At approximately 00:06:48 UTC today, July 20, at block height #476768 the bitcoin network finished the BIP91 lock in period and entered a new phase in order to activate the protocol Segregated Witness (Segwit). Now during the lock-in period, there will be another 336 blocks, until Segwit will be activated on Bitcoin’s main network.
The Bitcoin Network Begins Segwit Lock-in Period
It seems the Bitcoin network may see the implementation of Segwit in the near future. Miners have reached the 80 percent threshold and held this position for 336 blocks to initiate the current lock-in. Another period of blocks mined at this threshold must take place in order to activate the protocol. During the morning of July 20 bitcoin markets have rallied from a price of $2300 per BTC the day before, to a high of $2930. Many bitcoin proponents across forums and social media believe the price spike is due to the anticipated lock-in and activation.
What is Segregated Witness?
Segwit is a protocol that was introduced in 2015 by bitcoin developer Pieter Wuille at the Hong Kong Scaling Workshop. The implementation creates a mechanism that relocates witness inputs away from transactions which in turn may create more block space. Full nodes will validate blocks but with a separate entry for signature data. Essentially, because this specific data is removed, supporters believe it can free up block size space to achieve more on-chain throughput.
The code was prepared a long time ago, and network participants failed to get it activated and also had to deal with a higher threshold of 95 percent. Moreover, many bitcoin proponents believe Segwit isn’t enough and want a block size increase. This has led to many arguments and failed ’roundtable’ agreements. Now since Barry Silbert’s “New York Agreement” miners who chose not to support Segwit in the past, promised to support the implementation in exchange for a 2MB hard fork.
So Far the Segwit2x Roadmap Is Going as Planned
The July 20 lock in period started going much faster once other miners joined the BIP91 signaling. This includes GBminers, Slush, and the anticipated signaling from the well-known F2poo,l which seemed undecided throughout most of the debate. Currently, a great majority of mining pools are supporting the lock-in period threshold, just a few percentages over 80 percent. After the next 336 blocks, and if all is successful with this plan, BIP91 will be enforced at block height 477120. Following this block there will still be a couple weeks of wait time until Segwit is officially active. The process of activating Segwit may not be super smooth, as there also could be problems with blockchain reorganization, a client issue where the bitcoin network doesn’t reorganize in unison.
For now, it seems the Segwit2x roadmap is going as planned. Following the activation of Segwit, developers and network participants will then prepare for the 2MB hard fork that should follow 12,960 blocks later (~3 months).
“Three plus months is the fallback safety measure, in case activation is slower than predicted,” explains Jeff Garzik the Segwit2x working group developer.
Do you think Segwit will be activated? Let us know what you think in the comments below.
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