New Scaling Deal: SegWit, 2MB Blocks Coming September 2017
A new compromise deal on Bitcoin scaling solutions has emerged from a meeting to debate options in New York City. However participants told Bitsonline there’s still disagreement over the nature and wording of the agreement.
The deal is actually based on the original “SegWit2MB” proposal from April. This would activate SegWit with a soft fork if 80% of nodes signaling support, alongside a hard fork to increase block sizes to 2MB. The deadline for action is 21st September, 2017.
The soft/hard fork package is not a Bitcoin Improvement Proposal (BIP). Participants in the meeting said they consider the BIP process a Bitcoin Core function, which is not necessary to change the protocol. Therefore, if activated, it would be the first upgrade to the Bitcoin protocol not explicitly approved by Core.
Big Mining Pools Happy With Deal
The meeting, organized by Barry Silbert’s Digital Currency Group, happened alongside the 2017 Consensus conference in New York City. However, given the long-running and contentious nature of the debate, the name was perhaps ironic.
In attendance were representatives from Bitcoin.com, BitFury, BitGo, Bitmain, BitPay, Blockchain, Bloq, RSK Labs and Xapo.
After the meeting, they issued a statement promising technical and engineering support for the industry, saying:
“We are also committed to the research and development of technical mechanisms to improve signaling in the bitcoin community, as well as to put in place communication tools, in order to more closely coordinate with ecosystem participants in the design, integration and deployment of safe solutions that increase bitcoin capacity.”
“We welcome all companies, miners, developers and users to join us and help prepare bitcoin for the future”
Bitmain CEO Jihan Wu said he is “happy with the agreement”. Both Bitmain and BitFury’s support is crucial for the deal, since those firms operate the world’s two largest mining pools (over a quarter of the network’s total hashing power at press time).
Blockstream CEO Skips Meeting, Sends Statement
However the Bitcoin community is still far from consensus on the scaling issue. Absent from the meeting was Blockstream CEO Adam Back. However Back provided a written statement to participants that eventually proved contentious. It said:
“I/we agree to immediately support the activation of Segregated Witness, and going forward, commit to closely coordinate with ecosystem participants to integrate and deploy safe solutions that increase bitcoin capacity via a series of timely, in parallel capacity initiatives that include space efficient transaction usage, soft-forks, transaction caching (layer2), hard-forks, as well as security and decentralization best-practices to prepare bitcoin for the future.”
According to reports, several participants threatened to leave the meeting if Back’s choice of wording were adopted. Nothing would happen once SegWit activates, they complained.
One questioned why the whole Bitcoin industry has to surrender to “a company that has no hash rate and no users”.
Other Bitcoin Stakeholders Still Want a Say
Bitcoin trader and commentator Tone Vays criticized the meeting when it was first proposed in March. In a tweet supporting the Bitcoin Core stance, he presented a list of names he said should and shouldn’t participate:
— Tone Vays [@Bitcoin] (@ToneVays) March 23, 2017
Vays’ list included some more unorthodox suggestions including high transaction volume Bitcoin users like: dark market Alphabay, betting service Nitrogen Sports, gift card trader Paxful, and cam girl network Xotica.tv.
Developer Chris Ellis was neutral on the deal contents but referred to it as a “back-room deal in NY that Barry Silbert arranged”.
While the meeting definitely included Bitcoin’s biggest decision-makers, some stakeholders may also have preferred to have a say. The debate is bound to continue.
Do you like the new deal? Let’s hear your thoughts in the comments.
Images via Pixabay, Twitter