For God’s Sake No More Bitcoin Forks

As if Bitcoin miners didn’t have enough forks on their plate another one is coming up on Christmas day of all things. In addition to an already heavily forked cryptocurrency that consists of Bitcoin Classic, the now-defunct Bitcoin XT, Bitcoin Cash, and Bitcoin Gold, they will soon be joined by Bitcoin God.

Yes, you heard it right; Bitcoin God is due to be forked off on Christmas day by Chinese blockchain investor Chandler Guo who has announced he will release his own version of the cryptocurrency.

This will effectively create another network snapshot clone of Bitcoin. This results in the new chain sharing exactly the same history as the legacy blockchain up until a certain block height. From then on the new chain records its own transactions and miners who have adopted it add new blocks going forward.

Chandler Tweeted that:

“Bitcoin God (GOD) will be forked off the main bitcoin chain at the block height of 501225, which will happen on December 25th to be symbolic of me giving candy to all bitcoin holders. The total amount will be 21 million. No pre-mine. Everyone can claim their GOD from major exchanges all over the world. The profit from POS mining will be distributed to all Bitcoin users.”

Bitcoin God will not be the only forking thing to happen in December as there are much more afoot. A Github repository referring to something called Bcash stated: “Bcash is a new cryptocurrency that uses the existing Bitcoin ledger combined with Zcash privacy technology,”. The developer who remains anonymous claims that Bcash is not associated with Bitcoin Cash and the project is an entirely different network in the making. They urged traders to be wary of scams going under the Bcash name.

Bitcoin Diamond forked at block 495866, may also make an entrance around the same time with futures already listed on Coinmarketcap trading at around $45. The drive for new clones is to attract investors by offering them a free equivalent of whatever they old in the original chain. The BCD team stated:

“Our primary objective is to lower the cost of participation thresholds by reducing the transaction fees and the cost of participation.”

Unlike the public BTC ledger, Bitcoin Diamond would encrypt the amount and balance, which will provide greater privacy to users of the new coin.

According to the BTC Twitter page upcoming Bitcoin hard forks include Super Bitcoin (Block 498888), Bitcoin Platinum (Block 500000), Bitcoin Uranium (unknown), Bitcoin Cash Plus (Block 501407), and Bitcoin Silver (TBD).

It seems like a forking busy Christmas in crypto-land is on the cards.

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A lot of discussions in the Bitcoin world are political in nature these days. There is a very big group of people who support Bitcoin Core no matter what. Others favor Bitcoin Cash simply because it is as anti-Core as it gets. The rest just wants a better Bitcoin but has to deal with this fractured community. CobraBitcoin made some interesting comments regarding the “fanboy” attitude surrounding Bitcoin Core.

It is evident a lot of people support the Core developers. That is only normal, as they have done a pretty decent job improving Bitcoin over time. Not all of their decisions have been well-received, but that is only to be expected. One could argue it is the Bitcoin Core developers who inadvertently forced people to fork off through Bitcoin Cash. The opinions on this matter will always remain divided as well. However, one also has to admit there is a lot of negative bias toward the Core devs as of late.

Bitcoin Core is not Always Right or Wrong

Whether or not Core is the best for Bitcoin, is a completely different discussion. However, the number of FUD spread in accordance to Bitcoin Core has grown enormously. We see very odd posts on social media virtually every day for a few months now. The correlation between Core and Blockstream is doing more damage than good right now, at least from a PR perspective. It is doubtful this situation will be resolved anytime soon either. After all, political shenanigans are the “news channel” of Bitcoin, so to speak.

CobraBitcoin touched upon this concept in the tweet above. The fanboyism affecting Bitcoin Core has certainly been taken to a whole new level. For every semi-negative mention of Core, diehard supporters will come up with even more FUD and bias. It has created a very toxic environment that will eventually hinder the growth of Bitcoin as we know it. Instead of coming together, the communities are pushing each other away even further. While a demise of Bitcoin – or Bitcoin Cash – may not happen soon, things direly need to improve.

One thing we can all agree on is how Bitcoin is no longer a trustless network whatsoever. A lot of people associated with Bitcoin are all pushing their own agendas. This includes Bitcoin Core developers, the people supporting them, and the ones opposing them as well. This situation cannot be sustained for much longer, that much is rather evident. Bitcoin Core is not necessarily the best course of action for BTC as a whole. However, there have been a lot of decent decisions they deserve credit for as well. An open dialogue should always take precedence over hard forks and FUD. Sadly, that hasn’t been the case for several years now.

