As bitcoin heads into July, the protocol stands on the cusp of major changes to its code.
The result of years of heated discussion on how to expand the capabilities of bitcoin for greater transaction volumes, two key proposals now stand on the verge of potentially disrupting or upgrading the network.
While generally described as a "civil war," the battle over bitcoin's technical roadmap is more nuanced.
Yet, that's not to say there couldn't be real consequences.
To help readers understand this turbulent time, we're assembling content, both new and old, to serve as a guide to the debate and a real-time way to track news and updates.
In the days to come, we'll be updating this post as a resource. We're happy to consider collaborations and improvements as we seek to inform the world about changes and movements in bitcoin code.
The Big Picture
"Either the $40bn economic network ... is on the verge of the biggest change in its history, or the most advanced scaling compromise is headed toward its biggest political failure."
Penned by CoinDesk's Pete Rizzo and Alyssa Hertig, our overview piece helps frame the debate, introducing key concepts and timelines.
For a more detailed overview, we've also compiled a chart of major timelines and outcomes.
Other media outlets have since offered their takes on the situation ahead. Below, is a list of our favorites.
- Bloomberg – Bitcoin Risks Splintering as Civil War Enters Critical Month
- The Next Web – Your Ultimate Guide to the Upcoming Fork That’s Splitting the Bitcoin Community
Guides & Explainers
Along the way, we'll release new guides and explainers aimed at taking high-level looks at some of the more granular aspects of the code proposals.
The most widely supported (and most controversial proposal), Segwit2x has perhaps the greatest chance of being activated.
In this explainer piece, Alyssa Hertig outlines (in simple terms) what the proposal aims to do, what inspired it and how it works.
In response to perceptions miners and startups are pushing their view on the bitcoin roadmap, some users have threatened revolt.
Here, Alyssa Hertig explains the proposal and its possible implications.
A complement to Segwit2x, BIP 91 may well end up mediating between the two proposals.
Here, Alyssa Hertig and Bailey Reutzel outline how it works, who's running the code and what will happen if (and when) it goes live.
- Bitcoin Magazine – Countdown to Segregated Witness: Dates to Keep an Eye On
Analysis & Opinion
Once you're past the 101, you may want to dive deeper to understand the cultural and intellectual underpinnings of the debate.
Here, Pete Rizzo wades into explaining the influence miners, startups and developers have on bitcoin, exploring what keeps these groups together, as well as the issues keeping them at odds.
This isn't to say the scaling debate is a new story.
In fact, disagreements have gone on so long, many have feared (or hoped) they would never come to any head. Here, Alyssa Hertig outlines the reasons why.
But, who doesn't want to scale? It turns out, there might be valid and well-reasoned arguments for this outlook.
- Jimmy Song – Why a Bitcoin Divorce Will Be Really Painful
- Jameson Lopp – Bitcoin and the Benefits of 'Coopetition'
Disclosure: CoinDesk is a subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which helped organize the Segwit2x agreement.
Image via Alex Sunnarborg for CoinDesk