Segregated Witness (SegWit) is special.
And it’s not just because the bitcoin code change is focused on scaling the network (it is), or that it paves the way for a fresh layer for the tech that is potentially faster and more economical (it will).
Finally activated last August after months of controversy, SegWit is now spurring developers to collect a more structured, “themed” release for the software, an unusual development for the group behind the world’s earliest and most valuable cryptocurrency network.
Most of the time when Bitcoin Core introduces adjustments to this cryptocurrency’s code, the set of volunteer developers combine optimizations that are disparate together. However, this coming code launch, 0.16.0, the sixteenth “major release” because bitcoin started, is a bit different.
Set to launch the updates all revolve round SegWit – together with most focusing on making it much easier to send SegWit-style transactions from the software’s default option.
So, while the first software rollout of SegWit was all about making sure the network knew the rules, 0.16.0 is all about making it possible for users to make the most of their benefits.
Bitcoin Core contributor Andrew Chow informed:
This lets users to easily create SegWit addresses.”
Toward that goal, Chow clarified that SegWit features have been added to also the wallet user interface and the control line set, so both developers and non-programmers can utilize it.
Chaincode Lab engineer and Bitcoin Core contributor Marco Falke noted that although it was possible to make SegWit addresses in prior wallet versions, the process has been “rather hacky” and “mostly hidden.”
Now, though SegWit addresses will be the default option, meaning that addresses are automatically compatible with the scaling attribute.
According to Falke, “That is the most exciting part of the release.”
Together with SegWit addresses being made wallet users must experience lower fees. And progress there could have broader implications.
Bitcoin Core first introduced SegWit at November 2016, and the conflict that followed prompted some applications users to support a rival cryptocurrency that did away with it entirely. (Called bitcoin cash, the network’s fans have long argued that bigger blocks, where more space is allocated for transactions, is the key to lower prices.)
And according to Chow, one benefit of the SegWit address format is that fees are a bit lower, although he acknowledged that since the arrangement is so new, most wallets do not currently support it.
Chow said that other pieces of the release give users more flexibility over their Bitcoin Core wallet. By way of example, users can store their wallets, or keys, in a different information directory if they want to.
For the more tech-minded, check out the release notes for more details.
Long time coming
Stepping back, the launch could also help with SegWit’s occasionally troubled messaging, as its adoption was perhaps slower than anticipated by advocates.
Because even some major businesses have yet to embrace it, while upgrading the code of a software program that was international perhaps should be a fast process, users have complained.
With this background in mind of consumer anticipation and impatience, many may be amazed that it’s taken Bitcoin Core so long to include support in its wallet for the transaction type. But developers contend there are a couple reasons for the delay.
First, the team says it wanted to observe SegWit really worked on the network for a bit in case there were security vulnerabilities or issues, said Chow. Secondly, politics turned into a distraction.
While the software release before this one, 0.15.1, was supposed to boost the wallet’s aid of SegWit, developers assert a proposed alternative bitcoin software launch, scheduled for November 2016, is partly blame for slowing the focus and redirecting efforts.