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Segregated Witness (SegWit)

Definition - What does Segregated Witness (SegWit) mean?

Segregated Witness (SegWit) is a protocol that has been implemented in the bitcoin cybercurrency community. It is characterized as a soft fork in the bitcoin chain, and has been widely accepted by bitcoin miners and users.

Techopedia explains Segregated Witness (SegWit)

The Segregated Witness protocol is seen as a “soft fork” in that it does not break network consensus. By contrast, a hard fork can “split” the network according to its use. The emergence of Bitcoin Cash, which is now a separate chain, is an example of a hard fork.

In the summer of 2017, as Segregated Witness neared lock-in, experts were championing it as a way to achieve various changes to bitcoin without a hard fork scenario. One such change was the change in how digital signatures are handled and how they are appended to the chain. Segregated Witness also addressed transaction malleability and introduces some useful security changes.

Confusingly, Segregated Witness has been tied to an additional proposal known as “SegWit2x” which would include a hard fork months after the initial adoption of SegWit, which was achieved in August 2017. Another proposal known as BIP 148 includes a user-activated hard fork and also proposes implementing SegWit.

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