There has been a lot of debate recently about whether to increase the Bitcoin block size to 20mb. One thing that stood out to me was this quote from Mike Hearn:
I think the key philosophical difference here can be summed up as, is decentralisation an end, or a means to an end? In my view and I guess Gavin's, it's a means to an end.
Peter Todd responded with this:
Decentralisation isn't a "means to an end" - its the unique thing that distinguishes Bitcoin from it's competition; the rest of the technology simply isn't very unique, nor is it competitive. Casually sacrificing that competitive advantage to achieve short term gains is foolish.
While these ideas won’t really be new to most people here, I think the quotes above summarise the issue well.
Short-term adoption is easier with centralisation, but there will always be people who are decentralisation “purists”. If Bitcoin continues the way it is going then some of these people will look for alternatives.
Most proof of work coins are just as centralised as Bitcoin, if not more so. Most proof of stake coins have centralised distributions and so are effectively useless.
Peercoin is of course guilty of centralisation too in the form of checkpoints, so in my opinion the biggest question is whether Peercoin will remove checkpoints before disillusionment with Bitcoin reaches critical mass.
Ugh, if only I could speed it up. Opt-out of checkpoints was supposed to be in v0.5, but since Sunny is making it an intermediate release instead, it’s possible that might get pushed back to v0.6. I guess we’ll have to see.
The discussion is over increasing the block size limit. So blocks won’t become 20mb overnight, but the limit will be bumped up. Either way, centralization is inevitable as long as consumer hardware and bandwidth are not keeping pace with the blockchain requirements, and PPC is uniquely positioned to come in and be a real competitor. Checkpoints were an interim solution and an often quoted negative point when outsiders discuss PPC, so I hope we’re at the point where we can do away with them.