It’s done, the long awaited Bitcoin Upgrade Segregated Witness (SegWit) was activated with block 481.824 at 01:57 (UTC) and may end a long lasting debate about scaling Bitcoin. The block was scooped by the BTCC mining pool. Users can now benefit from the advantages of the new technology.
SegWit was first introduced in 2015 by Pieter Wuille (Bitcoin Core developer) as part of Bitcoin’s scaling debate. The network became noticeably slower with increasing utilization, and transactions took hours or days depending on the transaction fee. Some of them were not executed at all. Only transactions with a lavishly equipped and constantly increasing transaction fee had a chance to be processed quickly.
Why wasn’t the Bitcoin formula implemented much earlier?
A good question, but there was a big conflict of interest in the Bitcoin formula community. Read more about it here: onlinebetrug.de In short, many Miner manufacturers and mining pools were accused of deliberately preventing the introduction of SegWit and playing off their power. The community on the other hand started a revolt and everything ended in a big political debacle. There were many approaches to scaling Bitcoin, but SegWit was eventually to prevail. There was much discussion, insult and rush. A debate that would last several years and keep the network away from much needed scaling.
This all seems to have come to an end now: SegWit went live after a Miner agreement and a long activation period.
But what are the most important SegWit key features?
SegWit distributes the data per block more efficiently, far more transactions can be processed per block. SegWit increases capacity and is compatible with older software versions
SegWit prevents transaction corruption, a bug that nipped many Bitcoin projects in the bud
In addition to an increased transaction flow, the last point in particular will have a major impact on the further development and mass acceptance of Bitcoin. Until now it was not possible to activate so-called Lightning Networks without SegWit. Lightning Networks consist of transaction channels that handle Bitcoin transactions away from the blockchain and can thus increase the number of transactions to several million per second.
However, since no one could really guarantee that SegWit would ever be activated for Bitcoin, only a handful of developers took care of the development of such networks. Now that Segregated Witness has also been activated for Bitcoin after Litecoin, this development will certainly pick up speed – the first developers are already working on a fusion of both blockchains.
Other developments such as MAST (complex Bitcoin Smart Contracts), Schnorr signatures (a further increase in transaction capacity) and TumbleBit (a network for anonymizing transactions) are also already in the starting blocks.