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SegWit activated for Bitcoin on August 23rd- and a week later, users are still looking for evidence that the speed of the network would pick up. There are still nodes that work without the upgrade, but the majority of nodes run the new code, with different rules on transaction data and how they are bundled into a block.

For more information on how transactions work on the blockchain, visit our guide.

Bitcoin Market Price

Just around the adoption of SegWit, Bitcoin fell to a temporary low around $3,600. After that, Bitcoin regained its positions to climb smoothly to new highs above $4,500. But Bitcoin is subject to too many price pressures to be certain that SegWit was the sole reason for optimism.

Bitcoin Speed

When we talk about speed, we may mean the subjective expectations that personal transactions would pass and become verified in a reasonable time. So far, there is no clearly visible connection between SegWit activation and the decrease in mempool size.

The mempool is a collection of pending transactions that each node collects before including in a block. And mempool levels have been rising and falling chaotically in the past month.

Besides, SegWit transactions are still only a small percentage of all transactions in a block. While this level is rising gradually, the adoption may take a while before SegWit becomes the norm. So far, despite the enthusiasm, the growth for SegWit adoption is off to a slow start, not an exponential growth.

The wide application of SegWit may be slowed down due to technological constraints, as simply changing one rule about Bitcoin will not solve all problems for all participants. A lot more work from developers would be needed to bring about observable changes in the usage of Bitcoin.

Wallet Adoption

So far, SegWit is just one piece of code- and a lot of end users need an update to integrate it and use it. Otherwise, there is no magical way to make the whole network run faster. Users of the Bitcoin Core wallet, in fact, cannot make SegWit style transactions. To compare, the Litecoin Wallet version 0.13.2 is SegWit-compatible, but the network adopted that approach months ago.

So only six days after the consensus and activation, SegWit is still in a technological limbo, with all of Bitcoin's software infrastructure needing updates to run the new rules safely.

Blockchain Statistics After Segwit

The Bitcoin difficulty was set to lower today:

There is no way to tell if the near 4% difficulty correction is due to SegWit or other factors are in place, mainly Bitcoin Cash mining. But still, this is a remarkable change for Bitcoin, as it is one of the few times that difficulty has adjusted downward in the last two years. The late August drop in difficulty would be the largest downward adjustment since August 2016, when difficulty decreased by 5.13%.

The Bitcoin hash rate has bottomed out at least twice since the date of SegWit activation. Again, this may be due to miners switching to Bitcoin Cash temporarily. The hash rate for Bitcoin had settled above 6,000 PH/S (petahash per second), but dropped suddenly to as low as 4,300 PH/s.

Transaction Fees

Transaction fees, both minimum and maximum, are a measure of how much a user needs to pay to increase the chances of his transaction to be included in the next block, instead of waiting for up to two weeks before timing out.

As it is easily seen, total transaction fees for miners have been on the rise, mostly unaffected by SegWit. Some users expect the fees to decrease gradually instead of dropping to zero, as there would be long months with mixed transactions in each block.

Opinions and Criticism

Given the lack of dramatic changes, SegWit has had its share of critics. Some believe that increasing block size is still the better answer. And there is the talk of another hard fork for Bitcoin in November.

The last hard fork on August 1st created Bitcoin Cash, as some of the miners supported the alternate chain. In November, there is still no clear idea if the hard fork will only be a software update, or if part of the miners will move on to support the redundant change, creating yet another version of Bitcoin.

So far, there have been no reports of problematic transactions, and for Bitcoin, it has been mostly business as usual. So at least SegWit did not cause immediate troubles because of incompatible transactions.

Future Promises

The adoption of SegWit comes with more promises for the future. The two most significant ones are the Lightning Network, still in the testing stage. And there is the potential to build atomic swaps, nearly friction-free exchanges between different blockchains. The most accessible pairing would be between Bitcoin and Litecoin.