Editorial

Erik Gibbs

Bitcoin Core’s SegWit still not viable a year after being introduced

Many individuals knew more than a year ago that Segregated Witness (SegWit) was a bad idea for Bitcoin Core (BTC), and cryptocurrencies in general. SegWit was one of many reasons crypto enthusiasts pushed for Bitcoin Cash (BCH) to forge ahead as the only digital currency that would adhere to the original design of crypto as offered by Satoshi Nakamoto. Of course, everyone now knows that BCH also strayed from the path, which is why Bitcoin SV exists, but this is a topic for a different day. Now, we’re looking at SegWit and wondering why, over a year after it was going to “rock the crypto world,” it is still floundering, not able to achieve the success its developers anticipated.

SegWit was meant to offer better scaling on the BTC blockchain. Scaling on any crypto network is an important feature to ensure that the network can handle a large amount of transactions simultaneously (which is why BSV proponents are dedicated to improving scaling capabilities). However, in the case of SegWit, things haven’t worked out as planned. According to data pulled from OXT, only 36% of all BTC transactions are conducted over the platform.

One of the reasons why SegWit has not received the support that had been expected is because miners, apparently, simply aren’t – and never were – interested in it. Many never upgraded their systems to allow SegWit to operate, which shows how the majority of those in the BTC ecosystem had been opposed to the change. Despite this, developers still pushed forward, determined that they knew what was best for the network. This is similar to how BCH developers reacted ahead of last November’s hard fork, but I digress once again.

SegWit was going to offer a great reduction in transaction fees, which was one of the other primary reasons it was developed. At the time, BTC transaction fees sometimes topped $20, making a $4 cup of coffee paid in BTC worth $24 – certainly not sustainable. However, transaction fees began following on their own – sans SegWit. Once again, developers were wrong, miners were right.

To be fair, introducing a major change such as SegWit certainly is not an easy task to any operational system. However, if the change is actually shown to be valuable, most would choose to adopt it and make the necessary coding modifications. The fact that the majority of the community didn’t accept the idea should be a message to all developers that perhaps they need to give a little more weight to the opinions of the entire crypto ecosystem, not just those of the coding gurus.

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