When Bitcoin forks, a group of miners and other developers start to agree on a new block chain, which blockchain they would prefer to use.
Blockchain forks are the only way to avoid a permanent chain split, but they are also the way that a large number of users and businesses in the Bitcoin ecosystem get stuck.
In the case of Bitcoin XT, a new hard fork has been proposed by developers to change the Bitcoin protocol to allow for blocks to be larger than one megabyte.
Although XT would make it easier to run a full node, some users argue that the larger blocks are more beneficial to the ecosystem.
The Bitcoin community has been divided over whether to support the XT version or not.
Bitcoin XT supporters have argued that the blocksize increase would increase transaction fees, and that the increased transaction fees would cause inflation.
Critics of XT say that the increase in block size will lead to a hard fork and a chain split.
A hard fork occurs when a group decides to split from a group.
One of the main reasons why hard forks are dangerous is that it forces users to choose between two conflicting versions of the protocol, which may lead to an irreversible chain split or even a permanent fork.
Another reason hard forks cause headaches is that there are so many conflicting versions that there is a high probability that some of them will not be compatible with the network as a whole.
So far, the XT developer community has said that it will not support the fork, and there is also no consensus among XT supporters on the best path forward for Bitcoin.
But what about Bitcoin Unlimited?
There is a consensus that XT is the best possible way forward for the Bitcoin network.
If XT developers continue to make decisions on a hard-fork to Bitcoin Unlimited, it could create a chain that will be smaller than XT and therefore harder to upgrade.
However, XT supporters say that XT will not force a hardfork on the Bitcoin community, because Bitcoin Unlimited does not require a block size increase.
What about the Bitcoin Core developers?
The main Bitcoin Core developer, Gavin Andresen, has been pushing the XT developers to create a version of Bitcoin that is completely incompatible with Bitcoin XT.
Since XT developers want to keep Bitcoin XT as a part of the Bitcoin codebase, they cannot use Bitcoin Core to create XT forks.
There are also several other Bitcoin Core supporters that support the hard fork.
One of them is Bitcoin Core dev, Mike Hearn, who recently announced that he will be contributing to the Bitcoin Unlimited development team.
“Bitcoin Unlimited has been a great way to bring Bitcoin closer to its original vision, and Gavin Andreasen is the right person to bring it back to that vision,” Hearn said in a statement.
Despite the hard stance on XT, there is some support for Bitcoin Unlimited.
Several Bitcoin Core users are calling on the developers to back away from the hard-forks and instead support Bitcoin Unlimited instead.
Others have called for the XT development team to take a more active role in the project.
Do you think that XT and Bitcoin XT are the right way to go?
Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.