Friday, December 9, 2022

As SegWit2x Looks More Likely, Bitcoin Asks What Happens Next

As SegWit2x Looks More Likely, Bitcoin Asks What Happens Next

With around 70 percent of the Bitcoin hashing power signaling support, SegWit2x activation now looks increasingly likely. Opinions will matter less as stakeholders begin to ask practical questions about the software and how it works.

Also read: AIG: Private Blockchains Will Take Over the World, Bitcoin Not Needed

Of the major players, only BTCC and 1Hash have not yet signaled support. BTCC doing so would cross the 80 percent threshold.

[Update 3:45AM EST, 20 June 2017]: BTCC says it has begun signaling support for SegWit2x.

SegWit2x support chart

Useful Guides Tell You What You Need to Know

User paleh0rse posted a helpful notice on Reddit to describe the activation process. The main points to note are:

  • If SegWit2x reaches 80% support during a 336 block signaling period, it means that the SegWit softfork locks in and will activate another 336 blocks later on all SegWit2x clients.
  • After that, those clients will automatically turn on bit1 signaling, to assist Core BIP141 clients reach the 95 percent threshold they require to activate SegWit.
  • Then, 12,960 blocks after SegWit activates on the SegWit2x clients, the 2MB hard fork automatically activates.
  • If those clients maintain over 75 percent of the hashing power upon activation, Bitcoin forks. All clients not running SegWit2x (or compatible) software will be forked off the network.

Entrepreneur and developer Jimmy Song posted his own user-friendly guide on Medium. Both these posts are recommended reading for anyone looking to understand the process better.

Although the roadmap points to the hard fork happening after three months, it could be much sooner. Developer Jeff Garzik — part of the team working on SegWit2x — said “the prediction is that miners activate rapidly”, and three months was “the fallback safety measure”.

Regular bitcoin holders don’t need to do anything. However it’s recommended to keep coins in a wallet where you control the private keys, or your wallet provider may decide what sort of bitcoins you hold. With your own private keys you can keep coins on either side of the fork — with both potentially holding value.

More Love for SegWit, Less for Hard Fork

Perusing forums and social media, it’s apparent that support for SegWit is greater than that for the 2MB block component. Many on both “sides” of the scaling debate — 1MB block fans and “big blockers” — support this initial upgrade.

What about after that? Could anyone still move to block the hard fork component? And as the dev team works furiously to prepare SegWit2x in time, are participants confident it will work as intended?

https://twitter.com/Egon_01/status/876971639174574080

What Are the Miners Saying about SegWit2x?

Speaking to Bitsonline, Bitmain CEO Jihan Wu said:

“I have confidence that the software will be available on time. It should be ready at the beginning of July.”

Virgilio Lizardo, Jr., vice president international affairs at BW.com, said he was also optimistic.

“I am confident that the team behind Segwit2x are committed to its successful deployment. There are a variety of experts from Bitcoin companies around the globe working around the clock on this project and from my observations progress is moving on schedule.”

SegWit2x deployment makes life a little simpler for Bitcoiners by nullifying other (more controversial) proposals. These include the BIP 148 “user-activated soft fork” (UASF) and Bitmain’s “user-activated hard fork” (UAHF) — which was itself designed to prevent the UASF.

We should take this chance, once again, to remind regular bitcoin holders they don’t have to take any action. Just keep your own private keys. It’s good advice at any time, really.

Will Anyone Try to Stop the Hard Fork?

Bitcoin fork segwit2xNow, onto the more contentious part of SegWit2x — the automatic hard fork. A hard fork forces miners and full nodes to choose which side of the proposal they support, or fall off the network.

Here’s where the “economic majority” will come into play. It’s assumed miners will choose the chain with the most economic value, even if they don’t support larger blocks ideologically.

Though it would be difficult, some may still try to stop the hard fork somehow. However Wu doubted they would succeed.

“Some trolls will try to smear the hard fork, but it will not work out,” he said. “The economic majority is working together to reliever the SegWit2x to its users.”

Lizardo added that a deal is a deal, and the hard fork is packaged with SegWit2x support.

“All the signatories were clear on the development requirements including the 2MB hard fork. We at BW currently have no reason to doubt that everyone involved will live up to the current agreement.”

That’s not to say SegWit2x, a hard fork, or even a trauma-free resolution is a fait accompli. There may be unforeseen events, problems, new suggestions or dirty tricks that change Bitcoin’s direction yet again.

However most appear satisfied for the moment, and a little more reassured that Bitcoin can handle the changes. The scaling road has been years long, and so far this is probably the closest Bitcoin has come to actual agreement.

Are you confident SegWit2x will activate without problems? Let’s hear your thoughts.


Images via Twitter, Reddit, Pixabay

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