Why Coinbase is accused of overloading the Bitcoin network and how SegWit works ?

And how many Coinbase engineers are needed to introduce SegWit.

On February 5, the Coinbase Cryptocurrency exchange placed a tweet, informing that “the development team is at the last stage of testing SegWit”, and “sending and receiving bitcoins with SegWit support will be available in a few weeks”.

Coinbase announced the work on SegWit in early December last year, answering one of the frequently asked questions from users “how many Coinbase engineers are needed to introduce SegWit.”

Why Coinbase is accused of overloading the Bitcoin network

On December 16, Coinbase vice-president Dan Romero published a post on the official Coinbase blog, informing that the introduction of SegWit is planned for 2018, and at the moment the team is “working on the safe implementation of SegWit.” Romero emphasizes that “in the priority – security and efficient work of the exchange”, and does not speak about specific terms.

However, on the wave of the December “bitcoin-mania”, users discontent grew with the network’s busyness: exchanges, including Coinbase and GDAX, were not able to cope with record demand and went offline, fees and transaction confirmation time were increasing. In mid-January, customers sent Coinbase CEO Bryan Armstrong a petition that collected more than 12,000 signatures, calling for support for SegWit as a priority for 2018. Jameson Lopp, the leading engineer of the BitGo crypto wallet, called for the abandonment of Coinbase services: “It is not a discovery that a significant cause of overloads in the Bitcoin network is caused by such popular services as Blockchain.info, Coinbase and Gemini, which inefficiently use block space. If you do not want to contribute to this, do not use it. ” Armstrong again responded to the charge, saying that “Coinbase is working on packetizing transactions, SegWit and a number of other strategies to eliminate stagnation in the network.”

SegWit aims to solve the scalability problem by reducing the size of transactions. The protocol was proposed by the developer of Blockstream Peter Wellle, and the softphone that made possible the use of SegWit, took place in the network Bitcoin in August last year. Among the services that already support the technology – wallets Ledger, Trezor, Electrum and Samourai Wallet, as well as Crypto-exchanges HitBTC, ShapeShift and Bitstamp. In order to understand how SegWit helps the Bitcoin network, it is necessary to imagine at the simplest level the everyday routine of bitcoin-transactions that travel through the Bitcoin network in the form of “information packets”, and their authenticity and accuracy are checked by nodes. If all the nodes agree that the transaction is correct, then a consensus is reached. The transaction itself consists of two parts: input and output – “input” and “exit”, from which the first part is responsible for “unlocking”, that is, obtaining bitcoins (and contains information about the sender), and the second – for “locking” for potential future shipment. The input data also contains a signature certifying the correspondence of the private and public keys.

SegWit technology (Segregated Witness) splits the transaction into two parts and transfers the signature (“witness”) necessary to “unlock” the obtained bitcoins, to the end of the transaction, outside the main block. In this case, the main unit contains data about the recipient and the sender, and the “witness” contains scripts and signatures, that is, information that is necessary to confirm the transaction, but then will never be used. Taking into account that the signatures occupied about 60% of the transaction volume, their isolation significantly reduces the block size, thereby increasing the network bandwidth and reducing the cost of transaction charges.

Author: Richard Abermann


One comment

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