What Has Changed With Bitcoin Over The Past 10 Years?

By Prashant Jha

Bitcoin was introduced to the world back in 2009 as a concept of a cashless peer-to-peer economy. In these past 10 years, a lot has changed in the Bitcoin network depending upon the needs and demands of the ever-increasing user base.

When Satoshi Nakamoto introduced the Bitcoin white paper, it was a mere concept,  which the creator hoped will be acknowledged by people when they see the benefits of it. While many discarded it as another internet bubble, in the beginning, its phenomenal rise made even the biggest critique to join on the bandwagon.

However, the phenomenal rise also created a lot of technical hurdles like the scalability problems, the higher transaction fee and conflict of opinion among the community. This article would trace back the changes that the network has seen over the past 10 years.

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Technical Advancements to Resolve Scalability Issue

As the Bitcoin started to rise the trade market charts from 2016 onwards, it saw a surge of people looking to make an investment. 2017 marked the biggest price rise and the use of the Bitcoin network grew exponentially. This indeed was a piece of news to rejoice for Bitcoin enthusiasts, but at the same time, it also brought a ton of scaling issues.

In order to acknowledge the growing concern over slow transaction processing, the Bitcoin community developed an off-chain scalable solution in the form of lightning network. The lightning network is not yet completely developed, but developers believe that it would surely help the network to a certain extent.

Another scalable solution that the community is discussing over the past month is reducing the block size of Bitcoin Blockchain to 300kb from the current 1 MB. However, the community is divided over the approach, as many Bitcoin core developers believe that it would create more problems than solutions and deploying it wouldn’t be feasible financially or technically.

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Change in Mining Algorithms

Bitcoin network uses proof of work consensus which was designed in such a way that anyone with a CPU based homed computer can mine Bitcoin blocks to earn the block reward. However, over the years people realized that mining is the easiest way to earn Bitcoin riches and the mining scene got crowded. People started expensive mining rigs to mine the blocks faster.

Bitcoin Block time is fixed at 10 minutes and to maintain that constant block time, the mining difficulty is increased, so that minors cannot manipulate the Bitcoin network by putting in extra hash power. The over-populated mining sector led to changes in the mining algorithm. The Proof of Work which favored CPU miners was changed to help GPU miners and currently moving towards the ASIC based rigs.

People are also demanding a change in mining consensus from Proof of Work to Proof of Stake since many believe that the Proof of Work uses a ton of computational power without putting it to any good use apart from solving the cryptographic signatures associated with the Transactions on the Bitcoin network.

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Hard-Forks: A difference of Opinion?

Hard-forks have become a trend these days, but the real motive behind a fork is to introduce a network update to resolve certain technical aspects. If the fork can be made possible on the main network and the community agrees by it, it is called a soft fork. If the community is divided over a change or update, the network is hard-forked from the original chain and it is called hard fork.

Bitcoin network has been hard-forked several times over the course of the past 10 years. Some of the most noted chains which have emerged out of the hard fork include Bitcoin Cash, Bitcoin gold, and Bitcoin diamond.

Other Significant Changes

Apart from the technical changes, bitcoin has also seen its value rise form $0 to almost $20k in 2017. Bitcoin is an open source project and it has served as a point of reference for many altcoins that followed the suit and created their own tokens. Bitcoin’s biggest contribution to the world is taking the blockchain technology from just another concept to a tool pivotal for the next industrial revolution.

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Prashant Jha

As a content writer Prashant believes in presenting complex topics in simple laymen terms. He is a tech enthusiast and an avid reader.

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