Plans For Segwit2x “suspended” – Competing Chains Averted

The architects of the contentious and highly-controversial “Segwit2x” (S2X) hard fork to the Bitcoin software have abruptly called off their plans to trigger a block size increase, which was expected to happen in mid-November.

In an email announcement on November 8 written by wallet software BitGo’s CEO Mike Belshe, the reason for the suspension was made in the interest of a united Bitcoin community:

“Our goal has always been a smooth upgrade for Bitcoin. Although we
strongly believe in the need for a larger blocksize, there is something we
believe is even more important: keeping the community together.”

Since 2014, the Bitcoin community has been split around the intense debate on scalability of the world’s most popular cryptocurrency and has, at times, resulted in antagonistic rivalry.

S2X and a 2MB block size increase had appeared set after its proponents finally yielded to delay a hard fork, signalling for Segwit implementation support that resulted in consensus and activation earlier in August. It was understood by many to be a concession by Bitcoin’s core developers – in exchange for the block size upgrade later on.

However, as the months progressed, support for S2X waned, with original signatories – mostly miners – to the so-called New York Agreement dropping out, some saying they were unaware of what they had committed to under that agreement.

Last month, Bitcoin.org publicly denounced companies supporting the hard fork, warning against attempts to rebrand Bitcoin or depriving users of Bitcoins (for example, by not implementing replay protection on wallet services).

Most Bitcoin commentators will be relieved by the news, with fears that S2X would result in two competing chains, with average users unable to tell the difference had companies supporting S2X followed through on Bitcoin rebranding.

S2X supporters were mainly caught off guard, however, with many taking to social media expressing their shock and disgust at the announcement:

It would seem that mounting pressure and a deepening mistrust of the corporate- and miner-led hard fork attempt has finally caused an official retreat by S2X. However, the message may leave enough to feel that the fight may continue on another day:

“As fees rise on the blockchain, we believe it will eventually become
obvious that on-chain capacity increases are necessary. When that happens,
we hope the community will come together and find a solution, possibly with
a blocksize increase.”

The letter was also signed by Wences Casares (Xapo CEO), Jihan Wu (Bitmain co-founder), Jeff Garzik (Bloq co-founder), Peter Smith (Blockchain CEO) and Erik Voorhees (Shapeshift CEO), some of the strongest supporters of S2X and original signatories to the New York Agreement that initially found support with more than 80% of the world’s total Bitcoin hashing power.

By @Dan Wood