Breaking Bitcoin Shows No Love for the SegWit2x Hard Fork in Paris

“There’s no such thing as a safe hard fork,” Electrum lead developer Thomas Voegtlin corrected an audience member at the Breaking Bitcoin conference in Paris last weekend. “I would recommend to have replay protection, of course,” he added.

Community support for SegWit2x, the Bitcoin scaling proposal spearheaded by Barry Silbert’s Digital Currency Group, was virtually absent in Paris. Whenever the “2x” part of the New York Agreement was discussed in the French capital, speakers and visitors overwhelmingly considered it a risk to defend against — not a proposal to help succeed.

Electrum users, for example, will not blindly follow hash power in case of a chain-split, Voegtlin explained throughout his talk; instead, they’ll be able to choose which side of such a split they want to be on. And importantly, the lightweight wallet will implement security measures to prevent users from accidentally spending funds on both chains: “replay protection” that seems unlikely to be implemented on a protocol level if SegWit2x does fork off.

“We are ready,” Voegtlin said. “If [SegWit2x] doesn’t include replay protection, the fork detection we have in Electrum will be useful.”

Breaking Bitcoin

Inspired by the successful Scaling Bitcoin conference format, the French Bitcoin community hosted the first edition of Breaking Bitcoin two blocks from the Eiffel Tower last weekend. Bitcoin developers, academics and other technical-minded Bitcoiners gathered for a diverse program, but with the common denominator being Bitcoin’s security.

“For the past two years, the Bitcoin community has been obsessing with scale and scalability,” Kevin Loaec, managing director at Chainsmiths and co-organizer of the event, told Bitcoin Magazine. “But I’m not so worried about scale, I’m worried about mining centralization, a lack of privacy and fungibility … these kinds of things. As an industry we need to recognize there are more challenges than just scalability; hopefully this conference reflects that.”

Must READ:   Bitcoin could threaten financial stability: US Fed official | Business

Whereas the first Scaling Bitcoin conference two years ago was a very specific reaction to a looming block size limit increase hard fork — then put forth by Bitcoin XT — this wasn’t necessarily the motivation behind Breaking Bitcoin. Yet, once again, a controversial hard fork is looming on the horizon. This time imbedded in the BTC1 implementation developed by Bloq co-founder Jeff Garzik, the New York Agreement’s SegWit2x is scheduled to increase Bitcoin’s “base block size limit” to two megabytes by November — an incompatible protocol change that could split the Bitcoin network in two.

And it did not take much to recognize how unpopular the proposal was in Paris. Perhaps most vividly, Italian Bitcoin startup ChainSide led a protest campaign by distributing NO2X stickers; the Twitter hashtag was proudly added as a piece of flair to the by now well-known Make Bitcoin Great Again and UASF hats. And voices critical of the project — like Voegtlin and his call for replay protection — could consistently count on rounds of applause. From a technical perspective, the proposal is often considered — quite frankly — to be reckless.

“Unfortunately, SegWit2x […] was designed to effectively be as disruptive to the minority chain,” MyRig engineer and BIP91 author James Hilliard said on stage during the miner panel.

SegWit2x: The Arguments

Arguments against the 2x hard fork are diverse.

Perhaps its biggest problem, SegWit2x currently lacks basic safety measures to prevent unsuspecting users from losing funds. This includes, most importantly, the aforementioned replay protection, but a new address format would be similarly helpful.

Additionally, the three-month lead time for this specific hard fork is considered extremely short — assuming the goal is to prevent a chain-split in the first place. “If you ask any of the developers, they will typically want to see 18 months or two years lead time, for something with as wide an impact on all the software and hardware out there as a hard fork,” Blockstream co-founder and Hashcash inventor Dr. Adam Back noted during a Q&A session.

Must READ:   SEC Subpoenas Shepherd ICOs Towards A+ Regulation

And if the chain does split into different networks and currencies — one following the current Bitcoin protocol and one adopting the hard fork — the question becomes which of the two gets to use the name “Bitcoin.” So far, proponents of the SegWit2x hard fork have shown no willingness to pick a new name.

