The second international Satoshi Roundtable has ended. Its final propositions include acceleration of the block size increase, giving the voting ability to all users, and partial moving of mining out of China. 

 The event was held in a secret place, disclosed only to invited participants, but in live updates on Reddit it was mentioned that the conference took place in Florida. It agrees with the information on the official roundtable website stating that it was taking place at a “resort in North America.”

On Saturday, after a few general speeches, the participants were randomly divided into 7 working groups. After discussing the key issues, the groups presented their conclusions and proposals at the general meeting.

According to live updates in the event’s trend on Reddit, the main discussion revolved around the most heated topics for the bitcoin industry, i.e. the block size increase, its timing and methods (soft vs hard fork). The roundtable participants declared the need to make bitcoin more recognisable and widely adopted payment tool worldwide. The majority of the audience agreed that it is crucial to have meetings and discussions on the bitcoin development more often.


Block size increase and its timing


Although the roundtable agreed that one could hardly imagine five years ago what bitcoin would become, for the future the majority of the participants supported the idea that the block size should not exceed 8 MB. In particular, this opinion is promoted by Chinese miners. Even this size is considered by some miners excessive because of high costs of the network bandwidth increase. At the same time, the bitcoin community leaders do not exclude that in the future the block size will have no limits at all.

Hard forks may be dangerous and represent a high risk for the system, declared some roundtable speakers. According to the Bitcoin Core developers supporting the Segregated Witness soft fork, the shortest timeframe for safe hard fork implementation is 12 months. During the discussion, it was also noted that in the current system the blocks are actually only 40% full.

The conference participants also proposed to modify the Hong Kong agreement on Segregated Witness, amending the earliest activation date of the hard fork. Meanwhile, the bitcoin industry representatives, and primarily leaders of mining companies, warned against the use of two parallel block chains due to possible reputational damage.


All users voting


Not only miners should have the opportunity to influence the choice of the solution. The conference participants proposed to implement coin voting or readiness signalling. It implies the inclusion of a special code into transactions, allowing a wider range of bitcoin users to express their support in favour of a certain solution. End-users will be able to insert a “signal” within a transaction saying “I am ready for the upgrade to such solution” which makes it easier for developers to plan hard upgrades.


Mining decentralisation


One of the working groups made suggested some mining companies to move a part of their equipment to different jurisdictions in order to reduce the level of mining clustering in China. Speakers assumed that the bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto could not expect that mining would cluster in such a way.

Mining centralisation in China may seriously deter investors and financial leaders from bitcoin, some speakers believe. Others suggested that financial sector key players reject bitcoin due to the lack of scaling and related technical problems.


Reaching consensus


On the very first day of the conference, the speakers in almost all working groups noted that the bitcoin community so far seems hardly capable of reaching any consensus on any issue. The roundtable participants insisted that it is necessary to unite efforts, to better collaborate and communicate with each other. In particular, there should be more interacting between the Segregated Witness and Bitcoin Classic developer camps. It was proposed even that there should be a third team other than Core or Classic to work on the protocol.

The lack of consensus is fraught with industry stagnation and present high risks for the bitcoin infrastructure, as it was noted at one of the roundtable’s discussion. According to the shared view of the participants, bitcoin community leaders need to hold “face-to-face” meetings more frequently to discuss current issues “away from places like Reddit, Twitter, or Bitcointalk.”


The Satoshi Roundtable is considered to be one of the most important events of the year for the bitcoin industry. The conference is traditionally held in a secret location. The current event has brought together above 70 representatives of bitcoin companies, Bitcoin Core developers and investors focused on fintech startups. The earlier announced list of speakers included Gavin Andresen (Bitcoin Foundation), Adam Beck (President of Blockstream), Bitcoin Core developers Matt Corallo, Peter Todd and Luke Dashjr, Jeff Garzik (Founder, Bloq), Brian Armstrong (CEO, Coinbase), Justin Newton (Founder and CEO, Netki), Gabriel Abed (CEO, Bitt), Charles Allen (CEO, BTCS), Mike Belshe (CEO, BitGo), Micah Winkelspecht (CEO, Gem), Roger Ver (CEO,, David Johnston (Chairman, Factom), Alex Petrov (CIO, BitFury), Charlie Lee (Director of Engineering, Coinbase; Founder of Litecoin), Marco Streng (CEO, Genesis Mining), Jez San (Angel Investor) and many others.


Elena Platonova