Bitcoin Core has mined two blocks recently of more than 2MB of data, processing twice the amount of the hard set 1MB limit due to segregated witnesses (segwit).
That however has led to the two blocks processing just 10% of the usual transaction levels, with each containing around 250 transactions as opposed to the usual 2,000 or so.
The reason is because the transactions are signature heavy. They were performed by BitGo, a multisig security specialist, with a representative from them stating:
“They were issued over two weeks ago at a low priority fee rate of ~55 sat/vbyte and finally cleared today as the mempool backlog finally started clearing out.”
There are still around 100,000 transactions waiting to move, but network demand has fallen recently, with Bitcoin Core processing 240,00 transactions yesterday. Half the amount of its all time high at almost 500,000.
That reduced demand for transactions has seemingly led to lower fees, standing now at 0.00070060 BTC per transaction or around $8.
Segwit’s adoption, however, remains very poor at just around 10%. Why it is finding little usage is unclear, with some suggesting it might require some extensive development work for its implementation at a level where one can be sure billions of dollars are safe.
The past history of considerable hacks, with some exchanges losing millions, might have understandably made them very cautious, with exchanges having their own tried and tested processes that have worked so far, thus they might be reluctant to change them.
Moreover, many of the biggest exchanges have had far more pressing concerns in scaling their platform due to a substantial increase in customers, thus they might have simply not had the time or resources to implement segwit to a robust level.
Finally, it is not clear whether segwit does in fact increase capacity as segwit blocks have had a far lower number of transactions than ordinary blocks.
For signature heavy multi-sig platforms, like BitGo, its use and implementation may make sense due to some savings in fees, but for exchanges, transactions are usually of a vanilla kind, therefore any savings might be far lower.
Especially when one considers the cost in development time it might take to implement it for complex enterprises such as Coinbase, which stake their reputation on being secure.
Segwit thus has remained at around 10% for now almost six months, with no sign of it changing in this point and time.