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Segregated Witness has been added to the bitcoin core code on October 27th, offering a range of advantages like malleability fix and an effective block size limit increase.
SegWit was first proposed by bitcoin core developer, Dr. Pieter Wuille, during the Scaling Bitcoin event in Hong Kong in 2015. He started developing a code in November 2015 together with Johnson Lau, Eric Lombrozo, and other bitcoin developers and completed it in April.
“Segregated Witness is the biggest extension of the protocol to date,” said Lombrozo.
“It’s the most significant improvement to the protocol to date, and lots of exciting innovations become possible as a result,” Lombrozo told Bitcoin Magazine. “We’re going through a period of tremendous innovation in Bitcoin – the greatest innovations since Bitcoin’s inception are taking place right now.”
According to Lombrozo, the SegWit solution has been checked many times. “We’ve done a lot of review, and a lot of testing. We’ve had three dedicated Segregated Witness test networks, and it has been successfully running on Bitcoin’s main testnet since May,” he said.
“Additionally, compact blocks had to be developed and integrated in Bitcoin Core to mitigate latency and bandwidth issues. This was included in the latest version, 0.13.0.”
Earlier, there have been reports that the 0.13.0 version of the bitcoin core might be targeted by government sponsored hackers.
The new Bitcoin Core 0.13.1 has several benefits, including a malleability fix, more flexible programmability, and an effective block size limit increase.
Miners will be able to easily fill blocks while maximizing fee revenues. Besides, this will let users to more accurately calculate the fee needed for the transaction to be mined. It will also be easier for wallet authors to track the status of outgoing transactions that are identified by the transaction identifier (txid).
Those using the distributed ledger system will also benefit from the new Bitcoin Core 0.13.1, as it becomes less difficult to monitor and create smart contracts.
With SegWit adoption, the Lightning Network becomes more efficient and less complicated to implement. As scriptSig and third-party malleability removed, it also becomes possible to run lightweight Lightning clients that outsource monitoring the blockchain, so each Lightning client doesn’t need to be a full bitcoin node.
The activation of SegWit will follow BIP 9 upgrade standards. To activate it, during a period of 2016 blocks about 95% of blocks must be generated by a miner that signals support for SegWit.
Miners can start supporting SegWit on November 15th, what means it could be possibly activated in December.
Meantime, bitcoin’s price continues to grow, reaching more than $700 last week. Moreover, it is expected to achieve $1000 next year due to a number of factors. The growing remittance and investments in digital currency will likely to drive the adoption of bitcoin.