With just two weeks to go, the bitcoin network is preparing for its biggest upgrade yet after more than two years of debate.
The majority of miners have seemingly backed a “compromise” proposal called segwit2x, which is to activate segwit in the coming days while merging a flag-day hardfork that is meant to occur in around three months.
Some 60% of them started signalling for segwit2x yesterday. That includes bitcoin’s biggest miner, Antpool, as well as BTC.TOP, Bitfury and BTCC, among others.
The non-orange pools above are not yet signalling. Including ViaBTC, F2Pool, and BW among the biggest. All three are probably required for segwit2x to activate, but they will likely follow shortly.
It is probable in the coming days all other miners will also follow because once segwit2x is locked in non-segwit miners will be forked off, a measure that has long been criticized by small blockers in the context of Bitcoin Classic’s 75% threshold because it disenfranchises a minority.
As such, it may well be the case some miners decide to keep the non-segwit chain running because segwit does have some opposition among some quarters of small blockers.
While big blockers will fork to Bitcoin Cash under the ticker of BCC, splitting bitcoin. ViaBTC and OKCoin have both said they will list Bitcoin Cash, so the new coin will have a market.
It will probably also have some miners as ViaBTC will launch a BCC mining pool as may bitcoin.com, giving it some initial hashrate.
How that hashrate progresses will probably depend on how the price of BCC will change as hashrate follows price.
As such, because miners are free to move between the Bitcoin Core chain and the BCC chain, they will probably mine each dependent on the level of profitability.
So the market will pass its ultimate judgment, but BCC will start off as very much the underdog because Bitcoin Core is keeping the bitcoin name and the BTC ticker.
Which means they’ll keep all of the infrastructure by default, while BCC will need to be added just like any other coin.
That’s why some big blockers think it is best to wait and see whether the hardfork in three months goes through, but the chances of it appear minimal to many other big blockers who argue if they really intended it they would have hardforked and would have implemented segwit at the same time.
So they are splitting now, with Bitcoin Unlimited seemingly joining BitcoinABC to provide a client compatible with the Bitcoin Cash chain.
Ultimately, which will carry the name of bitcoin will be decided by the market as the one with the highest price will most probably be the default, but inertia might be a strong factor.
However, the market will have a continuous choice, while the two projects and communities will be free to go their own way and focus on their own visions as well as roadmaps, with individuals free to choose and signal through price valuation.