Why November Will Be The Real Test For Bitcoin
Bitcoin’s three-year long civil war may finally soon come to an end — but whether that will be a peaceful ending or a bitter breakup remains to be seen.
For now, the first of a series of deadlines for potential splits in the blockchain — the single ledger of bitcoin transactions going all the way back to the first one in January 2009 held on thousands of computers around the world — looks like it will be averted.
In May, many of the largest economic actors in Bitcoin — exchanges, wallets, businesses representing millions of users — aligned with miners, or the companies that keep the network running, to push forward a compromise that they believe will put the hostilities to rest.
“The good will and positivity that comes out of moving all the Bitcoin players forward together is going to allow us to not go through these Mexican standoffs every time there’s a critical change to be made to the network,” Brian Hoffman, CEO of OB1, one of the companies that signed the agreement, said in the latest episode of my podcast, Unchained (Google Play, iTunes, iHeartRadio, Stitcher or TuneIn Radio), which was an impassioned discussion of what may be the end of Bitcoin’s civil war.
However, one crucial group was not on board with this compromise. Not one of the core developers who have been shepherding the development of the protocol all these years — despite the fact that they are not a homogenous group — did not sign on to the accord, called SegWit2x or the New York Agreement. And because SegWit2x has two parts — first, a technical change called SegWit, and then, 90 days later, another technical change that will increase a cap on the amount of data that can be processed in any given block from 1MB to 2MB — it’s not certain whether the adoption of the first part (basically adopted but not 100% certain yet) will necessarily lead to the success of the second.