A group of bitcoin miners constituting close to 80% of the network hashrate, as well representatives from exchanges, service providers and contributors to the Bitcoin Core development project, have proposed a development timeline for scaling the bitcoin network.
Some of the letter's signatories were party to a previous statement that voiced opposition to any "contentious hard fork" to the bitcoin network.
According the proposed timeline, Bitcoin Core contributors Matt Corallo, Luke Dashjr, Cory Fields, Johnson Lau and Peter Todd will produce and recommend code for a hard fork to the bitcoin network that would feature a block size increase. The code for this proposal is expected to be made available by July.
This proposal would be presented three months after the release of Segregated Witness, a proposed change to bitcoin's code that alters the way in which bitcoin transaction signature data is stored.
Representatives for miners AntPool, A-XBT, BitFury, Bitmain, BTCC, BW, F2Pool, GHash.io and Genesis Mining have agreed to support Segregated Witness, expected to be released in April. According to data from Blockchain.info, the larger miners on the list of signatories have produced roughly 80% of all blocks in recent days.
The group went on to say that, following approval by the volunteer Bitcoin Core team and a show of "strong community support", it would support the deployment of that hard fork - a change to the network that would require users to download new software in order to stay compatible - with activation taking place sometime "around July 2017".
The statement reads:
"This hard-fork is expected to include features which are currently being discussed within technical communities, including an increase in the non-witness data to be around 2 MB, with the total size no more than 4 MB, and will only be adopted with broad support across the entire Bitcoin community."
Further, the statement indicated that the signatories would, for now, only use production versions of the Core software.
"We will only run Bitcoin Core-compatible consensus systems, eventually containing both SegWit and the hard-fork, in production, for the foreseeable future," it said.
This reflects a change from a previous version of the statement published online that featured stronger language in the commitment to use Core over other alternatives. Later removed, it said that the group would "not run Bitcoin Classic", a reference to the alternative implementation released earlier this month that includes code for a transaction block size increase to 2 megabyte (MB) versus the current 1 MB per block.
A full list of signatories can be found here.
Image Credit: Alex Petrov