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8-Hour Miner Meeting Ends With Litecoin Scaling Agreement

(@pete_rizzo_) | Published on April 21, 2017 at 15:05 BST
News

Litecoin's scaling debate may be coming to an end.

A group of miners and exchanges is throwing support behind a new proposal, an agreement that follows weeks of increasingly acrimonious debate over whether the technical upgrade would be enacted on the litecoin network, the fourth-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization.

Backed also by the cryptocurrency's creator, Coinbase employee Charlie Lee, the statement endorses a "Segregated Witness soft fork on Litecoin", which would bring a scaling upgrade first proposed for bitcoin to litecoin, most likely sooner than it could be activated on the bitcoin blockchain.

According to organizer and litecoin community member 'PZ', the meeting was held on WeChat for over eight hours, from 12pm to 8pm Beijing Standard Time today.

Created by bitcoin's development team, the SegWit upgrade has long been lauded for the creative way it seeks to increase transaction capacity without needing to alter hard-coded block size rules. Litecoin, like bitcoin, also has a 1 MB cap on the total capacity of transactions per block, and as such, it faces similar scalability constraints long term.

Overall, the statement endorses a collaborative approach and blasts the use of so-called user-activated soft forks, or UASFs, as viable scaling alternatives.

The post reads:

"We agree that protocol upgrade should be made under community consensus, and should not be unilateral action of developers nor miners. We advocate that Litecoin protocol upgrade decision should be made based on the needs of the users, through the roundtable meeting voting process, and activated by miner voting."

Miners backing the proposal include Bitmain (Antpool), BW.com, BATPool, F2Pool and LTC1BTC – a combination that represents roughly 68% of the hashrate. That number rises to approximately 84% if you include LTC.top, which is reportedly controlled by the same owners as LTC1BTC according to the meeting's organizer.

Notable among the participants, however, is Bitmain, which threw its support behind a potential block size increase as well in the future – provided that capacity usage rises over a certain threshold.

Speaking to CoinDesk, Bitmain co-founder Jihan Wu confirmed he was personally in attendance at the meeting, despite his long opposition to the same upgrade on the bitcoin network. He said that it was the combination of SegWit, with a promise to support on-chain scaling solutions, that ultimately led Bitmain to back the proposal.

"Charlie [Lee] promised to provide solution of increasing the block size when it is half full," he said.

Going forward, it's unclear how quickly the capacity upgrade could be enacted on litecoin. Miners will now need to signal for the upgrade by downloading the latest software that includes support for SegWit.

More than 75% will need to signal for the upgrade, and this figure will need to be held for two weeks, according to the original proposal, published with the software in January.

"When the usage of litecoin block capacity is over 50%, we will start to prepare for a solution to increase the 1 MB block size limit through a hard fork or soft fork," the statement reads.

According to organizers, efforts are being made to bring other parties and stakeholders within the group, including exchange services Bitstamp, BTC-e, Bitfinex and Poloniex.

Stan Higgins contributed reporting.

Agreement image via Shutterstock

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