Highly regarded Bitcoin Core developer and cryptocurrency consultant Peter Todd has criticized the cancellation of the SegWit2x hard fork and the “waste” of resources used throughout the development of the software.

Cancellation of SegWit2x

On November 8, the development and deployment of the SegWit2x hard fork were officially terminated, with the release of an official statement from BitGo CEO Mike Belshe to the SegWit2x Mailing List. The statement was co-signed by leading businesses within the bitcoin industry which participated in the original NYA or SegWit2x agreement, which included ShapeShift CEO Erik Voorhees, Blockchain CEO Peter Smith, Xapo CEO Wences Casares, and SegWit2x lead developer Jeff Garzik.

The statement read:

“Our goal has always been a smooth upgrade for Bitcoin. Although we strongly believe in the need for a larger block size, there is something we believe is even more important: keeping the community together. Unfortunately, it is clear that we have not built sufficient consensus for a clean blocksize upgrade at this time. Continuing on the current path could divide the community and be a setback to Bitcoin’s growth. This was never the goal of Segwit2x.”

As explained by Belshe, the initial objective of the SegWit2x team and its supporting companies was to carry out an upgrade on the Bitcoin protocol, without pursuing a contentious fork that could lead to the creation of a new cryptocurrency, like the Bitcoin Cash hard fork in August. However, over time, as the community continued to reject the SegWit2x software, the lack of consensus amongst businesses, developers, users, and miners within the bitcoin sector made it virtually impossible to carry out a smooth upgrade.

Criticism of Bitcoin Core Developer Peter Todd

Immediately after the cancellation of the SegWit2x hard fork was confirmed by ShapeShift CEO Erik Voorhees and BitGo engineer Jameson Lopp, Todd criticized the amount of resources and capital that were allocated to develop the SegWit2x software. He said:

“The 2X cancellation email was signed by Mike Belshe, Wences Casares, Jihan Wu, Jeff Garzik, Peter Smith, and Erik Voorhees, in case you were wondering who to send the bill for the millions of dollars worth of engineering time wasted on this mess.”

Whether the resources that were allocated into the development SegWit2x was a waste will be proven in the upcoming months. If SegWit2x has led the community to re-evaluate the necessity of onchain scaling given the high fees of the Bitcoin network at the moment, developers and businesses behind SegWit2x could consider the movement as a success.

In the meantime, businesses will likely move on to adopt and integrate SegWit, to allow users to experience reduced transaction fees SegWit provides. ShapeShift has already integrated SegWit, which was an important step for bitcoin considering that ShapeShift solely accounts for around 3 percent of the Bitcoin network’s transactions.

In the upcoming months, major companies like Bitfinex and Blockchain will likely integrate SegWit. Bitfinex has stated that SegWit integration is in progress.

Bitcoin enthusiasts will have noticed there is a lot of discussion regarding network nodes. It turns out things are not as black-and-white as assumed at first. A new graph goes to show over 93% of network nodes supporting Bitcoin Core. Not all of the nodes actively signal for SegWit, but the overall trend should not be ignored. An interesting statistic that deserves a lot more attention.

The bitcoin network has far more nodes than people anticipate. In fact, there are quite a few types of network nodes that hardly ever get mentioned. Breadwallet, Bitcoin wallet for Android, and Bitcoin Knots nodes are just some examples. Although these instances do not support either SegWit or Bitcoin Unlimited, that does not mean they can be ignored. In fact, they are all valuable additions to the ecosystem.

Most people are only interested in the number of BU and SegWit nodes. It appears there are 1,411 BU-capable nodes, which is quite a significant number. Additionally, there are 251 Bitcoin Classic nodes in operation today. While those numbers may sound great, they pale in comparison to overall Bitcoin Core nodes. Contrary to what people assume, there are 53,310 Bitcoin Core nodes in operation to this very date. This translates to 93.22% of all network nodes supporting Bitcoin Core

Plenty of Bitcoin Core Nodes To Go Around

This does not mean all of these Bitcoin Core nodes actively signal for SegWit, though. Instead, only a minority seem to do so at this time. Additionally, it is important to take into account spinning up extra nodes is not all that difficult. It is possible a lot of these nodes are running on a cheap VPS plan somewhere. Moreover, these numbers also include full network nodes with closed ports.

