It seems the day is here, and the consensus everyone was in search of could be coming around the bend. Bitcoin Core will quite possibly be getting a “capacity increase” in the near future. With a plan that most everyone can agree with some believe the block size debate is coming to an end.
“We, the undersigned, support the roadmap in Capacity increases for the Bitcoin system.”
— Signature Statement Via Github
It all started at the Hong Kong Scaling Workshop where it was planned to debate and discuss the Bitcoin block size topic. Many core developers and innovators assembled at the event to discuss the details of various ideas laid out on the table. Jeff Garzik gave the crowd an introduction to most of the BIP proposals offered throughout the year. It wasn’t until Pieter Wuille gave his presentation of the Segregated Witness concept on the second day of the event that would change everything.
The slideshow entitled “Segregated Witness And Its Impact On Scalability” gave light to an idea that may help lighten Bitcoin’s load. Segregated Witness or SegWit is a concept of relocating ‘witnessed’ transaction signatures held in blocks. By moving this information in this fashion, other ideas like scalability concepts, sidechains and soft forks can be implemented. It could help nullify malleability attacks, and a lighting channel could also be applied to the network.
In a pull request on Github called “Capacity increases” #1165” most core developers and those loosely affiliated with the code have signed on for these changes that are proposed here. What’s to possibly come, of course, is an implementation of the Segregated Witness soft fork within 3-6 months, and then a possible hard fork after a year or more of testing. The soft fork implementation is believed to likely happen in a drawn out gradual way and should improve other problems like malleability.
Gregory Maxwell who’s on board with the plan says:
“I propose we work immediately towards the segwit 4MB block soft-fork which increases capacity and scalability, and recent speedups and incoming relay improvements make segwit a reasonable risk. BIP9 and segwit will also make further improvements easier and faster to deploy.”
A more detailed proposal will follow within a few days as well as the signatures from most of the Core maintainers. Though the detailed roadmap by Gregory Maxwell may not be exactly how things will unfold.
With over 30 signatures that resembled the U.S. Declaration of Independence, the pull request looks like it has quite a bit of engineer approval. However, there is some disagreement from the community via /r/bitcoin forums and others who believe that more choices should be brought to the table. “It’s the Core maintainer’s claim that ‘consensus is required for all changes,’ so he should inform us of what he means by that,” one commenter writes. “If the word is so malleable that he can in fact pick and choose what changes to merge by suitably twisting the meaning of the word as is convenient.”
This means that consensus to some has not been met and the users themselves have a say. Some are asking for a vote on the subject with alternate choices. Despite this, however, others have stressed that the conversations and infighting have gone on long enough.
We shall see what arises from this signature vote of Core maintainers and the following FAQ that proceeds. This will detail a roadmap of what the developers agree upon and will be displayed on the pull request. Bitcoin.com will keep you up to date as this story develops.
What do you think of the signed pull request and the capacity proposal? Let us know in the comments below.
Images courtesy of Redmemes, Shutterstock, and Github