[bitcoin-dev] Barry Silbert segwit agreement

shaolinfry shaolinfry at protonmail.ch
Mon May 22 06:12:08 UTC 2017

Someone sent me a copy of the Barry Silbert agreement, an agreement forged between a select number of participants https://pastebin.com/VuCYteJh

Participants agree to immediately activate Segwit, however, under a different activation proposal. Since I have spent the last few months researching various activation strategies of the current BIP141 deployment, as well as redeployment, I feel I am quite well placed to comment on the technicalities.

To be clear, the proposal as far as I can see does not activate BIP141, but is a completely new deployment which would be incompatible with the BIP141 deployment. I'm not sure how that can be considered "immediate" activation. Surely immediate activation would just be for miners to start signalling and segwit would be activated in 4-5 weeks. The proposal seems to require a lower 80% threshold, I assume because they were unable to convince 95% of the hashpower to go trigger activation.

There are a few options to activating segwit now, the first being for 95% of hashrate to signal. The second is for the community to deploy BIP148 UASF which will force miners to signal segwit. Being a UASF it is date triggered. The third option is a redeployment of segwit on a new bit, but requires waiting for the existing deployment to time out, because all the p2p messages and service bits related to segwit must be replaced too (which is what BIP149 does).

A fourth option, first suggested to me by James Hilliard, was to make BIP148 miner triggered (MASF) with a lower threshold, above 50%. I coded this up a few weeks ago https://github.com/bitcoin/bitcoin/compare/master...shaolinfry:segsignal but didnt get around to posting to the ML yet. This effectively lowers the threshold from 95% to 65% as coded, or could be upped to 80% or whatever was preferable.

I think this removes the primary risk of BIP148 causing the creation of two chains, and gives an improved chance to get segwit activated quickly (assuming a majority of miners wish to go this route). But hash a primary disadvantage of still leaving the activation in the hands of miners. If it doesn't work out, then BIP149 can then be used as proposed, but it'll be even safer because we'll have futher guaged support.


SEGSIGNAL: https://github.com/bitcoin/bitcoin/compare/master...shaolinfry:segsignal
BIP148: https://github.com/bitcoin/bips/blob/master/bip-0148.mediawiki
BIP149: https://github.com/bitcoin/bips/blob/master/bip-0149.mediawiki

I think the Barry Silbert agreement is very ill considered, and clearly lacking peer review from the technical community. Suggestions of a HF in 4 months are completely unrealistic and without technical merits. But more importantly, closed door agreements between selected participants is not how to garner consensus to change a $30bn decentralized system. The purpose of my email is to try and assist in the "immediate activation of segwit" which only requires hashrate to participate; and to provide some techincal input since I have done a great deal of research and development into the topic.

Given the history we've already passed the point where we should be expecting miners to cooperate in lowering their own fee income with a capacity increase; but we should be open to all reasonable options in the interest in moving things forward in a safe and collaborative way.
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