Segwit2x working group unveils hard fork plan

Segwit2x working group has announced hard fork roadmap
10 August

Segregated Witness 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. 

Now, SegWit has locked-in and the Segwit2x working group has announced its roadmap for the next several months. The team of developers have detailed they are going forward with the 2MB block size increase that miners and businesses agreed upon at the New York Agreement.

During the month of November 2017, approximately 90 days after the activation of Segregated Witnesses in the Bitcoin blockchain, a block between 1MB and 2MB in size will be generated by Bitcoin miners in a move to increase network capacity. At this point it is expected that more than 90% of the computational capacity that secures the Bitcoin network will carry on mining on top of this large block.

Jean-Pierre Rupp
Segwit2x developer and functional programmer

According to the announcement, the upgrade to 2MB blocks has been agreed first during the Bitcoin Roundtable Consensus in Hong-Kong on February 2016, and then ratified by the Bitcoin Scaling Agreement in New York on May 2017. These agreements stipulate the activation of Segregated Witness support and an increase of the maximum block size from 1MB to 2MB.

As the working group claims, now that Segwit has locked-in, the ecosystem should update to Segwit-compatible software if they want to benefit from the protocol. The announcement also explains “readiness” preparation for the fork including port changes, network changes, DNS seeds, and the Segwit2x “Testnet5.”  

The November 2017 upgrade to 2MB blocks is a hard-fork, but necessary changes are trivial to perform. Some SPV clients are expected to work without any change at all. Most clients will need to tweak only two constants to remain compatible with the new larger blocks.

Jean-Pierre Rupp
Segwit2x developer and functional programmer

The Segwit2x hard fork is to take place on the block 494,784, while the client will be incompatible with the current version of Bitcoin Core and the software of the node holders that support UASF.

It's worth mentioning that the Segwit2x proposal continues to be criticized by a significant part of the community. The main reason is that it was accepted behind closed doors without broad discussions. In addition, there is already a blockchain with larger blocks (Bitcoin Cash) and the original chain, having successfully survived one shock, hardly needs another one.

Ethereum network is still unstable

Byzantium had executed on Monday, but developers aren't ready to call the software transition complete
18 October

Organizations and developers are better off refraining from launching large projects until the Ethereum network is fully stable after the recent Byzantium update. This is said by the Gavin Wood, Parity Technologies head and reported by the Coindesk.

Since new versions of the software were released just days before the fork, much of the network has not yet been updated. So, at the time of press, slightly more than 25% of Parity customers updated, in Geth this indicator is slightly higher - about 59%. So, in total, the update was made about 45% of the network.

Another aspect that should also be taken into account is the short time for testing. In particular, the developers recalled previous versions of the software, discovering critical errors that could make the network vulnerable to DoS attacks or lead to incompatibility between nodes and, as a consequence, network sharing.

Therefore, the question of how safe the network is at the moment is fully justified and, taking into account what has been said above, remains open. This is exactly what Gavin Wood warned, recommending at this stage to refrain from launching large-scale projects.

In addition to the nodes that have yet to update, there is also a possibility that in the current Byzantium software there may be bugs that endanger the security of the Ethereum network. The most dangerous among them is a bug of consensus, in which nodes can not communicate. Its result can be the separation of the block-man into several incompatible chains.

As far as is known, at the moment developers are conducting extensive tests, trying to detect such bugs before they are active. As Gavin Wood says, if the network does contain such a bug, it will take several days to prove itself.

I don't think anyone believed the network was going to self-combust on block 4,370,000.

Gavin Wood
Head, Parity Technologies

The head of Parity Technologies is also convinced that if problems are discovered, the Ethereum development team will quickly release new updates designed to prevent any harm to the platform.