Every project would need scaling if there is more traffic. But this comes with limitations inherent from the initial design. Bitcoin has seen scalability limitations due to its widespread application.
Scalability is a challenge for any blockchain. Bitcoin is no exception. The Bitcoin block size is about 1MB after every 10 minutes. 1MB every 10 minutes means it takes longer to approve large transactions.
It’s for this reason developer Pieter Wuille developed SegWit. The solution to the volumes of transactions carried out by a block.
So, in June 2017, a Bitcoin improvement proposal was released. The plan had the SegWit software component. Two months later, Bitcoin network reached a consensus on the adoption of the Segregated Witness (SegWit).
Why SegWit ? We take a look.
What is SegWit?
SegWit is the process of removing signature data from Bitcoin transactions. This signature data removal will increase the block size limit on a blockchain.
Bitcoin developer Pieter Wuille develops the idea. The aim of SegWit is separate transaction signatures. Separating transaction signatures will remove some bits of the transaction. Thus, freeing up space and adding more operations to the chain.
Why is it an Improvement?
The Bitcoin blockchain is a peer-peer network distributed across multiple systems. Each System is called a node. Any transactions carried on any node are duplicated across the other nodes. This eliminates the threat of hacking. However, more transactions lead to scalability issues with bitcoin.
Pieter Wuille, suggested then that to solve this challenge, transactional data and digital signature are to be separated. According to information by Bitcoin, 65% of the space of a transaction data is linked to a digital signature. SegWit tries to ignore this data associated with the digital signature. This will improve the limit from 1MB to about 4MB.
Besides, SegWit will tackle the challenge of a receiver will intercept and modify the sender’s transactional ID. A receiver will receive from the sender coins paid for.
Long Term or Short Term
In all its advantages, developers have called it a short-term solution. According to SegWit Core, “The Segregated Witness soft-fork (segwit) includes a wide range of features, many of which are highly technical.”
Thus, for long-term scalability solution, SegWit will be combined with other solutions like Lightening Network. The two ideas will be synergistic and offer the perfect solution to Bitcoin transactions.
What Has been Achieved so far with SegWit
As recently as Feb 2018, the Bitcoin Core development team released version 0.16.0 of Bitcoin Core. This software upgrade is relevant for SegWit implementation. The Version 0.16.0 comes with full support for Segwit in the wallet and user interfaces.
Every solution to a problem is going to hurt some people hard. Thus, SegWit continues to receive opposition from big companies in Bitcoin-like Bitrated and Bitonic. In their view, increasing volumes will take them from the mining business.
To date, not everything about SegWit is hacked. There is still opposition to get through and improvement of the software to make it even better. But, till now it is proving a potential life hack for bitcoin investors as they can perform more transaction volumes.