Everyone recognizes that Bitcoin – and blockchain technologies in general – have scalability issues. But what if Bitcoin, by its very design, can only address half the problem?
Imagine an alternate reality. It’s 1996. Larry Page and Sergey Brin are working hard at Stanford to create a better search engine – one that can be used the world over. They create Google, and it quickly becomes one of the most popular search engines in use. But they institute the following requirement: Google’s software can only run on servers owned and operated by volunteers. These volunteers will not be compensated in any way, but they will be able to perform slightly faster searches since they host Google nodes.
As Google’s popularity skyrockets, their network gets bogged down. They constantly work to make their search software more efficient, yet no matter what they do they can’t keep up with the demand. Yet, they cling to their original hardware requirement: the Google network is hosted only on uncompensated, volunteer servers. Eventually the network collapses under the weight of user demand, and AltaVista becomes the global search engine of choice.