Skip to main content

What's Left Before SegWit Goes Live? Bitcoin's Path to More Capacity

Bitcoin is on the road to increasing its capacity – but it's not there yet.
Despite the claim bitcoin has been upgraded to support Segregated Witness-style transactions, there are more steps that need to occur before its distributed network can process additional data.
In fact, due to the complexities of keeping bitcoin's distributed network in unison, the change might not take hold until late August.

The timeline

That said, with BIP 91 activated, bitcoin is now headed down a path toward that possible outcome.
In context, this means that BIP 148, a proposal that seeks to upgrade the network to SegWit using different code, is no longer likely (though it's still possible). As such, one avenue that would find bitcoin splitting into two blockchains has been diminished, though it would be wrong to say it has been eliminated entirely – even in the short term.
Rather, SegWit now needs to follow a timeline designed to give miners and node operators ample time to upgrade their software, one that must also operate within the larger constraints of bitcoin's design.
Here's a best-case scenario of how this might unfold:
As illustrated above, miners must now signal support for SegWit until the code achieves "lock in" and "activation," two separate milestones with unique requirements.

Short-term complications

Still, things could go awry.
For example, it's possible that bitcoin's miners could stop signaling support for SegWit ahead of the BIP 141 "lock in" deadline (although they'd risk having their blocks rejected by the network, losing the rewards).
While all nodes appear to be signaling correctly, it's hard to know exactly who is running the software – this means that miners could fail to reject a block that wasn't signaling for SegWit, continue adding new blocks on top of that block, and ultimately, produce an alternative chain.
Adding to the argument is that miner support for the idea has notably wavered in the past, with some asserting it's largely the threat that users could push through a change that could lead to a split that has kept miners in check.
Litecoin's attempts at integrating SegWit adds context to this theory.
As much as 75% of litecoin's mining hashrate, for instance, was signaling for SegWit in April, meaning it reached the necessary threshold to lock in SegWit. But miner support dropped off soon after. This sparked protocol creator Charlie Lee and other litecoin users to threaten to code an alternative user-activated soft fork (UASF) proposal.
Shortly thereafter, a roundtable was held that united major miners, at which time they agreed to signal support for SegWit.
Should similar psychology come into play here, the idea is that (after averting a UASF on bitcoin on August 1), miner support for SegWit may wane, though the economic stakes here are arguably higher.

Long-term complications

But even if SegWit passes, that still only enacts one-half of the Segwit2x proposal.
An informal agreement among businesses and miners reached in May, the goal of the initiative was to push the capabilities of the software even further (some would argue too far beyond what should be advocated by prudent development).
As developer Jeff Garzik put forward in an interview this weekend, he still plans to help push forward an effort that would seek to upgrade the block size to 2MB, and to enact the upgrade via a process known as a hard fork.
The argument against that approach is that research in this area is still underdeveloped, though Garzik has argued SegWit could fail to introduce the capacity changes promised by those who have championed its integration.
This determination (as well as the acrimony Garzik's outlook has caused in the developer community that argue this claim and others he's made are false) could make a split later in the year more likely.
And it's quite possible this chart will become more complex as this date approaches and different groups attempt to influence the outcome.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Duncan Logan just tweeted that he's on board Electroneum

I have been a buyer and holder of bitcoin and Etherreum for a long time but this will be the first ICO I buy into--Duncan Logan.

What is Electroneum?

Electroneum (ETN) is a cryptocurrency that can be mined with a smartphone, requiring almost no technical knowledge or prior experience. This sets it apart from other cryptocurrencies (like Bitcoin) which require expensive hardware and technical know-how to mine.
Electroneum’s unique mobile mining experience allows anyone with a smartphone to earn ETN coins by letting the miner app run in the background.
It was designed specifically with mobile users in mind, thereby appealing to a potential market of 2.2 billion smartphone users around the world. Unlike other cryptocurrencies, Electroneum has a user-friendly, beginner-oriented interface that allows users to seamlessly transfer ETN coins between one another, check their balances, and mine coins.
Being a cryptocurrency, Electroneum is created, held, and spent electronically, and has no phy…

Police Bust Alleged $13 Million Crypto Pyramid Scheme

Police in China's northwestern city of Xi'An have arrested the founders of a claimed nationwide cryptocurrency pyramid scheme that allegedly amassed 86 million yuan ($13 million) from over 13,000 people.
According to a report from local media source Huashang News, Wednesday, the scheme launched in March 28 this year after months in preparation by a primary suspect who has has the surname Zheng, as well as three other accomplices.
The report cited an investigation from the police who said the scheme used a cryptocurrency called Da Tang Coin (DTC) that is linked to DTC Holding - a firm under the suspect's control and registered in Hong Kong - to allegedly hoax potential members of the pyramid scheme.
In various promotional events in multiple cities in the country, the scheme claimed that new members can make 80,000 yuan (roughly $13,000) per day with an initial investment of $480,000 to purchase the DBTC at $0.50 per token, according to the report.
These promises of high r…

Is Bitcoin Legal?

Bitcoin is of interest to law enforcement agencies, tax authorities, and legal regulators, all of which are trying to understand how the cryptocurrency fits into existing frameworks. The legality of your bitcoin activities will depend on who you are, where you live, and what you are doing with it. Bitcoin has proven to be a contentious issue for regulators and law enforcers, both of which have targeted the digital currency in an attempt to control its use. We are still early on in the game, and many legal authorities are still struggling to understand the cryptocurrency, let alone make laws around it. Amid all this uncertainty, one question stands out: is bitcoin legal? The answer is, yes, depending on what you’re doing with it. Read on for our guide to the complex legal landscape surrounding bitcoin. Most of the discussion concerns the US, where many of the legal dramas are currently playing out. Alternatively, you can access our comprehensive Regulation Report for worldwide expert …