Bitcoin Core’s innovative solution designed to scale the Bitcoin network by moving witness data outside the traditional block structure is finally approaching its release.
The Bitcoin Core team announced on Twitter that the Segregated Witness release is on its “final countdown,” with various tests and necessary information in place to upgrade the Bitcoin network.
Segregated Witness is a sophisticated scaling technology designed to provide two major benefits to Bitcoin miners, users, and businesses: elimination of malleability and capacity increase. Initially, the Segwit proposal was drafted as a solution to the ongoing block size debate. It attempted to decrease the block size of the Bitcoin network by allowing new-style blocks to hold more data than older-style blocks.
The Bitcoin Core team and the majority of the Bitcoin community believed that Core’s Segwit is the right way to approach the block size debate, instead of the irrational implementation of hard forks that may potentially cause harm to the network.
Long testing periods
Segregated Witness required an unparalleled volume of testing and analysis as it makes important changes to the peer-to-peer network code. To ensure a safe and secure deployment of Segwit, Core developers ran extensive tests to measure the performance of Segwit and its overall impact on the Bitcoin network.
To Bitcoin Core’s credit, the code of Segregated Witness was fully operational by the end of 2015, despite heavy criticisms that the development team has received over the past 12 months for their “inefficiency.” Since then, Core in collaboration with various wallet service providers and Bitcoin-based platforms that ran tests in segnet, which also enabled wallet operators to test their code for generating Segwit transactions.
This period of time proved to be a crucial stage in the development and deployment of Segwit, as the Core team were able to discover some issues and implement solutions for permanent fix.
The Core team ran another Segwit network test on Bitcoin’s testnet, which conducted a wider range of tests with other programs that were not upgraded for Segwit. Immediately after the tests were conducted on Bitcoin’s testnet, Segwit author Pieter Wuille submitted the second and final pull request containing all improvements revised and reviewed by twenty Bitcoin Core developers.
As Segwit approaches its final countdown, it is important to understand the benefits of the scaling technology and its overall impact to the network. It serves a solution to both the limited block size and third-party transaction malleability, which is presumed to significantly improve the Bitcoin network in terms of performance and security.
Supporters of Segregated Witness and the Bitcoin Core development team are also excited and interested that alternative proposals like the lightening network, RSK, and hivemind will be built and deployed after the release of Segwit.