Segregated Witness testnet is claimed to have mined a 3.6 MB block. According to developers, the new protocol coupled with the Lightning Network and other features will solve the bitcoin scaling problem.

Information about the first increased size blocks mined on SegNet 4 (the fourth SegWit testnet) has been published on the testnet's website and Reddit portal. Tadge Drija, a Bitcoin Core developer, emphasises that the SegNet 4 is a tesnet, therefore, all blocks there mined should not be regarded as a part of the actual blockchain. 

According to him, testnet transactions will never be used on mainnet as they contain no public keys or signatures. Drija also mentions that after the final SegWit implementation bitcoin-users will see block size increase to about 1.7 MB or even 2 MB (in the case of using multisig P2WSH-address). 

Drija states that from the technical point of view the size increase is not the most important aspect of the SegWit upgrade. There will be more crucial features such as the Lightning Network (micropayments processing protocol allowing the system to evaluate transactions without obligatory appeal to the blockchain) and Schnorr digital signatures.

Earlier, Bitcoin developers released the new bitcoin protocol 0.12.1, which includes some important features that help to improve bitcoin network scalability. All the three BIP implemented in the last Bitcoin Core protocol provide more flexibility and security for locktime transactions.

In March, the fourth and probably final test version of the Segregated Witness was launched. One of the developers, Eric Lombrozo, claimed that the implementation of SegWit was expected to take place in April, although he did not exclude that the dates could be shifted due to the need for rigorous testing of the new protocol.

The main difference between the “soft fork” Segregated Witness and the “hard fork” Bitcoin Classic solution is that after the adoption of SegWit only miners would be required to do an immediate software upgrade. All other users can join in whenever they wish without any risk to be disconnected from the network. 

Elena Platonova