One of the most long-awaited developments of Segregated Witness (SegWit) to the core Bitcoin software has finally been implemented. Yesterday, on Monday, Feb. 26, a statement circulated on the Linux Foundation Mailing List states that “Bitcoin Core 0.16.0 introduces full support for segwit in the wallet and user interfaces.”
The Version 0.16.0 is the standard software client of the Bitcoin network and has added full-support for Segregated Witness and the code is expected to solve many of the Bitcoin’s scalability obstacles. Bitcoin’s main protocol offers the block size of only 1MB which has been found to be insufficient thereby restricting the speed and volume of the transactions.
The circular further reads that “This is a new major version release, including new features, various bugfixes and performance improvements, as well as updated translations.” The official release has also been confirmed by Peter Todd, who is a core developer on the Bitcoin’s blockchain network.
…and good timing, Bitcoin Core v0.16.0 has been officially released: https://t.co/hYxZPK9bnq
— Peter Todd (@peterktodd) February 26, 2018
The implementation of SegWit has been a long-awaited story after it was introduced for the first time in November 2016. Over the controversy regarding the limited block size, the Bitcoin blockchain over the past eights months has undergone many changes with multiple hard forks in the network. It all started with the first derivate of Bitcoin Cash which was the first hard fork emerging out of conflicting opinions between the Bitcoin’s miner and developer community.
As per the definition provided by Investopedia “SegWit is the process by which the block size limit on a blockchain is increased by removing signature data from Bitcoin transactions. When certain parts of a transaction are removed, this frees up space or capacity to add more transactions to the chain.”
SegWit reduces the “weight” of the transaction and creates more space within the block by separating the transactional data and the signature. Although this method doesn’t increase the network’s block limit it does speed up the transactions.
Many of the exchanges and wallet have been quite slow enough in implementing SegWit at their end. However, they had to finally consider this following huge pressure and demand from customers who were quite frustrated with the slow transaction speeds and higher transaction costs.
Recently, we saw some cryptocurrency exchanges like the Bitfinex and GDAX showing their support for SegWit. While announcing the adoption of SegWit, Bitfinex said: “SegWit provides not only an immediate benefit for users but also a foundation for future bitcoin development. By supporting SegWit addresses, Bitfinex is tackling three of the biggest crypto-enthusiast concerns: transaction fees, transaction speed, and total network capacity.”
The SegWit implementation provides the necessary foundation to further upgrade the Bitcoin network. One of the most awaited updates this year is the Lightning Network, which is a ‘second-layer’ protocol built atop the Bitcoin’s blockchain which takes transactions off the blockchain thereby improving the operational capabilities of the Bitcoin network my manifold times.
The mainnet release of the Lightning Network has shown a rapid progress since the start of the year. Recently, Laszlo Hanyecz, the man who first purchased two pizzas in 2010 by paying 20,000 BTC has made history again by buying two more pizzas, this time making the payment demonstrating the use of the Lightning Network.