The Bitcoin community has gone through a bit of drama in the past few months. It’s experienced two hard forks, one in the beginning August and one at the end of October.
However, the forking saga isn’t over yet as another flavor of Bitcoin—SegWit2x—is splitting the community to pieces in the lead-up to its release date on November 16, 2017.
Amid all the drama surrounding this split, Charlie Lee—Litecoin’s creator—threw his own hat into the ring by calling SegWit2x a “51% attack” in a tweet, adding that “Bitcoin will eventually lose the crypto throne” if miners manage to “kill” Bitcoin’s original blockchain.
This comment is interesting, as earlier in the year, Litecoin successfully got the consensus necessary to implement the first version of SegWit. Bitcoin's SegWit adoption, however, didn't go very well, as its hashrate still hovers around 10 percent.
Comparing SegWit2x to a “51% attack” appears to represent the sentiment that this hard fork could end up hijacking the Bitcoin network in such a way that investors will lose confidence in its value as a cryptocurrency.
The split is not just one happening in the blockchain. Bitcoin’s community is also going through a significant amount of friction regarding SegWit2x.
SegWit2x’s main supporter is, unsurprisingly, its lead developer, Jeff Garzik. By merely doubling Bitcoin’s block size, he argues, the hard fork will be an update that will not force nodes to upgrade their software to something that changes the code drastically.
“Changing message container size has a much lower risk profile and delivers provable added capacity to sites in a way that does not require them to upgrade core financial systems,” he wrote in his blog on Medium.
The fork has some detractors, among them Bitcoin.org itself. In a blog post on the site, the developers warn of incompatibility with certain services and take a jab at SegWit2x supporters.
“It is a rushed and hasty upgrade which only has minority community support and has been thoroughly rejected by users and the technical community,” they wrote.
On Reddit and other outlets where Bitcoin is actively discussed, many fear that SegWit2x will threaten the decentralization of the cryptocurrency.
Indeed, if we look at BitMEX’s list of the signatories of the agreement that gave birth to this fork, we find that 33 out of 56 of them are portfolio companies of the Digital Currency Group (DCG).
Somehow, this gives a bit of credence to Lee when he says that this is a 51% attack. There’s also the fact that transactions from both currencies will be broadcast on the Bitcoin blockchain.
The real question right now is whether the fork will go through successfully at all, since support for SegWit2x was dropping a month before the destined release date.
The ground that this particular fork stands on gets even shakier when we take into consideration the fact that F2Pool stopped signaling it.
In the big scheme of things, the fork might either experience problems with its hashing rate that would make it unattractive to miners or it will just fall apart entirely and remain as “meh” in terms of its relevance to the Bitcoin community as SegWit was when it first hit the scene in late August this year.