The Bitcoin SV Blockchain & False Reports of a “Three-way Fork”

In recent days there have been a couple of articles which incorrectly suggest that the Bitcoin SV Blockchain has suffered from a “three-way fork” over the last few weeks. These articles seem to stem from the same source, a tweet from BitMEX Research. Here are the facts. 

The Bitcoin SV Blockchain had a planned hard-fork upgrade on 24th July. This upgrade increased the maximum block size from 128MB to 2GB. Unfortunately, despite publicity and announcements over a two month period, a minority of node operators did not update their software. These nodes, that had not updated their software, forked onto a new and incorrect chain after the upgrade. This is a natural consequence of how Bitcoin works: if the software is not aligned with the majority, it will create a “fork” in the blockchain. 

Shortly after the hard-fork, several 256MB blocks were produced on the Bitcoin SV Blockchain. The size of these blocks caused some minor issues for some service providers. These issues were resolved quickly by the service providers. 

Ten days later, on 3rd August, a member of the Chinese Bitcoin SV community initiated their own stress test on the Bitcoin SV Blockchain. Over 2 million payment transactions were blasted onto the Bitcoin SV network over a short period which resulted in two large blocks: a 210MB block containing 808,633 transactions, and a 183MB block containing 702,999 transactions. Unfortunately, some of the nodes on the Bitcoin SV network were running on small systems that were unable to cope with this flood of transactions. These systems failed. They did not create a third fork, they simply stopped working. 

These are the facts. There was no “three-way fork”. There was a single fork in the blockchain on July 24th due to out-of-date software, a normal occurrence that affects all blockchains that use Nakamoto consensus. Ten days later, there was a group of nodes that failed because they were using sub-standard equipment and could not keep up with volume of transactions that Bitcoin SV is designed to accommodate.  

The Bitcoin SV blockchain functioned as normal, and continues to function as normal, reliably processing huge numbers of transactions. Bitcoin SV is evolving and professionalizing Bitcoin, moving Bitcoin from a prototype supported by hobbyists to a professionally supported system capable of meeting global demand for an immutable blockchain. Inevitably, this does mean that the requirements for systems which participate in the network will increase. The Bitcoin SV Node implementation team has recently published recommended system requirements and we strongly urge node operators to follow these recommendations. 

Daniel Connolly