Segregated Witness (SegWit) Locks In On Bitcoin

Segregated Witness (SegWit), a software improvement to the Bitcoin network, has reached its lock-in threshold, now heading towards the two-week “grace period” before full activation.

Segwit Logo

The upgrade reached the necessary threshold yesterday with a 100% of bitcoin mining pools signaling support for the proposal.

The two-week waiting that follows will give users and mining pools the time to upgrade to the new software. After that period, which is set to end on August 21 or 22, SegWit will activate and miners will start rejecting blocks that do not support the change.

A previous Bitcoin Improvement Proposal, labeled BIP 91, was activated on July 20, and paved the way for SegWit, a soft fork proposal by Bitcoin developer Pieter Wuille intended to solve the blockchain size limitation problem and improve network scalability.

SegWit introduces a new transaction format and updates the 1MB block size limit to a four million-unit block weight limit, counting serialized witness data as one unit and core block data as four units. Data don’t get smaller, but instead, are counted in a way that allows for the 1MB limit to be effectively increased.

In addition to capacity increase, SegWit would fix transaction malleability, an attack that lets a person change a Bitcoin transaction’s unique ID before the transaction is confirmed on the Bitcoin network. It also paves the way for layer-two payment systems like the Lightning Network.

While, SegWit has been the subject of intense debate within the Bitcoin community, the upgrade has already been activated on several other networks including Litecoin and Viacoin. Vertcoin and SysCoin have moved forward and implemented Lightning Networks.

The price of Bitcoin hit a new record this week, trading above US$3,450 on Tuesday. Bitcoin has risen 75% since its mid-July lows of US$1,940.

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