Amid rumors it plans to support additional currencies including Bitcoin Cash, Coinbase is reminding its valuable BTC users it’s still working on a better solution for them. The company is still “planning to implement SegWit in 2018” to help reduce transaction fees and speeds.
Also read: How Will We Get to 21 Million Bitcoins?
Security and Performance Are First
In an update this week, vice president and GM Dan Romero wrote the usual reminder that security and performance are priorities:
Many of our customers have been asking for SegWit, and we’re working out a way to implement this upgrade safely. We store billions of dollars worth of bitcoin on behalf of customers and any change to our infrastructure is done with significant planning and consideration for the security and stability of our platform.
Bitcoin’s ~1MB transaction blocks remain clogged as its price and popularity surge. Segregated witness (SegWit) capability was activated on the Bitcoin blockchain last August.
However, wallets and other services must implement their own complex backend changes to realize any of SegWit’s promised benefits. Beyond “2018”, there’s no deadline for when Coinbase will set them live.
SegWit Gains or Bitcoin Cash – The War Continues
Coinbase, like other popular cryptocurrency services, is being drawn unwillingly into Bitcoin’s holy war over scaling and usability. Now the two sides in that war have split into rival currencies with similar names (BTC and BCH) any work to better support one is seen as taking sides.
Coinbase has promised to allow Bitcoin Cash withdrawals for those who held BTC on 1st August 2017, when the blockchains diverged. It also allowed temporary support for Ethereum Classic in 2016 after that blockchain forked as well.
However rumors have continued to circulate that Coinbase will allow fully-functional BCH use — more permanent wallet storage and even trading. These remain unconfirmed, despite management’s reluctance to dismiss the stories.
Bitcoin-faithful users aren’t happy with any suggestion the company is prioritizing BCH (or ETC) support over making life easier for BTC users. These users have been hammered in recent months by high transaction fees (sometimes over $15 on average) and long delays moving coins to and from the platform.
The debate’s characteristic tough-talk continued also:
— Garreth McDaid (@garrethmcdaid) December 15, 2017
Meanwhile, onboarding new Bitcoin users, who often receive their first BTC in low-value amounts, is increasingly difficult. Some have reported introducing newcomers with a >$50 USD gift or sale, only to see half of it vanish after the first transaction.
This is as much a problem for Bitcoin itself as it is for Coinbase. Developers for Bitcoin Core and third-party services have had to work hard on changes that could improve the situation somewhat, but the process isn’t simple. Meanwhile, the BTC price continues to grow as users question what utility it will have in the coming decades.
Are you a Coinbase user? What do you think of the latest SegWit update? Let’s hear your thoughts.
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