The world's most valuable cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, hit $3,600 today, the highest it has ever been since it was first mined in 2009. This doesn't seem to surprise many as bitcoin has been on the rise in the past few weeks. The coin is expected to continue rising in the future, fulfilling the $5,000-before-December prophecies that are thrown around.
The reason for bitcoin's surge is the tremendous belief investors have in it to scale successfully and overcome its current issues. This belief stems from the recent implementation of Segwit, a hotly debated solution which was proposed (and now implemented) to make it scale so that transactions on its network can become faster and cheaper.
Segwit for short, Segregated Witness is a software upgrade on the blockchain network. It removes signature data from blocks, freeing up space for more transactions which in turn makes them faster and cheaper. Segwit was recently locked in on the blockchain following a 100% adoption by miners.
Now, all seems set and things look good but nothing is ever certain in life. Will Segwit be the final solution to the problem of scaling bitcoin? Will Segwit cause complications?
For the most part, Segwit is looking to be the solution everyone was expecting, going by what we have seen so far.
Litecoin, another cryptocurrency which is a fork from bitcoin's code, adopted Segwit three months ago and the technology has been running flawlessly. So far, there has been no issues with the upgrade according to Litecoin Foundation.
Apart from this, Segwit transactions have been growing and its encryption system is top notch as they can't be monitored.
However, it's not all rosy as some users had trouble with the software upgrade, but University of Freiburg computer science researcher, Jochen Hoenicke, said they were "minor" technical issues.
One of the issues is caused by a bug in the mobile litecoin wallet Electrum-LTC. Because of this bug, old versions of the software would "break" when a SegWit transaction is sent to them. There are more wallets dedicated to bitcoinand you can't rule out the possibility of this happening on at least one of those wallets.
Another problem was the address, but in this case, it is specific to litecoin. Litecoin is in the process of phasing a new address type and some people confuse their litecoin address for bitcoin's.
"Some accidentally sent bitcoins to their litecoin SegWit address after using the conversion tool and now have to wait for Segwit to activate on bitcoin," Hoenicke said.
These issues may seem minute and inconsequential but you can't rule out the possibility that they could cause a major headache for bitcoin investors.
There could also be some other unforeseen complications Segwit could bring with it to the bitcoin network. What if it doesn't work? What if it doesn't solve the problem it was supposed to solve? What if it makes things worse? The list goes on and on.
Some members of the bitcoin community fear the whole process of adopting segwit is too fast and could pose some problems. If this happens, their gulp from the tall glass of "I told you so" would be very hurtful.