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A controversial scaling proposal activated on bitcoin last night, though to a lesser effect than originally planned.
Bitcoin Improvement Proposal (BIP) 148, the much-discussed user-activated soft fork (UASF) activated at block 478,484 on the bitcoin blockchain, though its controversial code changes were subverted by another proposal designed to disable it.
Popularly branded as a protest effort, BIP 148 allowed bitcoin’s node operators a way to show their displeasure with miners, who they believed were blocking popular code updates, and startups, who they thought should not have a say in such matters.
As such, BIP 148 emerged as perhaps the most contentious way for the network to enact Segregated Witness, one that while influential, never achieved widespread endorsement.
If things had gone differently, users, mining pools, and companies running the BIP 148 nodes would have started rejecting blocks that did not signal support for SegWit yesterday. There’s a chance this would have caused bitcoin to split into two competing assets, something that will now happen via a miner-activated hard fork (MAHF) scheduled for later today.
By now, however, fears of a sudden split by way of BIP 148 have been avoided. Thanks partly to a proposal known as BIP 91, bitcoin mining pools were able to rally together in time to avoid a possible split by locking in SegWit for activation.
In this way, BIP 148’s activation is arguably more symbolic than important, marking the avoidance of a split that may soon occur.
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