Bitcoin Miners and Core Developers Release SegWit, Hard Fork Agreement
At an industry roundtable in Hong Kong on February 21, representatives of the Bitcoin mining industry and a group of Bitcoin Core developers met to discuss a solution to the Bitcoin block size scaling issue. After meeting for more than 18 hours, they released a statement with agreement on several points about the debate.
Among the group releasing the statement were the founding team of AntPool, A-XBT, BitFury, Bitmain, BTCC, F2Pool, Genesis Mining and GHash.io. These mining executives represent more than 80 percent of total blocks mined in recent months, according to Blockchain.info. Bitcoin Core developers also joining in the group statement were Cory Fields, Johnson Lau, Luke Dashjr, Matt Corallo and Peter Todd.
The group announced that Segregated Witness (SegWit), a proposed change in Bitcoin’s code that changes the way that data from Bitcoin transaction signatures are stored, will continue to be developed and released in the next two months. SegWit has received a positive reaction from members of the Bitcoin community after being presented by Dr. Pieter Wuille, Bitcoin Core developer and one of the founders of Blockstream, at the Scaling Bitcoin conference in Hong Kong three months ago.
In addition, the statement said that “[Core developers] will continue to work with the entire Bitcoin protocol development community to develop, in public, a safe hard-fork based on the improvements in SegWit … as a recommendation to Bitcoin Core within three months after the release of SegWit.”
The statement continues:
“This hard-fork is expected to include features which are currently being discussed within technical communities, including an increase in the non-witness data to be around 2 MB, with the total size no more than 4 MB, and will only be adopted with broad support across the entire Bitcoin community.”
If the rest of the Bitcoin Core team approves the changes and there is strong consensus from the community, it will support the implementation of a hard fork. This will require everyone running a full node to download the new software in order to stay compatible with the network. The statement predicts the hard fork will likely not be activated until July 2017.