Kvě 30

UASF Continues to Gain Support as ‘Secret’ SegWit2x Roadmap Revealed

· May 30, 2017 · 10:30 am

Though a Bitcoin scaling agreement was reached at the recent Consensus conference in New York, many companies are increasingly supporting a User-Activated Soft Fork (UASF)  as a means to activate SegWit.


UASF Still on the Table

Although reports have stated that the Bitcoin scaling debate may be coming to an end due to what has been known as the ‘Barry Silbert Agreement,’ recent developments indicate that it may still be far from over, leaving other options like the User Activated Soft Fork (UASF), a proposal that has been slowly gaining traction among Bitcoin businesses.

The given agreement dubbed “SegWit2x” is a compromise by several companies in the blockchain space that represent roughly 83% of the global hash rate to activate the SegWit proposal at an 80% threshold and to activate a 2MB hard fork within six months.

Meanwhile, prominent Bitcoin community member “WhalePanda”  tweeted out the details of the SegWit2x proposal today. The roadmap sets only a month for testing. Furthermore, it proposes to get the nodes up and running as well as signaling by July 21st, 2017.

Interestingly, this falls before the BIP 148 August 1st activation date.

Given its short timeframe, Bitcoin Core proponents say that the given approach is not enough to properly implement a hard fork. Due to its risky nature, it would require a second SegWit BIP to be introduced before the current one expires.

This means that the UASF may be the only way to realistically implement SegWit. Although the proposal is viewed by some as somewhat “intrusive” or even dangerous, 27 companies have shown support for it, a number that has more than doubled since the last time we talked about this subject.

Who Supports UASF?

Since the last time we visited this subject, 15 companies have signaled their support for the UASF proposal, including:

  • Abra;
  • Bitcoin Embassy;
  • Bitcoin India;
  • Bitfury;
  • Bitrefill;
  • Electrum;
  • Mycelium and others.

Currently seven companies are also opposing the UASF: Bitpay, Bitillions, BTCPOP, CoinATMRadar, F2Pool, MrCoin, and OXT. Meanwhile, both the Ledger and Trezor hardware wallet manufacturers are currently ready for the UASF BIP 148 update.

While most companies are in favor of the miner activated SegWit, the same level of support is not reflected with the UASF proposal. Some companies are still waiting for a less intrusive method of activating SegWit. ShapeShift, for example, has publically stated that it will wait for the Barry Silbert agreement to materialize. If it doesn’t, then ShapeShift will run a BIP 148 UASF node.

The reason why companies are still waiting for other solutions can be found in the nature of the User Activated Soft Fork, which poses some potential dangers for the Bitcoin ecosystem.

What is UASF & What Are the Risks?

A User Activated Soft Fork is a soft fork in which the users or nodes create a penalty for miners that do not signal the intended soft fork. This is done through a modified version of a Bitcoin Client, which gives a block height limit for miners to start signaling SegWit.

Once this block height is reached,  nodes that are running the UASF client will stop accepting blocks that don’t support SegWit. Since nodes are the ones that verify transactions, if a majority of nodes is running a UASF client, then blocks that don’t signal SegWit will be considered invalid by the majority of nodes, while SegWit blocks will be accepted by every node, old and new.

Though this system seems like a sure way to activate SegWit, it sill poses some dangers for miners that continue to mine non-SegWit blocks and for nodes that are not running the UASF client. If a majority of miners decide not to support SegWit, there will be a chain split and old nodes that are not running UASF will follow the chain with the most miners.

This would mean that the Bitcoin blockchain would be split into two chains, one with and the other one without SegWit. The blockchain in which SegWit would be active would be the one with the least hash power, a concerning factor for Bitcoin’s security.

Do you think SegWit can be activated without the UASF proposal? Can the SegWit + 2mb Hard fork Bitcoin Scaling Agreement get it done? Share your thoughts on the comment section.


Images courtesy of Twitter, Shutterstock

Show comments

Share
Kvě 04

$500k Miner Fees Could See One Transaction Trigger Big Blocks

· May 4, 2017 · 5:00 pm

A $500,000 initiative to incentivize miners to upgrade Bitcoin’s block size has received substantial support on social media.


273 Bitcoins To Break The 1MB Mold

The so-called ‘Save the chain’ transaction, attached to which is 273.99971476 BTC in fees, is only mineable once nodes upgrade to include transactions over 1 megabyte in size.

Included are 99,940 zero-value anyone-can-spend outputs.

