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In this episode of “Bitcoin, Explained,” hosts Aaron van Wirdum and Sjors Provoost discuss research done by CasaHODL co-founder and CTO Jameson Lopp, as well as Provoost himself, into syncing old Bitcoin nodes.
Each time a new Bitcoin node comes online, it must first synchronize with the rest of the Bitcoin network. He must download and verify the entire blockchain down to the most recent block in order to be up to date on the bitcoin ownership status. However, this may take some time and is expected to take longer as the blockchain continues to grow. To compensate for this and improve the user experience more generally, Bitcoin Core developers are looking to improve the performance of Bitcoin Core code so that new versions sync faster than their predecessors.
In the episode, van Widrum and Provoost describe Bitcoin Core client performance improvements over time, as analyzed more recently in two blog posts by Lopp. the first post explains how the performance of different Bitcoin Core implementations has evolved based on how fast they synchronize with the edge of the chain. the second post covers older versions of Bitcoin Core and all the complexities of running an older implementation of the protocol.
Van Wirdum and Provoost first explain why some very old Bitcoin clients are struggling to sync with the current state of the blockchain, pointing out some bugs in early software, as well as issues with dependencies and the challenge of using such former customers today. . Provoost then summarizes some of the most significant performance improvements that have been included in new versions of Bitcoin Core over time.