Many of you might be aware of something known as a bitcoin fork. There has already been a lot of debate going on in the crypto world about this specific topic. However, many people and especially noobs to the crypto world might have heard about this thing called a UASF and BIP and been like whatttt. What are those? So if you happen to be on the flip side of things here, then I this post might be the place where you will say I know what those terms mean, after reading it. And then be like “Now I can be a part of these discussions and sound smart like other people.” Lol.
Alright, so let us dig in shall we?
What is UASF
UASF is an acronym that stands for User Activated Soft Fork regarding bitcoin.
It was supposed to be an initiative to activate a bitcoin soft fork at a particular date and administered by a majority of full nodes rather than depending on miners. However, for achieving success in their endeavors participating nodes should have been a part of a so-called “economic majority,” i.e., users, exchanges and businesses with a significant hold over the bitcoin economy.
Earlier, a UASF was efficiently carried out to activate the P2SH soft fork. On Feb 25, 2017, an unknown or rather a secret contributor named Shaolin Fry suggested that UASF is used to enable Segregated Witness and later on published details in BIP148.
Additional info: UASF is also occasionally misspelled as USAF. USAF is not a standard acronym for anything concerning bitcoin or blockchain technologies. A UASF needs the coordination of 3 things: developer, industry, and user.
Alright, so now that we have some basic knowledge about UASF let us move on to the next thing that is a BIP. Then you guys can flaunt your knowledge to other noobs and probably direct them here as well. Lol.
What is a BIP in Bitcoin
BIP is the short form of Bitcoin improvement proposal.
According to Bitcoin wiki , ” A Bitcoin Improvement Proposal (BIP) is a design document for introducing features or information to Bitcoin. The BIP should not only provide a concise technical specification of the element but also a rationale for this proposed feature. This is the conventional way of communicating ideas since Bitcoin has no formal structure.
The first BIP (BIP 0001) was submitted by Amir Taaki on 2011-08-19 and described what a BIP is.”
Now a majority of you reading this post might be aware of the fact that any single entity or company does not govern Bitcoin, and it is because of this very fact that Bitcoin seems to be having no formal structure for proposing improvements in its protocol.
Any developer or anyone living anywhere in the world has the power to propose a BIP. However, after a BIP does get introduced, it is entirely up to the whole Bitcoin community consisting of users, miners, developers, and investors to vote and decide whether or not to implement that proposal.
The list of BIPs submitted so far to the Bitcoin community can be found here.
Types of BIPS
There are three major types of BIPs:
1. Standards Track BIPs – These types of BIPs involve making modifications in the network protocol, block or transaction validation, or anything affecting interoperability.
2. Informational BIPs – These types of BIPs focus on design issues, general guidelines. This type of BIP is NOT for proposing new features and does not represent the community consensus.
3. Process BIPs – BIPs of this nature illustrate or recommend a change in the process. They are similar to Standards BIPs but may apply outside of the Bitcoin protocol as well.
It is identical to BIP 141 and is a soft fork Segwit solution that was created in May 2017 by James Hilliard(Bitmain’s warranty engineer). BIP 91 is the recommended method for activating the current Segwit solution (i.e., BIP 141) with a hash power majority less than 95% (i.e., BIP 91 requires only 80% of Bitcoin’s miners to signal support for Segwit, which had already happened in July 2017).
Segregated witness ( aka segwit or BIP 141 )
A couple of Bitcoin Core developers in 2015 came up with this proposal known as BIP 141 a.k.a. Segregated Witness (abbreviated as SegWit) which is an implemented protocol upgrade intended to provide protection from transaction malleability and increase block capacity. It is also a soft fork which requires a majority (95%) of miners to signal for the upgrade over two weeks.
BIP 148 (aka UASF-User activated soft fork):
BIP 148 is another user activated soft-fork SegWit solution that was proposed in March 2017 by a mysterious author named Shaolin Fry. It deals with a bitcoin block size problem by separating the digital signature from the original section of the block. As a soft fork, BIP 148 does not inherently split the network. BIP 148 requires bitcoin miners to signal for SegWit, which means they show that they are ready to use blocks with the SegWit protocol.
This is an upgrade backed with the intention to hard fork Bitcoin. The proposal included two separate parts a). Activate Segregated Witness in August 2017 and b). Trigger a hard fork for a 2-megabyte block size. After the activation of SegWit in August as part of the proposal, the next step in the process was to hard fork to increase the block size; the fork was estimated to occur on 16th November 2017.
In August 2017 the execution of Segregated Witness witnessed the first half of the so-called “New York Agreement” being implemented in which people who wanted to increase effective block size by SegWit compromised with other people who wanted to expand block size by a hard fork. The second half of SegWit2X included a hard fork in November 2017 to increase the block size to 2 megabytes. Some companies that initially supported the New York Agreement backed-out, including F2Pool, Bitwala, and Wayniloans.
Another case in point is that something is known as lightning network also gets activated if SegWit gets enabled. So for those of you that are unaware of what lightning network is this is a little taste of what it is.
The lightning network is a second-layer bitcoin application that’s in the very early stages of development. It was proposed by Joseph Poon and Thaddeus Dryja in a 2015 whitepaper as a way to solve bitcoin’s notorious scalability problem: the blockchain’s throughput maxes out at a handful of transactions per second, compared to tens of thousands for major credit card networks. This leads to long wait times and contributes to occasional spikes in transaction fees.
User activated Hard Fork (aka UAHF/Bitcoin ABC/Bitcoin Cash BCC)
According to Github “Bitcoin ABC is an open source software which supports the use of Bitcoin. It is developed to facilitate a hard fork to increase Bitcoin’s block size limit.”
“ABC” is the acronym for “Adjustable Blocksize Cap.”
This solution is also designated as a user activated hard fork (UAHF), but in my opinion, it should be called a “miner activated hard fork” (aka MAHF). The reason for this is that it was introduced and validated by a small group of miners and it was supposed to be a contingency plan if at all BIP 148 (aka UASF) was activated on August 1, 2017.
So that wraps up this section on important BIPS. Pretty cool. Right?