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Privacy-Focused Samourai: Bitcoin Users Should Activate Segwit If Miners Won’t

Last Updated March 4, 2021 4:55 PM
Joseph Young
Last Updated March 4, 2021 4:55 PM

Samourai, the development team that consists of privacy activists building an open source bitcoin wallet platform called Samourai Wallet, recently encouraged users to stand for Bitcoin Core’s Segregated Witness (Segwit) and work toward activating it if the miners continue to reject the solution for unjustified reasons.

On April 9, the Samourai team stated: 

“We support & encourage bitcoin users to take a stand & activate Segwit if the miners won’t. SW [Samourai Wallet] nodes now signal intent for BIP 148 and user activated soft fork (UASF).”

BIP 148, the Bitcoin Improvement Proposal supported by Samourai along with many other wallet platforms and companies within the bitcoin industry, is a proposal entitled “Mandatory activation of segwit deployment” which was drafted by Shaolin Fry in early March with the intent of pushing a user-supported soft fork.

In other words, instead of relying on miners to allocate their hashrate and come to a consensus, which seems highly unlikely at this point in time, BIP 148 allows users to lead a mandatory activation of Segwit. Fry noted: 

“Segwit increases the block size, fixes transaction malleability, and makes scripting easier to upgrade as well as bringing many other benefits. It is hoped that miners will respond to this BIP by activating segwit early, before this BIP takes effect. Otherwise this BIP will cause the mandatory activation of the existing segwit deployment before the end of midnight November 15th 2017.”

Why Some Bitcoin Institutions & Businesses are Pushing UASF

It has become more evident that several major miners would rather leave certain exploitations in Bitcoin including transaction malleability and the possibility of covert ASICBOOST usage unresolved than implementing an efficient block size increase and two-layer technology infrastructure building solution in Segwit.

Regardless of the efforts of the Bitcoin Core development team, other developers within the open source development community of bitcoin and large businesses including Coinbase and Blockchain to encourage the activation of Segwit due to its ability to increase the current bitcoin block size by at least 3x, Bitcoin Unlimited supporters such as Antpool, the world’s largest mining pool, have been quite vocal about their support for the Bitcoin Unlimited software.

To this date, the intent and motive of Bitcoin Unlimited supporting businesses and mining pools remain unclear. Some experts have presented the possibility of covert usage of ASICBOOST as one of the potential reasons behind some mining pools’ excessive support for Bitcoin Unlimited. If this is the case, compromising and activating Segwit could lead to the loss of tens of millions of dollars in annual revenue.

Several other analysts have explained that some mining pools based in China are under the assumption that two-layer solutions such as the Lightning network lead to decreased revenues for miners. Rationally, the presence of a two-layer solution like Lightning would actually lead to the increase of miner revenue as previously undisclosed transactions made in off-chain private blockchains of exchanges and companies would be settled via a Lightning chain and as a result, miners would be incentivized accordingly for it.

An increasing number of development teams, businesses, organizations and experts have become more outspoken on the Segwit and Bitcoin Unlimited debate. With the emergence of certain solutions such as BIP 148, the likelihood of Segwit activation has become relatively higher than before.

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