When I run bitcoin-qt, I noticed that it is taking lot of time to download recent blocks. It gives me impression that the more transactions, the bigger the blockchain. Even today the download is taking around a day. What happens after a year?

It may easily take more than 5 days. If it grows huge, can the current software handle it?

What is the estimation of the blockchain to grow in next 10 years? Is it possible to split the blockchain into multiple blockchains? Could it become a blocker for Bitcoin adoption?


2 Answers 2


Actually, as Satoshi explained in his paper, you can use a Simplified Payment Verification (SPV) client which would only require you to download the headers of each block.

From the paper itself:

As such, the verification is reliable as long as honest nodes control the network, but is more vulnerable if the network is overpowered by an attacker.

So if you're not mining, and the network is overpowered by honest nodes (as it should always be for Bitcoin's integrity) you don't need to use a full node.

Bitcoin-QT is a full node probably because it's the official client and it bundles all the features since day one. Using something like MultiBit, which is an SPV client, would offer you the same exact amount of security as Bitcoin-QT.

So no, the increasing size of the blockchain is not really a blocker for Bitcoin's adoption because only miners would need the entire blockchain data.


Today blockchain is about 14GB large. It is considerably big. And it has been growing exponentially these days. Have a look at the chart representing size of the blockchain over time.

In my opinion this is technical constraint that needs to be considered, because Bitcoin blockchian may only become bigger and it will become bigger quite quickly.

I don't think the issue is size, but actually the computational power required to analyze the blockchain when clients are syncing with network. As everybody how ever installed Bitcoin-Qt recently knows the syncing process requires lots of local resources.

I'm aware that there are lightwaight clients as well, but as far as I understand the full nodes are actually comprising the network so therefore they are essential for the network to exist and expand.

On the other hand the community is very creative and keeps innovating, so I think this is a matter of time until we see solution here. For example for today blockchain is available via Torrent network for download.

  • 4
    Perhaps GB instead of MB?
    – kaoD
    Commented Jan 11, 2014 at 21:59
  • 1
    "it has been growing exponentially these days" -- when I look at the graph you link to it's really flat over the last year. I.e. linear growth, not exponential.
    – dchapes
    Commented Apr 7, 2014 at 4:07
  • 1
    If you look at a short period the growth seems linear. Right now, about one year after this post the size added to the blockchain is more than doubled. If this trend continues I don't think storage will scale either.
    – kon psych
    Commented Feb 10, 2015 at 19:22

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