CoinWallet, a bitcoin mining service based in the UK, has announced that in early September it will be carrying out a stress test of the bitcoin network that could potentially create a 30 day transaction backlog and would make most of the regular software wallets completely worthless.
Although no exact date has been given yet for the beginning of the stress test CoinWallet has indicated that it will take place at some point in the early part of September.
A similar test of the bitcoin blockchain has already been carried out by CoinWallet where it divided a number of bitcoins into minute amounts of 0.00001 BTC all sent to individual bitcoin addresses. The latest stress test, however, will take 150 bitcoins that are spread over many different wallets and reconsolidated them back into a single wallet.
In one of the example transactions that CoinWallet used to demonstrate how the upcoming stress test will work it explained “As you can see from the transaction, there are 20 tiny inputs, with half going to miner fees, and half going to one of my CoinWallet addresses. This transaction is approximately 3kb, or 1/323rd of a block. In other words, for every ~323 of these I send, I fill up a block. Each of these transactions is for a total amount of 0.0002 BTC (including miner fees), meaning that with my 150 btc that is currently in this state, I will be crafting 750000 transactions, or 2321 blocks, or a 16 day backlog.”
A total of 20 servers that are hosted in the cloud will then be used in the second phase of its stress test in which it will send 0.00001 transactions each of which are 3kb in size to thousands of its various bitcoin addresses.
In relation to the second phase of the test CoinWallet advised “These 20 servers push approximately 1 transaction per second. The plan is to fill them up to 50-100 Bitcoin in total. In theory, if all things go as planned, we will create a nearly 30-day backlog. Of course, this won’t cripple Bitcoin entirely. Those who are smart enough to increase their fees will still manage to push transactions through. However, it will make it prohibitively expensive, and will likely render most standard wallet software, ranging from Multibit, to Mycellium, Blockchain.info and others completely worthless.
It went on to add “I should however note that CoinWallet.eu is relatively immune to this form of ‘attack’ as our fees are dynamic and are set at 3x the standard limit. As always, CoinWallet clients will be unaffected by the test. More details will be posted publicly when the test is imminent.”
Previous plans to create a 200MB backlog in the blockchain only reach about 15% of the intended output after the CoinWallet server crashed and the test had to be stopped prematurely.
According to CoinWallet the main purpose of carrying out these stress tests on the bitcoin blockchain is to show the weaknesses in the current software and to push the core developers into forking the current bitcoin into the new Bitcoin XT currency.
CoinWallet believes that it is ridiculous that fork into the new Bitcoin XT version of the currency, which will increase the size of each transaction block from 1MB to 8MB and allow for the growing demand for the bitcoin currency.
That said, the move to the new bitcoin XT currency has been met with serious opposition from both the development community and a large number of Chinese bitcoin mining groups who unless swayed could lead to this new currency being worthless.