The bitcoin network appears to have made a decision to activate segwit in the coming days with segwit2x now standing at 90% while even plain segwit is at 46%, slightly higher than Bitcoin Unlimited.
As such, chances of a smooth upgrade have seemingly increased with segwit2x developers now preparing to launch their client which opens what might be an historic period of a few days.
Nearly all miners are currently signalling segwit2x, which is basically segwit as there is no difference whatever between the two, not even a comma, until segwit activates. Except that segwit2x goes live after 80% of miners upgrade, while segwit requires 95%.
What miners plan to do is once they activate segwit with 80%, they will push that to 95% by either other miners joining or by forking off the blocks of non-upgraded miners.
The latter, however, seems unnecessary at this point as almost all miners are signalling for segwit2x, which means they are signalling for segwit.
The network, therefore, will now likely upgrade in the coming days, pre-empting the August the 1st deadline so as to make the flag-day soft-fork known as UASF inoperational and irrelevant.
Because once segwit activates, the segwit2x client, the UASF client and the Bitcoin Core client will all be in consensus and on the same page, which means a split wouldn’t be foreseeable.
Regarding the Bitcoin Unlimited client, as segwit is a soft-fork, the 800 BU nodes would just not employ the new capacity while remaining in the same network and blockchain, without any chain-split.
After segwit activates, the new segwit2x client and the Bitcoin Core client become two very different things. That’s because segwit2x is to hardfork in around three months to increase the hard limit of 1MB transactions capacity to 2MB.
That hardfork is a flag-day fork, so it will go ahead regardless of the percentage of miners support, in theory. In practice, the segwit2x client will need preferably all miners, but at least 80% or a minimum of around 60%, for the hardfork to go through with reduced chances of a chainsplit.
As miners are very much short-term minded due to their gear quickly deprecating, they really don’t want a chain-split. Which is one of the main reason why no previous hardfork client has gained sufficient support.
Moreover, the campaign against segwit2x’s hardfork has already started. Once segwit activates, that will probably intensify, significantly reducing the chances of a hardfork in three months.
Especially as once segwit activates, capacity will be increased to nearly double, so there will be less pressure to rock the boat, not least because bitcoin’s very divided community, including the bitcoin exchanges, would make a chain-split very messy.
As such, it is very probable the network smoothly upgrades to segwit in the coming days. Then, it is probable it just follows the Bitcoin Core roadmap in waiting for the Lightning Network and the rest.
The big blockers that still remain will probably follow, not least because their “leadership” is supporting segwit2x, which is little more than a saving face method of activating segwit.
As such, the race between bitcoin and ethereum will probably intensify as the two major networks take very different paths in almost all levels, from governance, to how they upgrade the network, to how they scale their blockchain.
Pricewise, they are allies. Bitcoin has significantly benefited from ethereum’s rise, even taking credit for ethereum sending GPUs out of stock. While ethereum has benefited from the infrastructure already laid by bitcoin.
But the latter has been losing many of its supporters to ethereum as the two-years long road towards making a decision and the way such decision may finally be reached leaves much to be desired.
Update: A bitcoin split into two chains and coins now appears certain.