According to this article on Coindesk, the new Bitcoin for in November will alter the way mobile wallets can process their transactions on the blockchain. The basic premise is that even this close to a hard fork there is not a consensus on how to move forward even with the developers of Segwit2x. The current idea is to move forward with a hard fork in November leaving out a mechanism dubbed “Reply Protection”.
Now as a Security freak, leaving out something called protection, immediately raised red flags to me in a public relation since of understanding the argument. In reality what the idea is for is to allow mobile users to have the same experience as other coins like Ether, in which their device, ie a cell phone, does not need to carry a full copy of the blockchain. In the Ethereum world this is called SPV. The article goes on to joke that the “V” in SPV stands for victim. Though when reading Ethereum forms like this one, you find that the name like most technical items has a very functional acronym and stands for Simplified Payment Verification. Which is in reference to not having to carry a full copy of the blockchain on the device.
Now in November *if* Reply Protection was turned on what would happen is that the devices would have to carry two copies of the blockchain to be truly accurate. One for Bitcoin and one for the new chain/coin. (BitGo)
Obviously older smart phones that have no expansion compacity could find themselves strapped for space extremely fast with each chain weighing in clos to 130Gb. In fact, in top of the line models the math obviously doesn’t work for a 256Gb phone.
Why is Reply Protection a thing? – Well honestly based on everything I read it really comes down to some group did not like the fact of when the blockchain splits that there are duplicated coins out there on both networks. They rather you transact on one. So instead of allowing market forces to prevail even if the choice is not to have a clear winner, they want to hard code an into the update that you have to make a choice. Ok, I may have lost a few there with my personal thought, so let me explain a little further. When Bitcoin broke in two and BitcoinCash was born, everyone who had access to their private keys to their wallet also had the same value in coins on both blockchains. Thus, instantly you had free coins in the new currency and could transact anywhere they were accepted. Supposedly where the problem with this arises, is that some users, assumingly some who have large stakes of funds in the project because who ever really listens to the small investor… (personal bias with some tongue in cheek here) lost funds because they didn’t understand how to maximize the private key situation. Supposedly the argument is that Replay Protection would ensure that if you spend funds on one chain that the other chain would catch up on the transactions and thus on both chains you would end up with the same balance, instead of it being treated like two unique individual coins.
So how does that affect mobile users, this means that even if you have your private keys and move funds around. The Segwit2x update / BitcoinGold update is going to ensure you only have one set of coinage. This is because, well quite honestly shitty programming, that Segwit2x implantation can willingly or not, pretend to be Bitcoin on the chain and thus the way Mobile Users connect, the could unknowingly spend funds on the wrong chain.
There are all sorts of ideas to correct the issues or avoid the issue etc. If I was the manager of this project and we were this close to go-no-go time, I’d shelve moving forward until resolutions could be made in which endangerment to the integrity of the product was not an option on the table. That is exactly what we are talking about here. Being able to trust a blockchain to provide a true accounting.
If one implementation could interfere with the other, then if it were my call, pull the plug on the upgrade. Allow for more time in testnet to work out the bugs.
I know it is cliché but if it is worth going back and fixing, then it is worth getting done right the first time.
aka Soulbound Heart