It is not surprising these numbers put the Bitcoin Unlimited node numbers in a bad daylight. After all, a lot of nodes are not even supporting that project right now. In fact, Bitcoin Core has a much firmer grip on the node ecosystem than people would give it credit for at first. While it is feasible for big miners to build node farms with ease, these numbers still seem to indicate Core is the right way to go.Then again, this chart also highlights potential centralization efforts of node farms, which isn’t a good sign.

If all of these other network nodes would signal SegWit support, things may look very different. Then again,  it would still be up to individual miners to show support as well. Until the 95% activation threshold is reached, the status quo will continue. Metrics like these are certainly interesting, although it does not address the stalemate in the ecosystem. It does show there is much more to the bitcoin ecosystem than meets the eye, though.

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One of the main issues people have with the Bitcoin Core client is how slow it works. To be more specific, synchronizing the blockchain takes up quite a lot of time. Developers have found a way to speed up this process by as much as 48%. It appears the new Bitcoin Core client packs quite some punch and solves some lingering issues. All things considered, a positive development that will make quite a few people happy.

According to a Reddit post, the Bitcoin Core 0.14.0 client is quite spectacular. Its main progress is how the synchronization with the blockchain takes up less time. Although things had improved in the 0.13.2 client, further progress has been made since. Right now it takes just under three hours to sync the client on an EC2 large instance. People who have a somewhat recently upgraded computer at home can expect to see similar results.

It is intriguing to take note of how this change was achieved by the developers. It appears Cory Fields has refactored the peer-to-peer networking part of the client. Rather than slowing down the synchronization, it now seems to validate blocks “on the side”. This results in quite a spectacular speed gain, which adds up to a 48% faster syncing time.  Additionally, it appears overall CPU usage has been brought down a notch, which is another welcome change.

A Big Change For Bitcoin Core

To be more specific, Bitcoin Core 0.14.0 introduces assumed-valid blocks. It removes the need to use “checkpoints” and gives users the option to configure which block history is assumed to be true. As a result, outdated software can synchronize faster if this setting is updated by the user. To put it in simpler terms, the new client does not do signature verification for blocks prior to the current one. If initial synchronization takes too long, some people may be turned off from using bitcoin again.

For people who were thinking of running a bitcoin node, this change will be more than welcome. After all, less time spent on syncing blocks means faster node deployment overall. Although not everyone may see a 48% speed gain while syncing, most people should see a significant improvement. All things considered, this is a more than welcome change. Syncing the chain has been a time-consuming process for far too long.

Some Bitcoin Core users are speculating Bitcoin Unlimited will “copy” this feature soon. It’s not unlikely a similar type of progress will be made by BU in the coming weeks. This does not mean they will copy the code by any means, though. Making the sync process faster is beneficial to all bitcoin users in the end. It will be interesting to see how things will evolve once the Bitcoin Core 0.14.0 client becomes available.

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Cryptocurrency enthusiasts looking to download the Bitcoin Core client may receive a strange error. In a lot of cases, a Trojan alert will show up, indicating the file download is potentially malicious. However, that does not seem to be the case, and this alert is a false positive. Users are still advised to manually verify the SHA256 checksum for the file, though.

It seems rather strange downloading Bitcoin Core would trigger a Trojan warning. According to Reddit sources, the reason behind this false positive is not difficult to find. Allegedly, some /r/BC members have made false virus reports on the Bitcoin Core client downloads. This issue has been going on for some time, as previous client versions were also flagged with riskware warnings.

Bitcoin Core Is Safe To Download

It is unclear why these /r/BTC members would deliberately try to get Bitcoin Core flagged as a malicious client. This seems to be a desperate attempt to push Bitcoin Unlimited adoption, which is going nowhere right now. If that is the case, this is a fine example of the new lows some people will stoop to. It is unfortunate to see events like these take place, though, as it brings negative attention to the Bitcoin industry.

Thankfully, it is not hard to verify the integrity of the latest Bitcoin Core client. Most antivirus solutions will not report any major issues with the download. False positives can be quite annoying to deal with, especially when the report makes a mention of malicious Bitcoin mining software included in the client.

