No Split for Bitcoin


Bitcoin recently avoided being cleaved in two, thanks to a vital assist from its network of miners.

According to Reuters, the cryptocurrency received a software upgrade that allows transactions to be processed with greater ease and speed. This would lead to a greater number of transactions and, perhaps, even less price volatility for a payment form that now boasts a market capitalization of approximately $40 billion.

SegWit2x, a new software platform, was put in place to help miners sidestep the scaling problem that has been extant for the last few months with Bitcoin.

Bitcoin miners rallied their support behind what is known as “Bitcoin Improvement Proposal 91,” a proposal which keeps the cryptocurrency from being split into two blockchains. The miners, in turn, are part of the network operators who secure all transactions involving Bitcoin.

Support for the proposal comes in at approximately 100 percent of miners, well above the 80 percent threshold required to skirt the split. Another software upgrade now in the works would address the limitations of the current system, which has not been able to keep pace with the millions of daily transactions that have become a hallmark of the cryptocurrency.

Waning enthusiasm for Bitcoin in advance of the possible split into two blockchains had kept the price down to $2,647 after hitting a high of more than $3,000.

One concern within the industry has been rising transaction costs, meaning smaller payments using Bitcoin — and thus a wider range of use cases — have not been in the offering on a network currently limited to processing seven transactions per second. By way of contrast, larger firms such as Visa process thousands of transactions in the same amount of time.

The upcoming software upgrade, also to be accomplished through the SegWit2x platform, will not happen until fall of 2017, according to observers interviewed by Reuters.