director of the Bitcoin SV Infrastructure Team, encourages developers to adjust their thinking to reflect the heightened ceiling for Bitcoin SV development.

‘People should really start thinking about applications that might make use of 100,000-long chains or even longer, because that will certainly be possible in the not-too-distant future. Once we’ve tested the 1,000-transaction limit in the wild for a sufficient period, I expect that we will remove the limit entirely.’

A protocol must be stable to sustain an enterprise-class technology platform. Satoshi Nakamoto recognised this back in 2010, writing, ‘The nature of Bitcoin is such that once versioned 0.1 was released, the core design was set in stone for the rest of its lifetime.’ 

Developers and big enterprises will only commit time and resources to build on a technology platform if its protocol is stable and its rulesets are not changing to invalidate or undermine the great applications that you have built. 

Bitcoin’s original protocol allows unbounded scaling

The second pillar of Bitcoin SV is massive scaling. Massive scale is critical for the ability to build powerful applications. For years, the Bitcoin community underwent scaling debates about whether Bitcoin should scale to bigger block sizes. Bitcoin Core has stayed at 1MB - 2MB in block size, allowing only three transactions per second on average, with a maximum of seven transactions per second. This is nowhere near the Visa network's average throughput of 2,000 transactions per second and a far cry from its peak scale of 56,000 transactions per second. 

The Bitcoin SV approach is very simple: unbounded scaling. It should not be up to any protocol developer to limit the block capacity. It should be up to network and market forces. This is critical for achieving scaling. 

This is something that the Ethereum network is still struggling with. In 2019, Vitalik Buterin acknowledged that the Ethereum blockchain was almost full. The efforts to deliver a theoretical 2.0 version are still lagging. On Bitcoin SV, however, through technical improvements and an understanding of how network scaling works – both in theory and in practice - we are constantly seeing world record-sized blocks being mined. 

Massive Bitcoin SV blocks = minor transaction fees

In March 2021, Bitcoin SV broke a world record by successfully mining a block nearly 20-times the size that could even be attempted by the next most efficient blockchain. The block was over 638MB of large chunks of data. No other blockchain network allows the use of transactions to upload large or complex data to the blockchain. We think the future is even bigger, with terabyte-sized blocks enabling Bitcoin SV to be the global data network for the future. 

This also provides a practical advantage for developers through very low transaction fees - unlike the Ethereum network, which has had transaction fees, or gas fees, soar to over $30 per transaction, because of the limitless size of blocks on the Bitcoin SV network, transaction fees are low and more importantly, reliable, because of the unlimited capacity on each block. And because fees are predictable, developers and enterprises know how much transactions will cost when they are building applications. 

The median transaction fee on Bitcoin SV has been less than 1/100th of $0.01 for over a year. We think those numbers will continue to go even lower as the Bitcoin SV network scales. 

Bitcoin SV use cases

These low fees open up a whole new world of microtransactions, allowing users to do all kinds of amazing things on the Bitcoin SV network with large volumes of transactions that have very small fees attached to them.

Low transaction fees also enable a diverse array of business use cases that we are already seeing emerging on Bitcoin SV.

The Bitcoin SV blockchain is being used for storing healthcare data, managing supply chains and powering a fairer world of online gaming and eSports. Casino and iGaming companies are using tokens built on Bitcoin SV to help replicate casino and iGaming funding capabilities. Social media, entertainment and media content is being managed on the blockchain. Identity management, big streams of big data feeds and Internet of Things devices are streaming data to the blockchain. Digital advertising and new products such as extended reality with augmented reality and virtual reality products are using the Bitcoin SV blockchain. And of course, financial services. All of this is possible due to Bitcoin SV’s unbounded scaling and small transaction fees. 

Our vision is a future where everything is not only capable of being online, but all kinds of data and activity can also be recorded and used on-chain. It's a future vision of a fully on-chain world that brings many new efficiencies and advantages.

Bitcoin Association developer resources and initiatives 

Providing developers with the tools and opportunities to break into blockchain is one of the key undertakings of Bitcoin Association. You already know about Bitcoin SV DevCon that we started in 2020, but we've seen so much demand and interest across the world as people are learning and waking up to the power of Bitcoin and Bitcoin SV that we knew we needed to do more. 

In 2020 we launched a Bitcoin SV Wiki as the technical site for information about the Bitcoin SV Node software and technical infrastructure. 

Though it is not run by the Bitcoin Association, BitcoinSVDevs.com provides an index of developer resources, tools and libraries that is constantly updated by developers creating new applications on Bitcoin SV.

We have launched a series of Bitcoin SV educational webinars with our partners at nChain. In 2020, we ran a series in both English and Chinese. We will repeat the webinar series in 2021.

For those who like to compete, we host bi-annual Bitcoin SV Hackathon events. Unlike some of our previous Hackathons, which happened over a two-day weekend period, our 2021 Hackathon will take place over six weeks, giving participants more time to work on their submissions. There is a prize pool of a total of $100,000 available for the top three finalists, to be paid out in BSV. You can sign up for updates on our future Hackathons over here.

We also launched the first module of our Bitcoin SV Academy developers stream in March 2021. Over time, it will be built into a comprehensive online education curriculum for developers that will lead to a developer certification programme. You can sign up for the introductory Bitcoin development course over here.

If you want to learn more about everything Bitcoin Association is doing, we invite you to become an affiliate. It is free to sign up and you can stay up to date on the events and activities we offer. 

Our next big event will be the CoinGeek series of conferences, which highlight the business power of Bitcoin SV. Due to global restrictions, the event will be a hybrid between virtual and live, scheduled for June 8-10, 2021. Registrations are open, so head over to the CoinGeek Conference website to sign up.

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