Gemini Is Now the Largest Bitcoin Exchange to Add 'Full' SegWit Support

Gemini says it has added "full" support for SegWit, an important bitcoin code change that paves the way for scaling improvements.

AccessTimeIconApr 17, 2019 at 8:00 a.m. UTC
Updated Sep 13, 2021 at 9:04 a.m. UTC

Cryptocurrency exchange Gemini announced Monday that it has added "full" support for segregated witness (SegWit), an important bitcoin code change that paves the way for scaling improvements.

While many bitcoin companies have adopted SegWit to some degree, Gemini is unique in it's the largest bitcoin exchange thus far to roll out support for "native SegWit addresses," a newer type of bitcoin address which helps to scale the cryptocurrency even further but has been adopted to a lesser degree.

Gemini head of communications Carolyn Vadino told CoinDesk:

"Our choice to use native SegWit addresses was based on many factors including block space savings as well as safety concerns. As SegWit's use, support, and adoption grows, it will help reduce fees, wait times, and network congestion."

As helpful a change SegWit is for boosting how many transactions bitcoin can support at once, each individual wallet and exchange needs to individually code up support for the new type of transaction. And adding native SegWit addresses takes a bit more time -- hence why the change hasn't been rolled out everywhere.

But Gemini – perhaps best-known for being led by entrepreneur-brothers Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss – is eager to adopt the technology in part because it enables lightning, a "layer-two" technology seen by advocates as the future of bitcoin payments.

"SegWit transactions also lay the groundwork for more advanced technologies; of which the lightning network is the most well known," Vadino explains.

Gemini admits, though, it still might take a while for the ecosystem to fully adopt the change.

"We think it’s the right time to make this change, though there will still be some growing pains," wrote Gemini software engineer Brian KimJohnson in a blog post that announced the change. "Notably, while some block explorers are capable of tracking native SegWit addresses, the support varies widely from one solution to another."

Binary code image via Shutterstock

Disclosure

Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that covers the cryptocurrency industry. Its journalists abide by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by the Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, digital assets exchange. The Bullish group is majority-owned by Block.one; both companies have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary with an editorial committee to protect journalistic independence. CoinDesk employees, including journalists, may receive options in the Bullish group as part of their compensation.