The Bitcoin network processed it’s the biggest block yet, on September 9th. Block number 484,398, the block in question, packed 1683 transactions worth nearly 6,000 BTC for a fee of around R 52k. The baseline of the transaction carried a size of around 870Kb, with the rest being signatures, with a total tally of 1,340 KB, which is 0.3MB higher than Bitcoin’s hard limit of 1MB, even though the hard limit on block sizes remains 1MB. What sorcery is this?
Call it a Blockchain accounting trick, signature data apparently, does not count at a ratio of 75% of the base data. Which theoretically allows for block sizes of up to 4MB in size. a 4MB block would need to be mostly signatures though, making it kind of a dud block as it would be unusable for regular transactions.
Based on the level of SegWit’s adoption by the Bitcoin community (currently only 1% of transactions), Bitcoin can handle up to 1.7MB blocks. The ecosystem has not quite upgraded to the SegWit protocol yet, with exchanges like Coinbase still processing non-SegWit transactions. The transaction backlog and scaling debate have subsided since SegWit , returning the network to business-as-usual…somewhat.
Some claim the 1.3MB SegWit block is handling less than average transaction numbers of above 1,800 and near 2,000, but that’s probably due to the fact that SegWit transactions tend to take up more space than regular transactions do. (in light of that: if it does increase network capacity, I doubt it’ll be by much)
SegWit was meant to pave the way for the introduction of the Lightning Network, but that project is starting to look like Dr. Dre’s Detox album and may be overshadowed by Ethereum’s Raiden. The Lightning Network remains in heavy development with no ETA as yet. So we have a key, but no door to unlock.