BitPay CEO Stephen Pair has signaled progress in the company’s Bitcoin upgrade. BitPay wants extension blocks, but no hard forks.

Pair suggested the company has been doing some groundwork on testing extension blocks longer than what they’ve made public.

Pair has been careful to not dub the efforts as “auxiliary blocks” or “extension blocks” due to it being a political term – depending on whom you ask. Instead, he prefers to think of the additional blocks as “secondary blocks.”

Their view of a possible hard fork is that it is best avoided. Pair feels that although it is important to support progress and alternative implementations, Bitcoin Unlimited “has made a few poor technical implementations.”

“At the same time, I am concerned that many people may not be aware of extension blocks and how they may be a better way to upgrade Bitcoin and avoid unnecessary contentious hard forks.”

Specifications and working code

There are GitHub pages for both the specification and working code. As a step further, BitPay explains how to join the public testnet. Pair writes: “You can be running a bcoin node on this extension block testnet in just a few minutes. If it holds up scrutiny we may support activation on the main net.”

Just days after the Litecoin community announced it will go ahead and start SegWit activation after a unanimous decision, it is understandable that leading figures such as Pair might push forward for Bitcoin progress in one form or another.

Suggested roadmap

An article released on March 16 sets out the following guidelines for a “safe, non-contentious upgrade process.”

  • Phase 1. Soft fork adoption of new rules.
  • In the form of network adoption and miner adoption.
  • Phase 2. Depreciation.
  • Phase 3. Hard fork.

The full mini road map of what the company would like to see happen can be found here.

Bitcoin Litecoin drama

In related news, the Bitcoin community has been watching and in some cases even worrying about Litecoin’s adoption of SegWit. The possible success or failure of SegWit in a substantially capitalized coin such as Litecoin might alter Bitcoin’s path forward.