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Litecoin 0.13.2 and SegWit support signaling

2017-01-24 14:45 UTC

As you certainly know, a new version of Litecoin Core, 0.13.2, was released just a few days ago. This release includes many new features and improvements, which you can find listed on the official blog of the Litecoin Project.

Among these new features is the greatly anticipated Segregated Witness (“SegWit”), which, among other things, eliminates the risk of transaction malleability and increases efficiency and block capacity; on the other hand, it has also been criticized for its technical complexity. SegWit represents an extension of the original Bitcoin/Litecoin protocol, and in order to retain full backwards compatibility with existing software, the development team decided to implement it as a so-called soft fork. What this means in practice is that, starting from the second difficulty retarget after January 28, each individual pool and solo miner will be able to signal whether they are willing and able to enforce SegWit. Once 75% of the miners (by hash rate) signal their support, a transition period of two weeks will start, at the end of which SegWit will be activated.

Note that, because of the aforementioned backwards compatibility, the upgrade to Litecoin 0.13.2 is not mandatory for regular users, nor need pool miners update their mining software. An upgrade is only necessary for pools and solo miners.

Due to how pooled mining works, only pool operators, not individual pool miners, can signal their support of SegWit. However, in order to stay true to the spirit of decentralized cryptocurrencies, we have decided to give each of our users the ability to cast their personal vote on the soft fork. It's easy: just scroll to the bottom of your account settings, select your preference, and click on the “Save” button. (If you wish to abstain, you don't need to do anything.)

After the signaling period starts, we commit to represent the preferences expressed by our miners as faithfully as possible, by signaling support proportionally to their hash rates. The hash rate of abstaining miners will also be taken into consideration, and their share will be split between the two options at the pool operators' discretion; we will probably count it as negative in the beginning, to give miners enough time to discover that they have the opportunity to vote; then, after some time, we will start considering abstentions as “no objection” (positive) votes. If we collect enough votes, we plan to publish some minimal statistics on the results; rest assured, however, that we will not disclose the votes of individual users.

TL;DR: Pool users can now express their preference on the upcoming SegWit soft fork in their account settings. No software upgrade is needed.