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.
 

Intel to Apply Blockchain Mining to Genetic Sequencing

Intel intends to utilize the energy expended during cryptocurrency mining for the sequencing of genetic data
15 December

Yesterday the U.S. Patent released a patent application called "Blockchain System with Nucleobase Sequencing as Proof of Work". In the application Intel’s inventors describe a type of computer called a sequence mining platform (SMP) which would identify the order or nucleobases in a deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) or ribonucleic acid (RNA).

Nucleobases are the molecules that make up DNA and RNA, which contain the genetic information within every living organism on the planet. The order of these bases determines what physical traits a person, plant or animal features.

The patent application states that the SMP would use a nucleobase sequencing unit to actually establish the order of nucleobases in a given sample, which would then be verified by the blockchain before being permanently recorded on it.

The POW algorithm will be used to both identify the sequence and subsequently verify it, according to the application, and the sequence recorded on one block would be used as a base for the POW problems in the next block.