Baidu labels the Bitcoin Core 0.13.2 client as a WisdomEyes Trojan, even though that is not the case. Quick Heal sees it as the Controller Trojan. It is quite intriguing to see all of these scanning services report something entirely different, indicating this is just a collection of random fake reports. Very disturbing, to say the least, yet there is a way to verify the integrity of this download.

Every time someone aims to download the Bitcoin Core client from the website, it displays the SHA256 checksum. Users can manually verify this checksum to determine if the file is genuine. A quick check will show the entire world everything is just fine, and this file can be trusted. Sadly, most users will not take the necessary steps to go to these lengths. All they will see if the fake virus warning and decide not to download the client. In the long term, this could have catastrophic consequences for Bitcoin as a whole.

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The ongoing battle between Bitcoin Unlimited and Bitcoin Core continues. For the first time in a while, Bitcoin unlimited support is outpacing SegWit support. Although this may only be a temporary trend, it goes to show the mining world remains undecided on how Bitcoin should evolve. Moreover, it all depends on when you look at the statistics, as support numbers continue to change on a near-hourly basis.

Every time figures like these are made public, a lot of controversy ensues. Bitcoin Core and Bitcoin Unlimited remain the top two solutions to advance the Bitcoin network in the coming years. It is up to the miners and companies in the Bitcoin ecosystem to show which solution they prefer. Right now, it seems BU and SegWit are virtually even, which does not help matters much at all. Reaching consensus seems further away than ever before.

Although some recent numbers hint at increasing support for Bitcoin Unlimited, there are some side notes to take into account. First of all, the numbers continue to switch around often, making it difficult to determine if either solution is gaining traction. Secondly,  Over 40% of the network nodes run on Bitcoin Core 0.13.1 or 0.13.2. This number clearly favors support for Segregated Witness.

Bitcoin Unlimited Is Not Making Much Progress

Bitcoin Unlimited, on the other hand, represents 7.23% of all network nodes. The number remained nearly the same for several months now. Setting up a BU node is as straightforward as a regular Bitcoin Core node, though. It is unclear why there are so few Bitcoin Unlimited nodes right now. Without enough network nodes to support this development solution, chances of it getting activated on the network remain slim. Moreover, 7.23% is not enough to ‘prevent” SegWit from activating on the network, assuming that will ever happen.

Other facts indicating Bitcoin Unlimited is going nowhere anytime soon are not hard to come by. The number of blocks mined clearly favor Bitcoin Core, with 820 to 173. The estimated hashrate for BU is 16.11%, whereas Core has 82.89%. Then again, neither SegWit nor BU is gaining enough traction to increase the Bitcoin block size anytime soon. The status quo continues, and it is doubtful this situation will change anytime soon.

While it is commendable to see multiple branches of Bitcoin development, working toward the same solution, the community remains divided. This will only lead to more internal fighting and bickering, which does not help the Bitcoin ecosystem at all. It will be interesting to see what comes of this situation in the coming months, albeit no significant change are expected tot to take place.

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Bitcoin is an open source cryptocurrency platform with multiple developer teams working constantly to develop new solutions. Bitcoin Core team, currently responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of Bitcoin network has announced a new update to the software, fixing few bugs and performance issues.

The Bitcoin Core version 0.13.2 was announced a couple of days ago on the official website. The new version is a result of contributions from over 28 developers in different capacities. According to the release, the new version is a minor update that carries bad news for those who still prefer to rely on age-old software.

“This is a new minor version release, including various bug fixes and performance improvements, as well as updated translations.”

In the update, the team has made it clear that it will no longer be supporting any Windows XP related issues. The announcement comes after users reported few bugs in the Bitcoin Core software version 0.12.x while running on Windows XP-powered machines.

Microsoft Corporation, the creator of Windows operating system has officially ended support to Windows XP back in April 2014. However, it seems like some people in the community are still relying upon the age-old operating system. Bitcoin Core advises the community to upgrade their Windows to recent versions or replace it with other alternative operating systems, currently supported by Bitcoin Core. It is not just Windows XP. Bitcoin Core has also withdrawn support for OSX 10.7, starting with the previous software update (0.13.1).

Until now, a failure to include new bitcoin transaction into mempool would return an error following an RPC call. Further, the software had to be restarted to confirm such transactions. But with the new update, the rebroadcast process will be automated, eliminating the need to manually restart the software. It also gives the option to abandon transactions in the wallet that are not included into the mempool.

