Since time immemorial, the Bitcoin and Ethereum camps have argued over the nodes and characteristics of their respective blockchains. This mind-blowing report from BitMEX Research will end the debate. Surprisingly, they determine that the Bitcoin blockchain is always larger than that of Ethereum. That will change soon, however. BitMEX Research also concludes that size is not the right metric to compare the two chains, because “to get useful information about the Ethereum network, you have to do a lot more calculations and generate a lot more data.”
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As to why people assume Ethereum would be bigger, BitMEX Research attributes it to “the failure to remember how small Ethereum was a few years ago.” Then they go to the history books:
âFrom 2015 to 2018, Bitcoin’s blockchain grew at a faster rate than Ethereum, and then from 2018 to 2020, it seemed to grow in parallel. Finally, from the end of 2020, the growth rate of the Ethereum blockchain has accelerated further and the growth rate is now much higher than that of Bitcoin. The cumulative size of Ethereum’s blockchain is expected to soon overtake Bitcoin and accelerate far beyond.
And give us this table:
What exactly are we looking at in the graph? BitMEX research explains:
âIn both cases, for Bitcoin and Ethereum, the total blockchain size in the table above contains all the transaction data, this is all the data that needs to be downloaded from its peers to fully synchronize and verify the chain. . This includes all digital signatures authorizing each transaction.
BitMEX research on the Bitcoin blockchain
According to this tweet from Peter Szilagyi, the main state of Ethereum requires 130 GB of data. In Bitcoin, we can compare this to “the size of the UTXO set, the set of unspent Bitcoin outputs”. It weighs 4.6 GB, which is “only about 1.2% of the size of the entire Bitcoin blockchain.” In Ethereum, the story is quite different. These 130 GB represent “about 43% of the size of the blockchain, much more than 1.2% on Bitcoin”.
Also take into account that:
âBitcoin Core supports blockchain pruning, where a node can remove old data from the blockchain and only keep some very recent transactions as well as the entire UTXO. This means that one can fully validate the entire Bitcoin blockchain and check the validity of new blocks, with well under 10 GB of disk space.
What about the Ethereum blockchain?
Let’s be clear, the two blockchains are quite different and we’re just comparing them for sports. For example, in Ethereum, a node stores two types of databases, blockchain and state. âThe report is calculated from transaction history and basically contains: all Ethereum account balances, storage associated with each deployed Ethereum smart contract, and account nonces.â
Currently, the state is as heavy as the blockchain. âOnly limited pruning or efficiency gains are therefore possible when it comes to reducing the size of the head condition. The primary condition is therefore likely to continue to grow over time.
BTC price chart on Bitbay | Source: BTC/USD on TradingView.com
After carefully analyzing the case, BitMEX Research comes to a conclusion:
âThe comparison between the size of the blockchain for Ethereum and Bitcoin is not always particularly relevant. The Bitcoin blockchain is more than enough to tell you everything you need to know about the Bitcoin network. On the other hand, the Ethereum blockchain itself is by no means enough to tell you a lot about the state of Ethereum, to do this you have to calculate and store a lot more data, otherwise you don’t know what actually do most of the transactions. “
Do whatever you want with it.
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It is important to know that, for the sake of brevity, we have skipped all technical explanations. Additionally, we have omitted valuable material that was not relevant to the discussion. We strongly recommend that you read the whole report, it’s fascinating and it will give you a clear picture of the thoroughness of BitMEX research.
Featured Image: Victor Freitas on Unsplash | Charts by TradingView and BitMEX Research