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SegWit and Litecoin: Is Activation Imminent?

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This way or that way? The protocol upgrade SegWit is on the verge of a breakthrough to activation on Litecoin. Chief developer Charlie Lee announced to push it through with an UASF if push comes to shove. However, it seems that this will not be necessary after not only F2Pool but also BW.com started to signal readiness. Bitcoiners have good reason to follow the development of the altcoin closely.

While the protocol upgrade SegWit is still far from being activated on Bitcoin, Charlie Lee seems to succeed in implementing it in Litecoin. The major breakthrough was that F2Pool recently started to signal readiness. F2Pool provides nearly half of Litecoin’s hash rate.

However, the signaling rate remained below the activation threshold of 75 percent. Charlie Lee reacted with the announcement to implement a so-called User Activated Soft Fork (UASF) in the next release of Litecoin. The UASF enables users to trigger the activation of a soft fork even if not a sufficient share of miners signal readiness. The users could build SegWit transactions and punish SegWit rejecting miners with orphaning their blocks.

Lee’s commitment to an UASF raised enthusiasm both in the Litecoin as in the Bitcoin community. It would be fascinating to learn how it plays out - if the activation of a soft fork is possible with UASF, or if it ends in chaos. While the Bitcoin community also started to promote UASF and the first companies show a willingness to participate, it seems that Litecoin will not need to become Bitcoin's test field for an experimental soft fork activation. Good for Litecoin, bad for Bitcoin.

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On the morning of April 11, BW.com, a pool which provides six percent of Litecoin’s hash rate, mined the first block signalling for SegWit. With this newest supporter, more than 75 percent of the miners go with Lee’s upgrade plan. Currently, the rate of prepared miners is still at 73 percent, but it can be expected an imminent breakthrough above the 75 percent threshold. If Litecoin keeps this rate for one or two weeks, SegWit will officially be activated.

For the Bitcoin community, this turn of events with the small brother of the cryptocurrency should be extremely thrilling. While it might be a bit disappointing to not see a UASF in action, a massive production of knowledge should still be expected.

Will the SegWit soft fork activate without trouble - or will it result in a hard fork like with Syscoin? Will the Litecoin users use SegWit transactions or will they just ignore it, as Litecoin is nowhere near its capacity limits? Will the new transaction format really extend the block size - and by how much? Will the unspent outputs (UTXO) of standard transactions and SegWit transactions remain fungible? And will the activation of SegWit make Litecoin the laboratory to test the Lightning Network under real conditions and with real crypto money?

The results will be interesting and answer such questions. Depending on how it plays out, the SegWit activation on Litecoin will become a strong reason for or against SegWit on Bitcoin.

The near future of Litecoin will become exciting. Either, because we see how SegWit activates on Litecoin - or because we will experience the implementation of an UASF and with this a possible change of the governance of cryptocurrencies in general.

All this will be interesting even for those who are not invested in Litecoin. But surely not as much as for Litecoiners themselves, who have already started to erupt in enthusiastic cheers. The price is rising, and both chief developer Charlie Lee as chief miner Wang Chun celebrate the upcoming soft fork. And even more than SegWit, perhaps the Bitcoin community is even more envious of the enthusiasm within Litecoin.