“This allows anyone, with zero trust required, to create a descendant transaction to add to the incentive for miners to increase the maximum block size limit,” Reddit user /u/SaveTheChain explained in introductory comments.

They continued:

This transaction is considered “non-standard” by most full node software. Therefore, miners need to customize their node software to mine this transaction. Additionally, nodes will not broadcast this transaction or any of its descendant transactions… For now, descendant transactions will need to be published by other means (such as a comment here).

A Counterpoint To Scaling Wars?

The latest user-generated cause to force a decision in the Bitcoin scaling debate comes as the cycle of infighting and insult-trading among well-known industry figures continues unabated.

This week saw former Bitcoin Core developer turned Bitcoin Unlimited proponent Gavin Andresen call Blockstream’s Greg Maxwell and Samson Mow “toxic trolls.”

Blockstream came in for further criticism from big block supporter Rick Falkvinge, the Swedish Pirate Party founder claiming the company’s support of SegWit was due to an interest in filing patents associated with the technology.

Maxwell and Blockstream founder Adam Back both subsequently denied Falkvinge’s accusations.

As Bitcoin continues to hit new record highs and commentators highlight strong underlying metrics such as investment, it appears the ongoing stalemate is affecting sentiment less and less.

Peter Rizun

SavetheChain’s most popular supporter meanwhile came in the form of Ledger Journal editor Peter Rizun, who described it as “awesome work” and wrote:

Now we need someone to make a website where people can submit children transactions with high miner fees, and the website can track the growing pot available to the miner (or miners) who includes them. It would be good publicity for the big-block cause.

Current statistics show a slight lead in miner support for Bitcoin Unlimited over Bitcoin Core, the two solutions receiving 38.3% and 35.9% respectively.

What do you think about SaveTheChain’s transaction offer? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Twitter, AdobeStock

Show comments

Share
Dub 25

Charlie Shrem: ‘It’s Not About The Technology Anymore, It’s About Power’

· April 25, 2017 · 9:00 am

Bitcoin entrepreneur Charlie Shrem shared his views on the scaling debate, stating that “it’s not about technology anymore, it’s about power.”


Shrem: ‘It’s About Power’

Charlie Shrem, Bitcoin entrepreneur and co-founder of Intellysis, was present in today’s episode of the  Double Down show, dubbed “Does Block Size Matter?” with the usual hosts Max Keiser and Stacy Herbert.

Hard Fork Wars

During the show, Shrem expressed his thoughts regarding the current state of the scaling debate or as Herbert called it, “the Great Blocksize War of 2017.”

Shrem stated:

In reality, it’s not a technical argument anymore. Everyone on both sides of the table say that SegWit is the best technology that we have.

According to Shrem, the scaling debate is no longer about the most viable technology or solution that can be used to scale Bitcoin. Instead, the scaling debate has become a power struggle between two development teams, Bitcoin Unlimited and Bitcoin Core.

“The other side of the debate, which is Bitcoin Unlimited, they agree that SegWit is a great technology,” he continued. “But to them it’s not about technology anymore, it’s about power.”

Shrem went on to say:

They want to remove [Bitcoin Core’s] ability to work on Bitcoin and instead have a closed-membership small group of four to five developers, who they think are the best for the job, run Bitcoin going forward.

A Test for Bitcoin

However, there is a silver lining in this development, which Shrem considers it as an “extremely bullish situation for Bitcoin.” The current block size “drama” is showcasing Bitcoin’s ability to resist a malicious attack on the network.

He noted:

Here you have a group of bad actors who are trying to overtake the Bitcoin network and essentially fork all of bitcoin and force all Bitcoin users to be able to use their developers and their codebase and their everything and it’s not a group of miners that’s preventing this.

Shrem sees the current hash power signaling as a “glorified poll” when it comes to hard fork given that nodes are the ones that validate blocks and they can discard the ones from the hard-forked chain at will, meaning that miners don’t have nearly as much power as they think they do.

This can be observed the UASF proposal, which would bypass the miners completely and leave it up to the nodes to force SegWit into activation.

However, it may not come down to a UASF, as mining pools like F2Pool are beginning to move to SegWit driven by demand from individual users that contribute hashrate to the pool.

Champagne Problem

Not all is gloomy for Bitcoin, however. Amidst all the tension and drama, one must also look at the bright side, which is the reason we’re having this heated debate at all: Bitcoin is growing at an exponential rate.

This is, as Shrem puts it, a “champagne problem,” one that gives us as much to celebrate as it gives us to fight about. 

