Trezor and many other bitcoin businesses including CoinGate, Coinomi, Abra, Bitfury, BitPay, Coinkite, Microsoft, Samourai Wallet, Vaultoro and Blockonomics have demonstrated their support for user-activated soft fork (UASF).
UASF, a mechanism in which a soft fork is initiated and activated with the consensus of full nodes by a specified date, was first introduced as a part of Bitcoin Improvement Proposal (BIP) 148 authored by Shaolin Fry.
The intent behind the introduction of UASF was to provide users a method of expressing their support for a soft fork solution such as Bitcoin Core’s Segregated Witness (Segwit), instead of providing the authority of approval to the miners. In other words, UASF is a way for the economic majority to decide on the activation of a certain soft fork solution.
Support for UASF continued to increase at a rapid rate after the discovery of a potential covert usage of AsicBoost by Bitcoin Core developer Greg Maxwell. Although a solid evidence which proves the covert utilization of AsicBoost has not been disclosed, the fact that Bitmain, the parent company of the world’s largest bitcoin mining pool Antpool, tested the covert use of AsicBoost on bitcoin’s testnet led to a decline in trust toward Bitcoin Unlimited-supporting mining pools such as Antpool. More to that, controversy arose around Bitmain’s patent of AsicBoost and the possible existence of other linked companies to Bitmain.
As such, a growing number of companies have begun to publicly disclose their support for UASF and Segwit. Most notably, Microsoft’s Decentralized Identity department announced their strong support for UASF and their plans to signal UASF in all open source decentralized implementation.
Daniel Buchner, head of Decentralized Identity at Microsoft, stated:
“By default, all Bitcoin full nodes and clients used in Microsoft’s open source decentralized identity implementations will signal for UASF.”
Marek “Slush” Palatinus, CEO and IT architect of Satoshi Labs, the parent company of Trezor, also noted that a miner-activated soft fork (MASF) could be the fastest way to activate Segwit on bitcoin. While MASF was not a viable selection of approval for a long period of time, F2Pool, the second largest bitcoin mining pool, officially announced their support toward Segwit today, on April 15. With F2Pool and other large Segwit-supporting miners such as Bitfury, MASF still exists as a strong possibility.
“I believe MASF is the easiest way of moving forward. If it fails for any reason, there’s room for other more complex, but legitimate ways,” said Slush.
As of now, the faith of Segwit relies on the hands of the miners and full node operators. By going down the path of UASF, Segwit can only activated by November of 2017 at the earliest. As noted by Slush, MASF would be a much more efficient method of activating Segwit but it depends on the miner support and hashrate allocation to Segwit.
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