This branding issue, Bitcoin Core contributor and Ciphrex co-founder Eric Lombrozo pointed out, provides yet another point of controversy.

“My personal opinion is that whomever is proposing the change, the onus is on them to demonstrate widespread support,” Lombrozo said during his talk on protocol changes. “The people that want to keep status quo don’t need to show anything. It’s the people who want to change the stuff that actually need to demonstrate there is widespread support.”

And for now, not everyone is convinced that SegWit2x does indeed have this level of support — or anything close to it. While several large mining pools, as well as a significant number of companies, have signed on to the New York Agreement, this agreement was itself drafted without any feedback from Bitcoin’s technical community nor — even more important — a reliable gauge of user sentiment.

And while some Bitcoin companies claim to represent their customers, this is — once again — not taken for granted by everyone.

“One debate I want to draw attention to,” venture capitalist Alyse Killeen pointed out, “is the debate whether businesses speak for their users. I think this is probably a debate you would only see now in this space because it’s pretty well established that businesses outside of this space do not speak for users, but it’s a debate we still have in our community. Of course they don’t.”

Must READ:   From Messengers to Food Reviews, Companies Incorporate Blockchain into Apps


If Breaking Bitcoin in Paris can be considered at all representative of SegWit2x’s community support — which, it should be noted, is not necessarily the case — the proposal will face an uphill battle to be widely accepted in November.

Indeed, some signatories of the agreement are not so sure about the hard fork anymore: Bitwala and F2Pool have publicly backed out of the agreement. And, during a mining panel in Paris, Bitfury CIO Alex Petrov ever so slightly opened the door to potentially withdrawing support as well, if both the original and the 2x chain manage to survive.

In fact, it’s not just that contentious hard forks are considered a threat to be defended against by Bitcoin’s technical community. It goes beyond that.

In the words of Bitcoin developer Jimmy Song, at the conclusion of his opening talk of the event:

“What doesn’t kill Bitcoin makes it stronger. And conferences like this prove that we’re getting better at this. We’re getting immunized to all these hard forks, and it’s creating a better Bitcoin as a result, and that’s a very good thing. We’re securing against a lot of these attacks, and figuring out ways to mitigate these threats.”

Image courtesy of Federico Tenga

35 Replies to “Breaking Bitcoin Shows No Love for the SegWit2x Hard Fork in Paris”

  1. The other day, while I was at work, my sister stole my apple ipad and tested to see if it can survive a 30 foot drop, just so she can be a youtube sensation. My apple ipad is now destroyed and she has 83 views. I know this is entirely off topic but I had to share it with someone!

  2. You’re completely correct. I really enjoyed looking through this article and I will certainly get back for more immediately. My own website is on the subject of wealth generators review, you can take a look if you’re still interested in this.

  3. After I initially commented I seem to have clicked the -Notify me
    when new comments are added- checkbox and from now on whenever a comment
    is added I recieve 4 emails with the same comment. Is there a way you can remove me from
    that service? Thank you!

  4. I’m impressed, I ought to say. Seriously hardly ever do I encounter a blog that’s each educative and entertaining, and let me let you know, you have got hit the nail on the head. Your thought is outstanding; the issue is some thing that not enough folks are speaking intelligently about. I’m pretty pleased that I stumbled across this in my search for some thing relating to this.

  5. My partner and I really enjoy your site and find the vast majority of your articles to be what precisely I’m looking for. Do you offer guest writers to post information for you? I wouldn’t mind publishing an article on insta followers and likes or possibly on a few of the things you’re posting about on this page. Again, awesome page!

  6. I totally enjoy your site and find nearly all of the articles to be exactly what I am seeking. Do you offer guest writers to write material for you? I wouldn’t mind publishing a post regarding jailbreak phone or even on most of the subjects you are writing about here. Nice information site!

