80.5% of bitcoin’s mining hashrate is currently voting for segwit as the currency nears its last leg of upgrading the protocol after more than two years of scalability debate.
As good as all miners will likely upgrade, with all major pools, including F2Pool and Slush, which are not yet voting for segwit, saying they will do so as bitcoin makes a monumental decision that may affect its direction for decades to come.
As such, in the next two-three days, if the current miners continue to back segwit, the upgrade will be locked in. It will then soon after activate and go live in the next two-three weeks.
At that point, provided the rest of the infrastructure has upgraded, bitcoin’s capacity should increase, nearly doubling from its current 300,000 transactions a day to 600,000.
Developers then have plans to increase it further by compressing transaction data, while also awaiting the launch of the Lightning Network (LN) which will allow bitcoiners to transact with each other through intermediaries.
However, LN is still very much in development, with coders trying to figure out how to connect end-points, technically called routing.
But the upgrade should give bitcoin some time before it reaches full on-chain capacity, allowing all to see how the network will work as well as evaluate LN’s usability.
Some are not willing to wait. They say segwit intentionally keeps on-chain capacity limited by allowing only 1.7x more than the current level of transactions instead of the 4x their proposal allows.
As such, they are seemingly splitting to Bitcoin Cash under the ticker of BCC supported by two clients, BitcoinABC, which is already live, and Bitcoin Unlimited, which is soon to provide a client compatible with BitcoinABC.
Their code allows for a chain-split without changing Proof of Work. Instead, it gradually reduces difficulty if necessary. If successful, they will create their own chain, with their own nodes, miners, and their own coin.
That coin is very likely to start as a minority coin as segwit is keeping the bitcoin brand and the BTC ticker. BCC, therefore, will have to be added to the wider infrastructure just like any other coin.
But it will probably have some value. At what level or to what proportion with bitcoin no one can quite say, but a good guess might be that one of them will settle at around 20%, at least eventually.
Regarding segwit2x, which was the compromise that made plain segwit gather the support of most miners, its client has not yet been released, with miners starting their vote a bit earlier, but it is not very clear what client they are using exactly.
It may be the case some of them are using Bitcoin Core with a patch of segwit that activates at a lower 80% threshold, known as BIP91. In which case, they might have already breached their own agreement.
Because miners are meant to run segwit at the same time as the code which activates a flag-day hardfork to further double transaction capacity in around three months.
But few believe the 2x part of segwit2x will ever materialize as once segwit activates miners are left with no cards to play.
As such, bitcoin seems to be going the settlement way with the only real option for big blockers being Ethereum, which plans to have unlimited on-chain scalability through a new invention called sharding that securely shares the workload between nodes rather than all nodes repeating the same process.
But some of them may prefer Bitcoin Cash, which is to be listed on ViaBTC and probably other exchanges. So we’ll have to wait and see how the situation develops in the next two weeks.