Bitcoin Miners are Rejecting Segwit For Non-Technical Reasons

It has become evident that miners are not opposed to the Bitcoin Core development team’s transaction malleability fix Segregated Witness (Segwit) given the overwhelming support towards Segwit2x, a proposal made by Barry Silbert-led Digital Currency group and 57 other companies that include major mining pool operators such as Bitmain.

The hashrate signaling the activation of Segwit2x is currently over 90 percent at the time of writing. The proposal entails the activation of Segwit at an 80 percent activation threshold by September and the execution of a 2MB block size increase hard fork six months thereafter. The key component of the proposal is the activation of Segwit and given the 90 percent support from miners, it is quite clear that miners are in favor of activating Segwit.

One condition requested by the miners is the execution of a 2MB block size increase hard fork which derived from the Hong Kong scaling agreement that was established in February of 2016. The majority of miners believe that the expected 75 percent optimization of block size through the activation of Segwit and additional scaling via second layer payment channels such as Lightning are not sufficient to address the explosive growth of the bitcoin industry and user base.

Yet, the rapidly increasing support towards Segwit2x has proven to the industry and community that miners are not opposed to Segwit for technical reasons. In fact, a major mining pool operator ViaBTC, recently stated:

“The main reason to refuse Segwit is because the roadmap of bitcoin core, not the technical detail.”

The development team behind ViaBTC revealed that the company along with many China-based mining companies such as Bitmain’s Antpool have been opposed to Segwit due to their rejection of the Bitcoin Core development team’s roadmap. In particular, ViaBTC wrote in a blog post earlier this year that it does not approve Bitcoin Core’s roadmap of utilizing Segwit as a scaling solution.

“Segwit, which is a soft fork solution for malleability, cannot solve the capacity problem. From Core members’ public statements, they didn’t attach necessary importance on this issue. Even if Segwit after activation can slightly scale up block size with new transaction formats, it’s still far behind the demand for the development of Bitcoin network,” wrote the ViaBTC development team.

However, one of the solutions offered by Segwit is the infrastructure for two layer solutions such as Lightning which are expected to open doors for a wide range of services and applications that can operate on top of bitcoin and most importantly, significantly lower transaction fees through the usage of payment channels.

Similar to the viewpoint of Bitmain, ViaBTC claimed that the implementation of Lightning and payment channels will lead to centralization of transactions by deviating from direct on-chain peer to peer transactions to payment channel-based transactions.

To this date, Bitcoin Core, the industry and community have been straightforward with the scaling roadmap. Activate Segwit to strengthen security measures by eliminating transaction malleability and providing better infrastructure for hardware wallets and establish a working platform for two layer solutions for long-term scalability.

The scaling debate has started to see some progress as miners agreed to activate Segwit given a condition to increase the block size by 2MB. Given that the mining community is opposed to the sole activation of Segwit due to non-technical reasons, over the next few weeks, the bitcoin industry is likely to see major progress with scaling.