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Bitcoin Hard Forks: This is Not the SegWit2x You Are Looking For

Last Updated March 4, 2021 5:03 PM
Josiah Wilmoth
Last Updated March 4, 2021 5:03 PM

In a stunning reversal, the SegWit2x hard fork has been revived from the ash heap and is scheduled to activate on Dec. 28 — or so a group of developers would have us believe.

‘SegWit2x’ Rises From the Ash Heap

As CCN.com reported, SegWit2x would have raised the bitcoin blocksize to 2MB, easing network congestion and helping the network scale. However, despite backing from industry heavyweights including the Digital Currency Group, Coinbase, ShapeShift, and Xapo, the proposal failed to gain consensus, and its leading advocates called off the contentious hard fork in early November to avoid plunging Bitcoin into a civil war.

Now, a month later, a group of developers says they are “reviving” SegWit2x, claiming that transaction costs have made bitcoin “almost impossible to use…as a means of payment.” These developers will activate the hard fork on Dec. 28.

SegWit2x futures surged in response to the announcement and are currently trading at $1,100 — their highest point since Nov. 8.

Source: CoinMarketCap

‘A Perfect Bitcoin’ or an Altcoin in Disguise?

However, a closer look at the SegWit2x (B2X) project reveals that it is not attempting to upgrade the Bitcoin protocol but rather create yet another altcoin that trades on the bitcoin brand.

For starters, the project has a completely different development team than the original proposal, which was led by former Bitcoin Core developer Jeff Garzik.

Furthermore, the developers are implementing replay protection and a unique address structure, which are both tacit admissions that B2X is not Bitcoin — a significant diversion from the posture expressed by advocates for the original SegWit2x proposal.

The B2X network will also feature a premine. According to the project website, developers will seize the airdropped funds belonging to wallets created by Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto. Developers claim these seized funds will be distributed to “those who support the network,” but details on this process are slim.

Finally, the SegWit2x protocol will have entirely different specifications from Bitcoin. The network will be secured using X11 encryption rather than SHA-256, and it will have 2.5-minute blocktimes rather than 10-minute blocktimes like the original network. Difficulty will be recalculated after each block, and the website advertises that zkSNARK technology will be implemented to allow users to make anonymous transactions. Perhaps the most ironic diversion is that, in contrast to the 2MB upgrade advertised by its proposal name, B2X will actually increase the blocksize to 4MB.

Taking these factors into consideration — as well as the rapidity with which the developers have initiated the fork — the community has ample reason to approach this project with skepticism and users should be careful to secure their bitcoins on the BTC blockchain by moving them to a new wallet address before they attempt to interact with the B2X network.

B2X developers did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Update: B2X developers told CCN.com in a comment: “We took the name because our aim is to revive the left behind SegWit2X. Our fork is not an alternative, it’s the same fork that didn’t happen in November but now with the improved functionality, we didn’t have in mind to constrain anyone.”

Write to Josiah Wilmoth at josiah.wilmoth(at)CCN.com.

Featured image from Shutterstock.