SegWit Puts Too Much Trust in Miners, Says Bitcoin Cash App Developer
Bitcoin Cash wallet app developer Jonald Fyookball has again spoken out against Segregated Witness (SegWit), saying they “actually remove an integrity check in the Bitcoin ledger”. A hypothetical scenario in which a miner omits witness data from a transaction block removes the chance for non-miners to verify its authenticity, he wrote.
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Adding to Previous Comments Against SegWit
Fyookball, developer of the Electron Cash wallet for BCH, has spoken out against SegWit before. It weakens Bitcoin’s security and is technically not Bitcoin as defined in Satoshi Nakamoto’s original 2008 white paper, he said. Those claims echo several others by other Bitcoin Cash proponents and developers.
While miners are still responsible for verifying the integrity of all transactions past and present, SegWit means that responsibility lies even heavier. If a miner is careless, malicious, coerced, or suffers a software bug that results in signature “witnesses” not being published, how can we verify 100 percent that transactions are valid? The same goes in the event of a 51 percent attack — and it only needs to happen once to diminish trust.
The chain may continue in the absence of witness data if a miner’s excuse for omitting it was accepted. If it was later found to be incorrect, would the chain fork? Or keep going as-is?
This is akin to wearing a belt AND suspenders for years to make sure your pants never fall down, then one day taking off the belt and proclaiming “I’m still wearing suspenders, what could go wrong?”
While it’s a potentially rare and even unlikely situation, it is possible and “the security model has undeniably changed,” Fyookball wrote. SegWit means users can prove custody of their coins, but not chain of custody. That constitutes removal of an integrity check, something vital to all databases and particularly to Bitcoin.
It Hasn’t Happened Yet, but It Could
Fyookball acknowledged there have been no instances of the scenario he described so far, and said he didn’t want to overstate the problem.
“There are always trade-offs and some may consider SegWit to be an acceptable trade off, perhaps arguing that Bitcoin has enough redundancy with a large number of archival nodes so that missing witness data is never a problem.”
It’s ironic, he concluded, that Bitcoin Core developers promote the role of non-mining “full node” operators and developers, but are willing to place extra responsibility on miners. Some Core supporters also discourage the security model employed by SPV wallets (most mobile wallets) which do not have a full record of the blockchain.
Is Jonald Fyookball’s analysis correct, or can Bitcoin users trust the SegWit security model? Let’s hear your thoughts in the comments.
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