Where the Super Geeky Digital Currency Guys Dwell (3 min read)

Below is an excerpt from a recent blog post by wintercooled entitled – The Road to Segwit Activation — UASF, Segwit2x and Segwit Signalling Explained. You can read this kind of gobbledygook all over the corner of the web where the super geeky digital currency guys dwell right now, why?  because August 1st is fast approaching and important decisions are being made!

“On August 1st if Segwit itself is not already at the status of locked-in or activated, any node running the BIP 148 code will begin orphaning blocks that do not signal for Segwit using bit 1. The first block to not signal using bit 1 after the UASF code activates will cause a chain split. The non-UASF (or ‘legacy’) chain — with its mix of Segwit signalling and non-signalling blocks — will diverge from the UASF ‘Segwit signalling only’ chain.”

In my continued effort to help others (regular humans) understand the importance, and the role that digital currencies are and will play in the future global economy, here i attempt to break down some of the language around one of the current bitcoin scaling issues, and how it’s being dealt with right fricken now!

First! – Gobbledygook

SegWit stands for segregated witness and 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.

BIP 148 is a UASF that is designed to cause the existing SegWit MASF deployment to cause activation in all existing SegWit capable node software. From August 1st, 2017, miners are required to signal readiness for SegWit by creating blocks with the version bit 1. This will cause all SegWit ready nodes, which make up over 80% of the network, to activate and begin enforcement.

Detached or Orphaned blocks are valid blocks which are not part of the main chain. They can occur naturally when two miners produce blocks at similar times or they can be caused by an attacker (with enough hashing power) attempting to reverse transactions.

A node is any computational device on the bitcoin network with a complete copy of the blockchain and refers to a “full” client. A “full” client is a client that owns the block chain and that is sharing blocks and transaction across the network.

UASF stands for User Activated Soft Fork. It’s a mechanism where the activation time of a soft fork occurs on a specified date enforced by full nodes, a concept sometimes referred to as the economic majority. A UASF requires a lot of industry support and coordination, which is good practice for eventual hard forks which requires even more industry coordination.

Consensus is a Bitch

This all goes to the very heart of the current bitcoin scaling debate, (which has waged for nearly 2 years by the way – consensus is a bitch) Being of course super intrigued by this rather large development in the network, it was of course (like all peeps in the space) up to me to self educate.

– THAT MEANS READING FROM NOT ONLY A WIDE SOURCE OF MATERIAL – BUT THE RIGHT SOURCES ALSO –

Great Rich! but what are the right sources? For me i recommend putting mobile twitter notifications on for people you trust in the space. I tend to trust this twitter account to deliver accurate information/thoughts/ideas when it comes to digital currency. Why? because he was one of my tutors on the digital currency course i took back in 2013.

As the debate raged over such a long time, it left plenty of time to learn about the various paths forward and to try to stay on top of everything but; i try to see it from the outsiders perspective – your perspective. Most of my friends and family don’t use digital currency – indeed the few i have given some small amounts to over the years, have either A. lost their pass phrase for their wallet or B. decided to hibernate their mind to the space and just speculate on the super long term.

There is no problem with holding long term passively, but as you see from BIP148 and indeed future BIPs it’s not always wise to just switch off – Why? – because on the first of August something quite strange will occur, its happened before with Bitcoin, although many do not talk about it – and it happened with Ethereum last year, thanks to one shitty contract; and its about to happen to Bitcoin; the dreaded hard fork!

WTF is a Hard Fork?

As it relates to blockchain technology, a hard fork is a radical change to the protocol that makes previously invalid blocks/transactions valid (or vice-versa), and as such requires all nodes or users to upgrade to the latest version of the protocol software.

Right now it looks increasing likely we will end up with at least one other Bitcoin, if not multiple Bitcoins, not unusual as we already have Bitcoin Classic and Ethereum classic and many others. Come August 1st 2017 a new kid will be in town, from recent chit-chat it appears this new coin will be called Bitcoin Cash  and anyone with a Bitcoin balance at the time of the chain split (Hard Fork) will automagically have a balance on both chains, this is not unusual and did in fact happen last year when Ether Classic split from Ether leaving us with two chains to follow.

Splitting your Coins

The trick is how to obtain and secure your shiny new Bitcoin Cash, there is still no really well designed user friendly way to do this without using an exchange – they tend to do it for you but it means relinquishing control of your Bitcoin while the task is undertaken, fine in small amounts – time consuming and risky in large amounts. There are guides out there for how to do it yourself but that’s beyond this particular posts purpose, you can head here for help splitting your coins, good luck!

Its my goal to reach real people, people that are on the peripheries of the digital currency space, peering in wondering what the heck is going on in there? If i can help those persons get more clarity on the space then i would have done my job. Check out my interviews with real people building real companies in the bitcoin and digital currency space – head to bitjoin.me Did you know! You can now support my video productions by watching on Popchest.

Rich @richtella

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