For many in the Bitcoin community, it is time to stand up and be counted. The divide between supporters of Segregated Witness, hereinafter SegWit and Bitcoin Unlimited, hereinafter BU, has never been this serious.
A common problem for Bitcoin
A common point that everyone agrees to, irrespective of their side of the divide is the fact that Bitcoin has a problem that needs to be solved sooner rather than later. What route is to be followed in solving this problem?
Roger Ver’s interview on March 20 where he expressed his open support for Bitcoin Unlimited while accusing Bitcoin Core of being slow and expensive, was followed by Antpool’s declaration of support for BU. Since then, there has been a litany of major industry participants who have expressed their support for SegWit on the other hand.
Hard fork is unnecessary
Bitcoin and security expert, Andreas Antonopoulos describes a hard fork solution like BU as unnecessary. Antonopoulos explains that the execution of the hard fork is the easy step in the development phase. The more challenging task technically and economically is running the software without causing a negative impact to users, businesses and miners.
Founder and CEO of Silicon Prairie Online, David Duccini tells Cointelegraph that the approach taken by BU is fundamentally wrong. Duccini explains that Bitcoin is first and foremost a network, hence you solve for latency first, then worry about "jumbo-frames."
For Duccini, SegWit is the preferred approach since it is a stepwise refinement.
“Smaller blocks more often is a better approach. You want a courier, not a semi-truckload.”
Duccini offers the Litecoin scenario as an example, where with its 2.5-minute block emit target, you don't see anyone complaining about transactions or throughput on that network. He notes that fundamentally Bitcoin could cut the block emit time from 10 minutes to five minutes and still remain secure and effectively double the throughput without changing anything else.
Another proponent who has expressed support of SegWit is Marek “Slush” Palatinus, CEO of SatoshiLabs. In a blog post, Palatinus describes SegWit as a blessing for hardware wallets for reasons that include among others, increased security and a reduction the complexity in hardware wallets as it is today.
Also explained in Trezor hardware wallet’s blog post is that SegWit transactions are designed in such a way that allows hardware wallets to get rid of the verification process altogether.
This is because SegWit transactions will include the value of previous outputs in the signature of the transaction. The wallet thus does not need to request the previous transactions nor hash them anymore, saving time for users.
The Bitcoin scaling debate is far from over, endorsements and counter-endorsements will continue to be seen. An interesting angle to the entire situation is that everyone seems to be standing up to be counted.
Segregated Witness or Bitcoin Unlimited; whose side are you on?