[bitcoin-dev] Segregated Witness in the context of Scaling Bitcoin

Jeff Garzik jgarzik at gmail.com
Thu Dec 17 02:21:22 UTC 2015

On Wed, Dec 16, 2015 at 3:50 PM, Matt Corallo <lf-lists at mattcorallo.com>

> A large part of your argument is that SW will take longer to deploy than a
> hard fork, but I completely disagree. Though I do not agree with some
> people claiming we can deploy SW significantly faster than a hard fork,
> once the code is ready (probably a six month affair) we can get it deployed
> very quickly. It's true the ecosystem may take some time to upgrade, but I
> see that as a feature, not a bug - we can build up some fee pressure with
> an immediate release valve available for people to use if they want to pay
> fewer fees.

That's taking a big risk.  "Build up some fee pressure" is essentially
risking a Fee Event if uptake is slower than planned, or traffic is greater
than expected.

> On the other hand, a hard fork, while simpler for the ecosystem to upgrade
> to, is a 1-2 year affair (after the code is shipped, so at least 1.5-2.5
> from today if we all put off heads down and work). One thing that has
> concerned me greatly through this whole debate is how quickly people seem
> to think we can roll out a hard fork. Go look at the distribution of node
> versions on the network today and work backwards to get nearly every node
> upgraded... Even with a year between fork-version-release and
> fork-activation, we'd still kill a bunch of nodes and instead of reducing
> their security model, lead them to be outright robbed.

A hard fork will never achieve 100%  There are many credible folks and
estimates who feel a May hard fork is reasonable and doable.

Further, hard forks restore the full trustless nature of the post-hard-fork
nodes.  Soft forks continually erode that.  That's why SW should come via
hard fork.  The end result is more secure - 100% validation of witness

If regular hard fork plans are proposed in public, many months in advance,
there is plenty of time for the community to react.  Hard forks create a
more predictable market and environment for Users, and a more secure

Further, even if you believe SW makes hard fork unnecessary, it is the
responsible thing to code and communicate to users the plan for a Fee Event
just in case SW uptake and extension block use does not match theoretical
projections of SW proponents.

Finally, SW does not eliminate and is orthogonal to Short Term Problem #1
(orig. email - drift into ECE)
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