Bitcoin Mining Pools Initiate Segwit Lock-in Period

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.

Also read: Predicting the August 1 Split Flow Chart the Hard Way

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.

Bitcoin Mining Pools Initiate Segwit Lock-in Period
BIP91 lock-in is confirmed as of block #476768.

What is Segregated Witness?

Bitcoin Mining Pools Initiate Segwit Lock-in PeriodSegwit 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.

Bitcoin Mining Pools Initiate Segwit Lock-in Period

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.


Images via Shutterstock, Coin Dance, and Pixabay. 


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  • sjs

    The waring parties have battle fatigue and decided to avoid the nuclear option at 5 to midnight — for now. The collapse of the cryptos capital base from $115B to $60B while they were at each other’s throats and the instant recovery should have provided the miners and devs with sufficient insight as to what to expect if they fail to negotiate the armistice and convert it to a working peace agreement.

    • JAFO

      Word…I did not expect the signalling to be so quick, but it is good, now we have 3 months of bs/core trying to persuade everyone that the 2M HF is evil. I also think that segwit will make no positive change to the transaction fees over the next few months (in fact they may get worse).

      • sjs

        Was there a choice on the signalling given it was left to the last minute effectively ie now or never? I am not sure of what I am looking at here with the rapid recovery, there seems nothing organic about it. If

        • JAFO

          To be frank, I thought that a few miners would do a ‘go slow’ so that aug1 would come and the whole UASF/UAHF debarkle would occur. I am glad that did not happen. This is a much better outcome and shows much hope for November HF.

          • sjs

            It ain’t over till the fat lady sings. There is much mileage in yoyo-ing this thing up and down for another 3 months + as long as they don’t kill the goose. I am surprised the alts haven’t moved up more – you did point that out more or less previously. Sickening, I’m still down a sh#t load and don’t expect to recover for a while. I can’t believe Bitmain will just walk away from this, it’s uncharacteristic.

        • Sean Michael

          How about looking closely to who is behind this abandonment of the Satoishi Papers Original Design? Also, there was no block cap until 2011 when it was installed as a short time solution for a now non-existent problem.

  • Khurram Javed

    Glad bitcoin is advancing finally. Want only the best developers to work on the code. Seems like markets agree.

  • anon9

    The miners cause this whole debacle, for their own private profit. Segwit is a fix.

    Segwit2x is a whole other animal. Which is unnecessary, as transaction fees on btc network have dropped and continued to do so. In addition concern and discussion around centralization are important, if nodes drop; then the distributed, decentralized ledger becomes less so.

    • anon9

      oh and maybe some miners can not mine nearly empty blocks. That would be nice!
      check out block numbers 477958 and 477955 as examples less than 30KB. when most are 999kb

  • Sean Michael

    My question remains unanswered: Why can’t it be done correctly as envisioned in the original papers and design. Under that prim-is, the block size would have been 8 mg no problem. Perhaps you should ask yourselves: why, who, and what was the reason it was not allowed to be done correctly? Who profits from it, what has the community lost because of it, what was the ulterior motive behind this dissension, what will it cost the community further down the road. How ineffective a solution is it, what will be the unintended consequences?