What is the User Activated Hard Fork?

There are quite a few different opinions on how Bitcoin needs to be scaled moving forward. It is evident there are multiple camps, each of which is trying to make its solution stick. Bitmain introduced yet another potential solution in the form of a user-activated hard fork. Do not confuse this proposal with the UASF, though, as these are two very different concepts.

Bitmain’s UAHF Is A Major Point of Discussion

The point of introducing a user-activated soft fork is pretty evident right now. It brings necessary changes to the Bitcoin protocol without trying to split off a part of the community from the rest. Although the UASF can still cause a chain split, the economic majority should follow this proposal, as they were among the first to officially endorse it. That does not mean there is a guaranteed chance of success for the user-activated soft fork either.

What makes the UASF so appealing is how it does not require a mining majority to activate. However, Bitmain strongly feels the UASF proposal is a major risk to the Bitcoin network, which will effectively split the ecosystem into two different blockchains. That is certainly a possibility, although a large portion of the Bitcoin community is in favor of solving the scaling debate with a soft fork.

Bitmain, on the other hand, feels a user-activated hard fork is the better solution. More specifically, this hard fork does not require a majority of hashpower to be enforced either. All nodes who accept these rule set changes will automatically follow this blockchain regardless of the support it gets. In a way, Bitmain feels this is a “voluntary departure” for Bitcoin users who do not agree with the vision of Core developers. It will, effectively, result in two different blockchains when enforced, which seems to be rather counterproductive.

Moreover, the user-activated hard fork will be sustained even if the blockchain is not capable of reaching the majority of mining support. This seems to further indicate Bitmain’s proposal is designed to split off from the Bitcoin network and create their own version of this popular cryptocurrency. Bitmain was also one of the biggest Bitcoin Unlimited supporters, and it is possible they will end up with a solution quite similar to BU.

This proposal is a direct result of the New York Agreement, which was formed on may 24th of 2017. As part of this agreement, multiple parties attended the event, except for Bitcoin Core developers, who “declined” the invite. Bitmain is clear favor of this New York Agreement, and they will do what they can to fully enforce it moving forward.

It is evident this is a contingency plan drafted by Bitmain in anticipation of the UASF activation August 1st. Whether or not the UAHF will gain support, remains to be seen. The same can be said for the UASF, though, as nothing has been set in stone just yet. Bitmain feels BIP148 provides no replay protection, whereas the UAHF will ensure this will be the case. Right now, the UAHF is expected to activate 12 hours and 20 minutes after the UASF, although this date may be changed.

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