Bitcoin 2016

“It’s a good problem to have. Bitcoin has grown really quickly. We never expected this to happen so quickly, to be honest. We’re getting towards what they call a ‘champagne problem,’ how do you scale?” he said.

This means that not only is Bitcoin working as intended, but there is also an urgent need for such a currency in the world. Now, it’s only a matter of making sure that Bitcoin can become that currency and still maintain its decentralized and immutable characteristics.

Shrem concluded:

There has always been research and conversations on scaling over the past three years but, to be honest, we didn’t think we’d see this exponential growth in Bitcoin and now it’s time to have that conversation.

Do you agree? Is the scaling debate actually about power and control? Share below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, alchetron.com, coin.dance

Show comments

Share
Bře 31

Adam Back to Jihan Wu: SegWit Not ‘Complicated,’ Fixes Satoshi’s Bug

· March 31, 2017 · 8:00 am

3,425 views

Hashcash inventor Adam Back has said Segregated Witness (SegWit) “fixes” an original bug in Bitcoin from creator Satoshi Nakamoto.


Back: SegWit ‘Fixes Satoshi Bug’

As part of a Twitter exchange Friday, Back rebuffed criticism from Bitcoin Unlimited proponent Jihan Wu, demonstrating how SegWit is beneficial to the virtual currency’s core protocol.

Wu, who is a co-founder of mining conglomerate Bitmain, had said that the technology would make the network “more complicated.”

adam-back

“SegWit is not more complicated,” Back wrote.

“It fixes Satoshi’s bug that txid=H(tx,sig) to txid=H(tx) this is not complicated, and it is necessary to fix.”

What’s more, if implemented, SegWit can can actually help reduce the so-called “technical debt” burden of complicated code albeit having its own tradeoffs, which are assessed here.

The segwit code has been heavily reviewed, which helps resist the introduction of technical debt at both a code and design level…Segwit has multiple independent reimplementations, which helps discover any unnecessary complexity and technical debt at the point that it can still be avoided.

SegWit: Complicated & Straightforward

Wu’s stance echoes a broader opinion from the Chinese community in particular that SegWit creates unnecessary complexity within Bitcoin.

In an interview with Bitcoinist this month, for example, Leon Liu, CEO of P2P trading service Bitkan, said that this was a reason why the technology “is not the best solution for Bitcoin scaling.”

“Segwit will not be the best solution for Bitcoin scaling, it will make the Bitcoin network more complicated,” he stated.

At the same time, efforts have been made to allay such fears, Blocktrail CTO Ruben De Vries commenting last year that SegWit “is not very complicated if you already know the ins and outs of the Bitcoin protocol.”

segregated-witness

Back meanwhile has praised attempts at educating the wider community on the nature of scaling solutions without resorting to ‘political’ siding.

An explainer on SegWit by Andreas Antonopoulos garnered considerable praise, Back describing it as “the best he’d seen on the topic.”

On its benefits, Antonopoulos wrote in the blog post, which originally came out in August last year:

“Firstly, segregated witness reduces the overall cost of transactions by discounting witness data and increasing the capacity of the bitcoin blockchain.

“Secondly, segregated witness’ discount on witness data corrects a misalignment of incentives that may have inadvertently created more bloat in the UTXO set.”

Litecoin Bounce on SegWit Rumors?

SegWit is traditionally considered ‘complicated’ compared to merely increasing the Bitcoin block size, despite the latter requiring a hard fork of the virtual currency.

Currently, the proposal is still behind Bitcoin Unlimited though both need at least 95% to activate.

12121212

Outside the Bitcoin debate, rumors surfacing that Litecoin is to activate SegWit may have led to a surprise expansion in value of the altcoin by around 30%.

What do you think about the contrasting opinions on SegWit? Will it add complexity to Bitcoin? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Twitter

Show comments

Share
Bře 27

Vision of No Future? Bitcoin Unlimited Token Dives 30% in 7 Days

· March 27, 2017 · 6:00 am

Bitcoin Unlimited’s ghostly new asset BCU is already evaporating on the two exchanges hosting it, having reached an all-time low since its launch.


BCU Drops 30% in a Week

Its two trade venues, exchanges Bitfinex and HitBTC, have both recorded falls in the price of the BCU token, with Bitfinex seeing a near 30% deterioration versus USD.

BCU is currently trading at $180 per coin, or 0.177 BTC, versus $254 and 0.254 BTC respectively seven days ago.

