The Bitcoin multiverse, from miners to altcoin developers, even the mainstream media, have been talking for months about what the future of Bitcoin holds when it come to the debate over its block size. Such a democratic process looks messy and confused when an open-source, multi-national, multi-billion dollar industry needs to make its first major paradigm shift, with the world watching. Now, a meeting amongst many top executives and Bitcoin developers has taken place in Hong Kong, and agreements have been made in regards to the future development of the world’s leading decentralized digital currency.
Read the full story below.
Strangely, there have been several widely publicized meeting and conferences that were supposed to come to some collective agreements about the future of Bitcoin development. Notably, the last Scaling Bitcoin conference, also held in Hong Kong, was supposed to achieve something of an accord for 2016. Yet, this meeting last week skipped the publicity and got right to business.
The attendees and signatories of this agreement, which combined represent about 80% of the global Bitcoin network’s hashing power included Kevin Pan, Manager of Bitcoin mining company AntPool, Anatoly Legkodymov, the CEO of A-XBT, Larry Salibra, from the Bitcoin Association of Hong Kong, Leonhard Weese, also of the Bitcoin Association of Hong Kong, Cory Fields, Johnson Lau, Luke Dashjr, Matt Corallo and Peter Todd representing Bitcoin Core. Kang Xie of Bitcoin Roundtable, Phil Potter, the CSO of Bitfinex, Valery Vavilov, the CEO of BitFury, Alex Petrov, the CIO of BitFury, Jihan Wu, the Co-CEO of Bitmain, Micree Zhan, also Co-CEO of Bitmain, James Hilliard and Yoshi Goto of BitmainWarranty, Alex Shultz, the CEO of BIT-X Exchange, Bobby Lee, the CEO of China’s largest Bitcoin exchange, BTCC, plus many others joined the accord.
Primary goals were the inclusion of Peter Wuille’s novel Segregated Witness script, which has impressed all who have reviewed it (For more on how SegWit works, click here.) Plus, a block size increase to counter the scalability issues Bitcoin is currently undergoing, a much needed fix for the long-term health of Bitcoin. Many of you may have noticed over the past year times when a Bitcoin transaction can take hours, not minutes, to be confirmed. These two adjustments are designed to help alleviate these usage issues, with SegWit, a short-term remedy and the block size increase a long-term solution.
The agreement is that Bitcoin Core consensus systems will be used, not Bitcoin Classic or other variants. SegWit will be a feature added for Bitcoin Core system use through a "soft fork" in April. In July, a hard-fork based on the revised SegWit program will be available in Bitcoin Core in July. Bitcoin block size will grow from 1 MB to 2NB, but can be as much as 4 MB in a hard-core installation for July 2017, but this timeframe is subject to change and is not set in stone.
SegWit seems to be key to avoid a short-term hard fork and easing pressures on the system by making the blockchain use much more efficient in the usage of its space. This agreement involves many important companies but is notably absent of major corporations like Circle and BitPay. Also, noted Bitcoin Core developers like Gavin Andresen, and experts like Jeff Garzik, who are very influential within the Bitcoin community.
Can Bitcoin work with SegWit filling in as basically a band-aid before a hard fork almost 18 months away? Brian Armstrong, CEO of Coinbase, doesn’t think so. He has already endorsed the move to BitcoinClassic, which would in short order move Bitcoin to 2 MB, and leave all else the same. Armstrong believes all Bitcoin protocol development shouldn’t be left up to Core without competition from other parties.
“SegWit contains several good features, but it is not a good solution to help bitcoin scale, which is the most urgent problem we need to solve,” said Armstrong in his Medium post on Saturday. “My understanding is that Core believes SegWit contains features which are necessary to add before a hard fork can safely occur (to prevent certain attack vectors). However, I believe Classic already contains code that prevents these attack vectors.”
Bitcoin expert Andreas Antonopoulos said the following about the agreement:
This marks an important step forward by many of the people who make Bitcoin work, worldwide, behind the scenes. BitConnect will keep you informed on the progress, and backlash, of these updates in the coming months.