technology

What's Next for Bitcoin After Digital Currency Split Is Averted

  • More than 93% of miners back first step in implementation
  • Price of bitcoin approaches record high as hard fork avoided

Why Cryptocurrencies Are Selling Off

With the bitcoin development community embracing a software upgrade known as SegWit2x that aims to increase the network’s transaction capacity, a split of the cryptocurrency appears to be avoided. As proponents of the change celebrate, here’s what some have to say about what may be next.

Adam White, head of cryptocurrency exchange GDAX

“We’re going to see greater utility of the network. Now people can use bitcoin as a way to transit value more easily, more quickly, more cheaply. And that tends to attract in new users to the network."

“Going forward, there will probably be open-blockchains like bitcoin, which tends to move more slowly or conservatively, but there will be other blockchains like ethereum that may move more quickly and introduce a larger surface area for developers to build on top of. I think both of those things complement each other, not compete with each other."

Matthew Werner, head of payments engineering at Coinbase

“It’s a great step for bitcoin. There were a lot of question marks, obviously this has been in contention for quite some time now, but reaching consensus for how to scale bitcoin further is a huge step, clearly. SegWit activating and allowing things like Lightning Network is going to be huge for allowing more activity with existing user base, and down the line once we start to expand the blocksize, we’ll be able to expand the number of users on the network."

“The fact BIP91 came through is a good signal that everyone wants to be growing this network further. And there’s a lot of ways that it’s accomplished, but the fact there is way forward is encouraging. You’ll never know what happens between now and a few months down the line, in the cryptocurrency space especially, but I’m encouraged everything we saw in the past few weeks. A lot of question marks are starting to get answers."

Alex Sunnarborg, a research analyst at Coindesk

“The BIP91 lock-in would be extremely significant for bitcoin and one of the first steps towards scaling the network. Work and discussion around ‘scaling bitcoin’ has been ongoing for years -– with the first dedicated conference around the topic beginning in 2015."

“After BIP91 locks in, approximately two weeks later SegWit should go live. Beyond that, there is still risk that bitcoin could split into different chains supporting different maximum block sizes (like a SegWit 1MB chain and a SegWit 2MB chain)."

Read more about how bitcoin and blockchain work.

Elizabeth Stark, head of startup Lightning Labs

“Bitcoin doesn’t have a Turing-complete language like ethereum, but there are some new interesting things that will enable to do be done once SegWit -- and then layer-two features like Lightning -- are implemented."

She gave a few examples:

  • microtransactions like less than 1 cent, which could replace ad networks (similar to this ICO)
  • instant-transaction confirmations in milliseconds
  • the ability to connect bitcoin and ethereum blockchains
  • Basically, bitcoin could get its own smart contracts (like ethereum)

— With assistance by Lulu Yilun Chen

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