12121212

The underwhelming performance appears to have done little to alter the mindset of the Bitcoin scaling debate’s major parties, with Bitcoin Unlimited proponents dismissing Bitfinex’s trading pair when it launched.

With HitBTC now following suit, however, it appears the natural trend for BCU is down prior to its actual conception, which would only occur in the event of a hard fork March 31.

In a blog post over the weekend, HitBTC explained the reasoning behind adding the pair was to “provide [users] with the tools for avoiding any risk.”

The exchange has further blocked withdrawals until around 48 hours after the deadline, ostensibly to avoid exposure to replay attacks. Existing and future user balances are currently duplicated in BCU as well as BTC, effective immediately.

The move attracted criticism from Reddit commentators, along with the content of the blog post itself, which stated Bitcoin Unlimited pool support “could become the majority.”

Core nodes currently account for over 90% of the network.

Armory Signals Core Support

Bitcoin Core meanwhile has compiled a list of known companies and services which have signalled or are already preparing for Segregated Witness activation.

112 names from throughout cryptocurrency, including Coinbase and Armory in addition to Bitfinex, are currently registered.

Of the total, 57 are described as “Segwit ready,” 30 as being in a state of “work in progress” and the remaining 25 “planned.”

Armory

Armory itself released a dedicated announcement on its Core adherence, stating it “does not support any controversial hard forks such as Bitcoin Unlimited and will continue to support Segregated Witness and Bitcoin Core.”

In the event BU becomes a bonafide chain, however, developer Andrew Chow said the service would be compatible.

“…The Armory wallet software does not perform any consensus checks as it relies on its connection to a local Bitcoin node. This node is typically Bitcoin Core, but anything based upon that will work as well; this includes Bitcoin Unlimited,” he said.

“Thus should a hard fork occur, […] Armory will be compatible with the hard fork and will allow users to continue to transact on the forked network.”

Chances of a hard fork actually occurring are at the same time themselves decreasing. Wang Chun, head of major mining pool F2pool, tweeted Monday that he – and therefore his pool – would not countenance such a change.

What do you think about BCU’s performance? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Twitter, Armory, cryptocoincharts. Shutterstock

Show comments

Share
Bře 21

Reckless or Doable? Bitcoin Algorithm Change Sparks Backlash

· March 21, 2017 · 6:00 am

The latest turn for the Bitcoin scaling debate has seen rumors abound of potential support for changing the virtual currency’s proof-of-work (PoW) algorithm.


PoW Algorithm Change: ‘Doable’ or ‘Reckless’?

A flurry of social media activity Monday accompanied confusion as to which parties from Bitcoin Core supported the concept, which would place mining back in the hands of small-scale individuals.

“A soft fork change of Bitcoin’s proof of work algorithm is entirely doable,” Bittorrent creator Bram Cohen tweeted introducing a post he wrote on the topic.

Cohen added in the post itself:

It’s possible to switch PoW algorithms with a soft fork rather than a hard fork. You make it so that there are two different PoWs, the old one and the new one, and each old-style block has to reference a new-style block and contain the exact same transactions.

An admonishment came in the form of noting the use of “many PoWs” would be a “bad idea that generally gets the worst of everything rather than the best.”

Voorhees: ‘It’s Not Legit’

Cohen’s comments contrast strongly with those of ShapeShift CEO Erik Voorhees, who called the idea of altering PoW “the most absurd and reckless thing I’ve heard in the scaling debate.”

Erik-Voorhees-Bitcoinist

“It is not a legit option,” he added. “It’s the height of foolishness and desperation, the last bastion of a tribe unwilling to put egos down.”

Core developer Peter Todd meanwhile initially contended a PoW change would be “a good backup plan” but later tempered the statement.

“Having said that, _actually_ [sic] changing the PoW is a high-risk move; IMO [sic] best to only do that if an attack actually happens,” he wrote.

Voorhees’ tweet attracted considerable debate, the difficulty of reaching consensus on the topic of scaling Bitcoin immediately becoming evident among supporters of different solutions.

Todd also hit out at BitFury CEO George Kikvadze, who appeared to threaten legal action against proponents of a PoW change.

“Discussions (or even speculation) of PoW change are super irresponsible! And even in the remote 0,01 prc chance it may happen […] those responsible, we will spare no resources, get best lawyers and prosecutors to go after you wherever you will be in the world!” he wrote in a series of tweets Sunday.

What’s your position on a proof-of-work change? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Twitter, Shutterstock

Show comments

Share