The latest distribution of Bitcoin Core, now at version 0.16.0, has made the formal move of adopting full Segregated Witness (SegWit) support.
The update description of Bitcoin Core’s Github repository elaborates that “Bitcoin Core 0.16.0 introduces full support for SegWit in the wallet and user interfaces”.
In a statement to CoinTelegraph, Bitcoin Core developer Jimmy Song offered his view that the move brings with it wider ramifications for users around the world, quipping that “Native SegWit support (bech32) is going to get much more adoption as a result of this update. This will reduce block bloat and encourage more wallets in the ecosystem to adopt bech32.”
The introduction of SegWit marks reduced transaction times for end users following the activation of the proposal in August of 2017; despite the introduction of the technology at that point, few Bitcoin wallets and payment providers have speedily adopted SegWit in earnest.
What is SegWit?
SegWit – short for Segregated Witness – is a proposal that was put forward by Bitcoin Core’s development team and was adopted through a fork on the 1st of August in 2017.
SegWit essentially introduces a new transaction format for blocks of information stored in the blockchain; ‘witnesses’, namely the sender, receiver, and signatures stored in a block constitute a large part (nearly 65%) of a total transaction size.
To combat this – and to minimize the size of blocks – SegWit essentially restructures information within a block to move signature or ‘witness’ data towards the end of the unit as separate (or ‘segregated’) to transaction data. This amounts to an increase in block size from 1-megabyte to a little under 4-megabytes, allowing more transaction data to be recorded within a block in the first place.
The introduction of SegWit could essentially ‘pack’ more transactions per block, enabling miners to verify transactions more speedily and breaking up congestion that occurs during hours or days of peak traffic.
Importantly, the update is forward-compatible, and is being developed in conjunction with ‘second-layer’ solutions, such as the Lightning Network, that could facilitate transactions ‘on top’ of the blockchain through payment channels that could be opened and closed at will.
Have your say!
What are your thoughts? Could the fact that Bitcoin Core’s client now supports SegWit lead to other wallet and payment providers doing the same? Be sure to let us know your opinion on Twitter – join the conversation @coininsidercom!