A last-ditch attempt to push through the “2x” Bitcoin hard fork has failed, due to lack of miner support. Its downfall means SegWit2x is effectively dead for the time being, and Bitcoin block size calculation will remain at its current size.
According to data site coin.dance, not a single block has been mined activating “bit1” — the software that would have implemented 2x. To do so would have required a block larger than 1MB, which never happened. The btc1/SegWit2x blockchain thus stalled at block 494782 while the original chain continued.
The SegWit2x chain is currently sitting at block height of 494782, waiting for the first >1MB block to be mined…
The SegWit2x chain is currently lagging the main chain by 77 blocks.
Only 9.72 percent of miners continued to show support for SegWit2x at press time, making it highly unlikely the plan will ever continue.
There will be no split chain, no new “B2X” coin, and (sorry newcomers) no free money this time.
Only the Longest Chain Is Bitcoin
According to Bitcoin’s “Nakamoto Consensus”, the longest version of the blockchain, or that backed by the most mining “work”, is officially Bitcoin. Shorter chains, whether or not they have miner support or use the Bitcoin name, are “not Bitcoin”.
Bitcoin developer Peter Todd claimed the 2x failure was due to an “off-by-one” error in the bit1 code, which rejected smaller-than-1MB blocks one block too early. According to some, it effectively blocked miners from supporting 2x even if they wanted to.
However bit1 developer Jeff Garzik refuted the claim, citing a simple lack of support.
— Ser Jeff Garzik (@jgarzik) November 17, 2017
2x Was a Doomed Compromise Anyway
Both Todd and Garzik may be right. Bug or no bug, there simply wasn’t enough support for 2x blocks at #494782, or November 16th.
The “2x” part of SegWit2x would have doubled the coded Bitcoin transaction block size from 1MB to 2MB, theoretically allowing more transactions to be included in every 10 minute block. The “SegWit” component, or segregated witness, activated via a “soft fork” in August 2017. It also changed block size calculation to “weight” rather than size, though it’s mostly semantics — Bitcoin transaction blocks remain around the 1MB mark.
SegWit was less contentious — however 2x required a hard fork, which many opposed. Despite widespread support, consensus wasn’t high enough for a “clean blocksize upgrade” and SegWit2x’s backers canceled the plan on November 8th.
A dedicated group of 2x supporters pushed ahead with the hard fork anyway, but in the end it wasn’t enough.
With few high profile supporters left, and “big blockers” switching their focus to the previously-forked Bitcoin Cash instead, 2x was doomed. It will go down in history as another attempt to find a compromise between two warring camps that ultimately satisfied neither.
For now, 1MB or “small-block” opponents will continue to point out Bitcoin’s high transaction fees and slow block confirmations, which they blame on the limited capacity. Small-block supporters claim their solution for Bitcoin is more stable, decentralized, and requires second-layer payment networks to scale effectively.
Is this the end of large Bitcoin blocks? Will, or when will, they ever increase? Let’s hear your thoughts.
Images via Pixabay