The litecoin network appears to be on the cusp of enacting a technical upgrade that would boost the capacity of its network.
At press time, just over 70% of litecoin's miners were signaling support for Segregated Witness, a technical innovation first pitched as a scaling solution for the bitcoin blockchain, but that has not yet seen similar levels of adoption from its miners.
With increasing support, litecoin is now just 5% shy away from achieving the 75% network consensus threshold required for activation. On bitcoin, by contrast, just 31% of miners are signaling that they would support the software upgrade.
Notably, litecoin first began offering miners the ability to flag support for the proposal on 3rd February, nearly three months after the code was released to the bitcoin network.
Going forward, two large mining pools have yet to signal their intention to activate SegWit, and thus could ultimately prove the deciding vote.
LTC1BTC and BW.com comprised nearly 22% of the litecoin network hashrate (12.2% and 9.8%, respectively), at time of writing. This means that only one would need to make the switch in order for SegWit activation to occur, an advent that could add new data to bitcoin's long-stalled scaling debate.
Other mining firms that aren't signaling for the upgrade include Bitmain's Antpool, LTC.Top, WeMineLTC and ProHashing.
The way forward, however, may not be easy.
For one, it seems unlikely LTC1BTC will take the plunge. Jiang Zhuoer, founder of LTC1BTC, stated in a recent interview that his pool will not support SegWit. He also said he believes other large pools were unlikely to make the jump.
Further, if the activation threshold is reached, it will need to stay at or above this figure for at least 8,064 blocks (about two weeks based on litecoin's 2.5-minute block interval). This means there could exist a situation in which the activation threshold is met, but isn't maintained for the required duration to implement changes to the protocol.
Still, litecoin creator Charlie Lee is in favor of SegWit adoption. So far, he has even gone so far as to make the pitch to China-based mining pools to adopt SegWit in a letter made public yesterday.
"I also believe that the market is waiting for litecoin to get SegWit and the price will react positively if SegWit is activated. Seeing all these other altcoins pump is definitely disheartening. So let's give the market what it wants."
In response, investors seem to have responded positively to the news.
Amid the uptick in miner support, litecoin traders pushed the price 24.7% higher to $11.17. Litecoin's market cap now stands at $559m, making the coin the 5th largest digital currency.
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