Bitcoin or Bitcoin2x? News & Guides to Navigate November's Fork

CoinDesk
Oct 30, 2017 at 17:58 UTC
FEATURE

For bitcoin, November is a step into the unknown.

Despite its steadily increasing price, not to mention a growing acknowledgment from the financial mainstream, the technical roadmap for the cryptocurrency has never been so hotly contested.

After years of debate on the best path forward, a new code proposal called Segwit2x is set to put the cryptocurrency – the world's largest by value – to the test. And while it boasts significant support from miners and businesses, it remains unclear whether the new code will change bitcoin's rules, or if another new cryptocurrency will be created (one already being branded bitcoin2x by some).

Quite simply, there's never been a larger change to the platform, nor one that has been the subject of such criticism and scrutiny.

And it might not be all free money. As developers are keen to note, this is bleeding-edge science; in short, we're in uncharted territory, and if past forks are any indication, decisions could lead to consequences – for users, investors and the market at large.

To help readers navigate the upcoming hard fork, CoinDesk is assembling our best content on the issue, allowing readers new and old to get up to speed in real-time.

Segwit2x explained

So, what exactly is Segwit2x? And how does it work?

First thing's first, it's both a proposal that seeks to change bitcoin's technology and a formal written agreement reached between certain parties interested in that change.

In CoinDesk's official explainer, we'll walk you through the basics: from how the protocol works to why Segwit2x represents something we haven't quite seen in the world of blockchain.

Understanding Segwit2x: Why Bitcoin's Next Fork Might Not Mean Free Money

Who supports who?

Now that you're caught up, we can dive into the dissent.

As an open platform, bitcoin thrives on the "co-opetition" between various parties. But as the following articles show, this delicate balance has been thrown into discord.

Developers

An open-source protocol, bitcoin relies on a group of volunteer and startup-sponsored developers to fix bugs, propose changes and maintain operations.

As such, it may be particularly noteworthy that on the subject of Segwit2x, members of this group continue to maintain that they're emphatically not involved. Back in May they protested widely, and as our recent reporting shows, not much has changed.

Bitcoin 'Battle'? Core Developers Apathetic as Segwit2x Fork Approaches

Miners

The large companies that operate the machinery required to solve bitcoin's puzzles and approve its transactions, miners are a more evasive bunch.

Originally supportive of the move, that confidence may now be waning. Notable here is the decision-making role miners play, and how this indecision could contribute to November's results.

Split or No Split? Bitcoin Miners See No Certainty in Segwit2x Fork

Startups

The group that's seemingly put the most weight behind the change, startups use the bitcoin protocol to offer services to customers. In this way, they've perhaps had the most direct relationship with the technology, paying its fees and building infrastructure on its code.

Startups remain optimistic changes to the blockchain will correct concerns around scalability, though as new statements show, they're preparing for worst-case outcomes.

Free Market Forks? Bitcoin Startups Love the Idea But Brace for Reality

Further reading:

The opinions

As shown above, the fork is a divisive issue.

But, that's not to say there haven't been attempts that aspire to look at the situation analytically in an attempt to find a less impassioned perspective and those that don't attempt to do this at all.

Below, we provide a notable selection of reactions and takes that have added to, or helped to represent, aspects of the discussion.

Bitcoin's New Scaling 'Agreement': The Reaction

Further reading:

The backstory

Of course, there's a deep history at play here.

Discussions have gotten taken out of context and arguments have turned fiery, leading to some confusion in the market over who's right and who's wrong, if there's even a direct answer there.

While both sides generally want the same thing – bitcoin to be used by more people – the sides argue whether that's a near-term or longer-term problem.

Still totally lost? Well, you're in good company...

Nobody Understands Bitcoin (And That's OK)

Further reading:

Disclosure: CoinDesk is a subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which helped organize the Segwit2x agreement.

Image via Alex Sunnarborg for CoinDesk

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is an independent media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. Interested in offering your expertise or insights to our reporting? Contact us at news@coindesk.com.

BitcoinHard ForksSegWit2xSegwit2xWatchBitcoin2x

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