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Lombrozo: Bitcoin Core Developers May Never Use Miner-Focused BIP 9 Signaling Again

One of the key points of contention in the politicization of Bitcoin protocol development over the past couple of years has been the concept of miner signaling. While not intended to be a vote among miners to decide the future of the Bitcoin network, Ciphrex CEO and Bitcoin Core contributor Eric Lombrozo pointed out that miners are now using the signaling process as leverage in the discussion over Bitcoin scaling.

Lombrozo made the comments during a discussion with host Thomas Hunt and Bitcoin developer Jimmy Song on Hunt’s Mad Bitcoins YouTube channel.

“This whole signaling thing is a huge problem that I think created a very terrible narrative,” said Lombrozo.

What Is BIP 9?

BIP 9 is a method of rolling out soft-fork upgrades to Bitcoin. The short description of this process is that soft-forked changes will be enabled once 95 percent of miners have signaled to the network that they are ready for activation, using a trick called “version bits.”

“It was an arbitrary system created by developers in order to coordinate smooth soft-fork transitions,” said Lombrozo. “It was not designed to be a political system for voting on controversial issues ever — that was never the intention.”

Lombrozo also noted that, in the past, soft forks have been deployed on Bitcoin without any special treatment for miners, and BIP 9 was supposed to solve some of the issues miners could face during the deployment of a soft fork.

“It was introduced for the courtesy of miners to be able to reduce their orphan rates and reduce the probability that they’re going to end up mining blocks that are actually invalid — that was the real motivation behind it,” said Lombrozo.

According to Lombrozo, the goal is still to get nodes upgraded and enforce the rules of the soft fork; BIP 9 was simply a technique to coordinate with miners.

The Ciphrex CEO added that there was nothing like miner signaling in the original version of Bitcoin,...

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