Blockchain Tutorial

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Bitcoin Forks and SegWit

We will learn about Bitcoin forks and Segregated Witness in this section (SegWit).

What Is the Definition of a Segregated Witness (SegWit)?

Segregated Witness (SegWit) is a Bitcoin transaction format modification. Its declared objective as a protocol improvement was to prevent transaction malleability and shorten transaction latency by increasing block capacity. Transaction malleability refers to the potential of small changes to transaction information invalidating future Bitcoin blocks. By keeping more transactions in a block, it was also meant to speed up the validation process.

Bitcoin Forks

A fork is a modification to the digital currency software that results in two distinct Blockchain routes with the same history. The forks might be transitory (for a few minutes) or permanent (for a long time).

A fork can happen for a number of reasons. A Soft Fork or a Hard Fork may be required to make modifications to the Bitcoin software.

Soft Fork

A soft fork is a modification that is compatible with older with the prior version. It means you don't need to upgrade your Bitcoin application if you're still using an older version. Users with previous versions of the programme will still be able to distinguish new blocks built by machines. Because both old and new users will keep mining new blocks within the same Blockchain, it is called soft. A soft fork would never result in the creation of such a new digital currency because they are still members of the same network.

Whenever the majority of Bitcoin network nodes have upgraded their software, a soft split is declared complete. If this does not occur, the minority group can opt to drop the planned change in favour of a hard fork.

Hard Fork

A hard fork is a software upgrade in which everyone must upgrade. The hard fork does not work with previous versions of the programme. Users on the Bitcoin network who are using an earlier version of the programme must update their software to identify new blocks.

Segregated Witness

Pieter Wuille, a member of the Bitcoin core development team from 2011, created the notion of Segregated Witness. Segregated Witness (SegWit) is a Bitcoin protocol update that alters the layout of transaction data. It was triggered on Bitcoin on August 23, 2017, and it was described as a soft fork on the Bitcoin chain. Since then, Bitcoin miners and users have universally accepted it.

The segregated witness increases Bitcoin's scalability without raising block size. If it is enabled, transaction malleability will be fixed. It accomplishes this by allowing transaction-generating software to segregate transaction signature from the data covered by the transaction identifier and store it outside the underlying transaction block.

To stay on the Blockchain, the soft fork that represented segregated witness did not require updating. It implies that the segregated witnesses can still exist on the Blockchain if miners have not updated. They will not have access to all segregated witness capabilities, including the ability to engage in segregated witness transactions. They would, however, be able to verify the block that does not contain the segregated witness information.

We'll now look at the separated witness. To begin, let us look at the Bitcoin transaction's contents. The Bitcoin transaction consists of three major components. They are as follow:

  1. Input: The source of the coin/funds.
  2. Amount: The number of Bitcoins arriving from the source.
  3. Output: Where are those Bitcoins going?

A transaction is comparable to a bank’s check in that it has inputs, an amount, and an output. Someone with Bitcoin must sign the transaction for it to be valid. The signature ensures that your Bitcoin can't be used by anybody who is not authorised. Because you have private keys that only you have access to.

Now, in a SegWit transaction, the digital signature must be separated from the transaction data. It would raise the 1 MB limit for block sizes. The digital signature takes up around 60-65 percent of the space of a given transaction. SegWit transactions disregard the data tied to a signature by extracting the signature from the input and relocating it to a structure near the conclusion of the transaction. It also eliminates the possibility of a receiver intercepting and changing the sender's transaction ID in order to obtain additional coins from the sender. Because the digital signature is distinct from the input, an unauthorised party would be impossible to modify the transaction ID without also nullifying the digital signature.