Segwit Appoaches But It May Not Satisfy The Debate

We may see some significant enhancements to the Bitcoin code soon as the developers over at Bitcoin Core have announced Segregated witness (segwit) will be released soon. After much experimentation with the testnet, it seems the upgrade is close to the finish line and ready for adoption.

Segwit is a proposal that segregates transaction signatures enabling the elimination of malleability, and a capacity increase to the network in general. This means the “new-style blocks” can possibly and modestly improve transaction times and the amount of data filling blocks. The new protocol changes consensus rules when applied to full validation nodes across the network’s ledger. Segwit transactions and blocks are arranged in a different manner than what most are used to and with this implementation users “can both relay segwit data to segwit nodes and older-style data to older nodes.” Bitcoin Core developers explain the changes within the latest announcement via the team’s blog:   

“These combined changes to the consensus rules and the P2P networking code consist of 1,486 lines of added or modified code. The segwit patch also includes an additional 3,338 lines of added or modified code in the unit and integration tests that help ensure segwit is functioning as expected on every full build of the Bitcoin Core program. In addition to over 3,000 lines of added automated testing code, segwit has been extensively tested by Bitcoin developers. This section describes just some of the rigorous testing they performed on different versions of segwit over the last year.”

Anticipation for segwit has been quite enthusiastic as it has added some confidence within the community as testing was established this past week. Many are wondering if it will be fully upgraded before the halving day approaches as miners will have to show consensus. The implementation of segwit may also pave an easier path for concepts such as the Lightning Network. What most Bitcoin supporters hope is for the transaction time to drop to less than ten minutes again and reverse the currently higher than usual fee market. Bitcoin Core states:

“Segwit will allow Bitcoin miners to include more transaction data in the blocks they create than they can now. This will increase the bandwidth demands on Bitcoin full nodes that relay all that data as well as increase the latency between when a new block is published and when nodes receive it (as larger amounts of data typically take longer to propagate).”

Bitcoin enthusiasts on the subreddit r/bitcoin seem pleased with the announcement but the subreddit r/btc is a bit skeptical as expected. A commenter on the r/bitcoin forum exclaims, “This is the most exciting thing I’ve read about bitcoin since 2013” but on r/btc a contrasting opinion from that camp writes, “So much code, so little testing. It’s ok, though. Only $10 billion + at stake. Whereas changing a 1 to a 2 in the code is minimal code, already tested, low risk.” There is definitely some pessimism towards segwit and really any code proposals Core developers produce among ‘Big Block’ proponents. The segwit upgrade may not satisfy their qualms. 

Most Bitcoin proponents are supportive of the upcoming upgrade and are waiting for the benefits of segwit to help ease certain issues within the network. Time will tell if these integrations help alleviate transaction time and the current fee market. Which seems to be the root cause of most debate these days in crypto-land. Live Bitcoin News will keep our readers informed of the changes coming forth.

Source: Bitcoin Core Progress Report


About Jamie Redman

Jamie Redman is a financial tech journalist from Florida thats been entrenched in the cryptocurrency community since 2011. He has a passion for Bitcoin, open source code, and decentralized applications. Redman has written hundreds of articles about the disruptive protocols emerging today.