The “Change to wallet handling of mempool rejection” is a meaningful feature as the Bitcoin network frequently gets overloaded due to increased transactions. With no scaling solutions in place, the problem is expected to continue.

The community is waiting for bigger updates than minor bug fixes and it is time for Bitcoin Core team to implement some serious scalability fixes.

Ref: Bitcoin.Org | Image:  NewsBTC

 

It is not overly difficult to come across a controversial topic in the Bitcoin world these days. A new Reddit discussion erupted over the number of people actively contributing to Bitcoin Core development. The team claims roughly 100 people are involved, yet only 30 made actual commits last month. But does it even matter in the end, as long as there is progress?

It has become apparent the Bitcoin community sometimes nitpicks about the strangest things. Granted, Bitcoin Core claiming to have 100 active contributors, while only 30 of them making GitHub commits, seems a bit strange. To make matters more confusing, a lot of contributions had nothing to do with code changes.

That being said, progress continues to be made by the few full-time developers Bitcoin Core has. Segregated Witness is signaling for activation on the network, which is a significant event. Although it remains to been if and when this solution will be activated, the work is a direct result of people contributing to Core.

Only Contributions To Bitcoin Core Matter

The /r/BTC community seems rather troubled by the lack of contribution to Bitcoin Core recently. While opinions are always different on whether or not those things are “trivial” matters, it is clear something is not adding up. But the bigger question is whether or not the numbers matter, as long as progression is made.

There is a difference between being a contributor and an actual developer. It is true Bitcoin Core has far more contributors than developers. After all, most people working on the code have a full-time job, and can only commit free time to Bitcoin. On the other hand, some developers do this job full-time. Bt that does not make either party more or less important to the ecosystem.

Additionally, having more developers does not make things go any faster by default. It is true more developers will attribute to new solutions. Implementation of new concepts still requires a lot of time and testing, though. Even with more devs, that process can’t be sped up all that much.

All things considered, the lines between contributor and developer seem to blur, depending on who is leading the conversation. Bitcoin Core can always use more people working on the code and other aspects. Whether it is a 100, a dozen, or just three people contributing, no one’s prohibiting anyone from jumping in.

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Ever since ViaBTC launched their Transaction Accelerator, the company has been on an aggressive marketing path. Although it initially launched free of charge, users had to pay a small fee to use the TA less than 24 hours after launch. But it looks like ViaBTC wants to make another statement, declaring how Bitcoin Core devs “refuse to up the block size limit.” If that were the case, Segregated Witness would not be here.

Everyone knows ViaBTC as a mining pool publicly supporting Bitcoin Unlimited. This alternative branch of Bitcoin development looks to address the block size problem in a different manner. So far, there is only one mining pool supporting BU, with no indication of that situation changing soon. Then again, one pool is better than none.

But ViaBTC is not just a mining pool, as its owners have a strong opinion about Bitcoin Core. In fact, the Transaction Accelerator page now mentions how Bitcoin Core devs refuse to increase the block size. Utterly false information, even though the block size debacle has been lingering for far too long already.

An Aggressive Strategy By ViaBTC

To solve this problem, ViaBTC bluntly states everyone should support Bitcoin Unlimited. After all, this solution implements an immediate block size increase, solving the problem. But it won’t be so easy, as most Bitcoin enthusiasts and services remain loyal to Bitcoin Core. That is only normal, as their block size solution is currently available for signalling on the mainnet.

ViaBTC’s Transaction Accelerator usage will directly support Bitcoin Unlimited. Every transaction confirmed through their pool will be included in the next BU block on the network. However, the limit of 100 TX per hour is still in place, rendering this solution somewhat useless. That it, unless significant network congestion arises.

To make matters even more intriguing, ViaBTC removed the fee structure from Transaction Accelerator already. The company introduced this fee less than 24 hours after launching their TA. Going back and forth on this decision is not the most professional approach by any means. Publicly “declaring war” on Bitcoin Core developers will not do their reputation any good either.

It is evident this game between Bitcoin Unlimited and Bitcoin Core is nothing more than politics at play. ViaBTC will continue to stir up trouble whenever they possibly can in the hopes of swaying people’s minds. For now, that plan does not seem to work, and the Bitcoin community remains somewhat divided on the block size debate.

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