Bitcoin Core developers have deployed an initial implementation of Segregated Witness on a special testnet for Bitcoin, dubbed SegNet. SegNet allows developers to experiment with the highly anticipated innovation set to increase Bitcoin’s scalability, extensibility and performance.
SegNet, like the original Bitcoin testnet, is essentially a clone of Bitcoin, specifically intended as a demo version. Bitcoin Core developers Pieter Wuille, Eric Lombrozo, Johnson Lau, Alex Morcos and several others constructed a set of patches in order to establish the new testnet, with an early iteration of Segregated Witness activated. SegNet was deployed on the December 31, and has been successfully operational since.
Speaking to Bitcoin Magazine, Lombrozo – who’s also CEO of cryptotech software company Ciphrex– emphasized that SegNet is still a work in progress.
“The way we've designed the Merkle Tree for signature data might be changing, we're still considering several options to increase usability for miners, and different parameters are being explored ... we'll end up rebooting SegNet at some point. But it's operational and we've been sending Segregated Witness transactions over it the last several days,” Lombrozo said.
As such, while many of the core concepts are in place, the initial Segregated Witness design will probably see some changes before it's deployed, too.
“Pieter's Segregated Witness GitHub branch is still going to be reworked before we merge back into Bitcoin Core,” Lombrozo explained. “We're not ready to deploy Segregated Witness on the actual Bitcoin network just yet, but SegNet allows developers to experiment, which should benefit the development process.”
Wuille's Segregated Witness concept was first announced at the second Scaling Bitcoin workshop in Hong Kong last month. The idea is widely embraced by Bitcoin's development community, and included as a key part of a popular scalability roadmap proposed by Bitcoin Core and Blockstream developer Gregory Maxwell. (Though not everyone agrees this specific road map is the best way forward.)
Apart from Bitcoin Core, several wallet providers have so far committed to supporting Segregated Witness once it's deployed on the Bitcoin network, including Blocktrail,mBreadwallet, GreenAddress, GreenBits, NBitcoin and Lombrozo’s own mSIGNA.