  7. My family and I definitely like your site and find a lot of the blogposts to be what precisely I am in need of. Do you offer other people to write articles for you? I wouldn’t mind writing a piece of text on nrm jobs or possibly on many of the topics you’re writing about on this page. Nice information site!

  8. Al Hadi AC Refrigration and Repairing is committed to giving your ACs a new lease of life. We have a team of experienced professionals which has serviced more than a 1000 units, much to the satisfaction of our clients. The effort at Al Hadi has always been to service a call in the shortest span of time and to close it with a happy client. The referrals we get is a testimony to our work. Try our services today!

  9. I felt amazing reading this info and I feel you’re completely correct. Let me know in the event that you are interested in real estate jobs, that is my major competence. Hope to hear from you in the near future, be careful!

  10. My spouse and I absolutely adore your blog and find a majority of the content to be just what I’m in need of. Do you offer guest writers to write information for you? I would not mind producing a story about proper inhaler technique or possibly on some of the things you are writing about on this site. Awesome information site!

  11. Dr.Punnet and her Teams are really a great cheater in Delhi for IVF, initially they say we will provide world best technology but after getting all money they all can’t do any thing and again repeat cycle or again take money for evry cycle same money, they all are playing with the emotions of allots of couples, God will never forgive you Dr. Puneet. this is very bad clinic, this is only earning money nothing else, avoid this doctor, try in AIIMS, GANGA RAM ANY OTHER Government hospitals are better, all private IVF centre are cheaters, maainly Dr. Puneet is great cheater in Delhi.

  12. Aw, this was a really nice post. In concept I wish to put in writing like this additionally – taking time and precise effort to make a very good article… but what can I say… I procrastinate alot and by no means seem to get one thing done.

  13. I am really enjoying the theme/design of your website. Do you ever run into any internet browser compatibility problems? A few of my blog visitors have complained about my blog not operating correctly in Explorer but looks great in Chrome. Do you have any tips to help fix this problem?

  14. Admiring the dedication you put into this blog and detailed details you offer. It really is amazing to find a blogging site every now and then that is just not the same expired re-written stuff. Awesome read! We have saved your website and I am including the RSS feeds to our sports today blog.

  15. Are you tired of your ac repair in Dubai? Are you looking for Certified Professionals to carry out your ac repair with improved facilities and in an expert way?. Hot and humid conditions are not easy to tolerate, especially when you are not used to them. But, thanks to the air conditioners – living in such extreme settings can also become a pleasant experience, and more so if you are in Dubai.

  16. Many thanks for the amazing post! I actually enjoyed learning about.I’ll ensure that I take note of your blog and will often return in the future. I would really like to suggest you to ultimately keep on with the great work, possibly write about leather sofa cleaning service too, have a fantastic morning!

  17. You are certainly right and I definitely understand you. When you want, we can as well speak about ms excel tutorial, something that fascinates me. The site is fantastic, regards!

  18. Greetings! This is my very first comment on your site so I really wanted to give a quick hello and say I really enjoy reading through your posts. Can you recommend any other websites which go over architectural house plans? I am as well pretty keen on that! Thanks for your time!

  19. I’m extremely inspired with your writing abilities as smartly
    as with the layout to your weblog. Is that this a paid theme or did you modify it your self?
    Either way keep up the excellent high quality writing, it is uncommon to peer a great blog like this one nowadays..

  20. ANPC is a free nation for and by the living men and women of the earth. This Private Nation is a grassroots association based out of Indonesia having its own International Charter, Peace Treaty, Constitution, Rules of conduct and has adopted the Declaration of Human Rights. These Treaties have been Registered by International Notice to the Hague and World Court as well as other agencies worldwide. The entire goal and mission of ANPC is WORLD PEACE and freedom for all the nationals of the world, focusing on a peaceful gathering together of all tribes and nations. Our living men and women are to live as Peaceful Inhabitants on the land, striving always to create a better world today and for future generations.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *