This is one of THE most widely used Bitcoin wallets in the world.
They claim here over 18m wallets have been created or managed through Blockchain.info and they have broadcast over 100m transactions.
This means that what Blockchain.info does with their platform matters.
It matters because they are the wallet of choice for the average non-technical user and because of that, any technical change they make to their platform that the average user doesn’t understand, means Blockchain.info are essentially making that choice for them.
One of the main reasons people go to Blockchain is because they want a simple user experience that hides a lot of the complexity.
The flip side to that however is that their 18m users may not fully understand the implications of what Blockchain.info decide to do.
I recently pointed out for example that on Segwit Party:
…a site that tracks the percentage of transactions that use the SegWit address format, shows that this is still only happening for about 10% of Bitcoin transactions.
I also pointed out that Blockchain.info probably have a lot to do with this.
I use Blockchain like I would my regular wallet. It’s the one I carry with me all the time with a small amount of Bitcoin in it for spending at places that accept it.
I noticed that even now after Segwit has been with us for months, when I click receive in my Blockchain.info wallet, it doesn’t generate a Segwit address.
So that means all the thousands and thousands of transactions per day day that originate from Blockchain.info wallets are using the old transaction format and taking up more blockspace than they need to.
This is especially important right now when BTC.com is reporting a pool of unconfirmed transactions that totals 96MB, and it’s been at this level for days now.
So to be clear, Blockchain failing to fully adopt Segwit into their platform is contributing to this backlog.
Not contributing to it exactly but holding back on something that could seriously ease the problem. And like I said most of their users have no idea this is going on.
Now time for the news:
In a blog post published on the 15th of November, Blockchain announced that they are going to make 2 major changes to their wallet platform.
The first change is to add Bitcoin Cash support by the end of the year, and the second is that they’ll be rolling out Segwit towards the end of March 2018.
18m wallets remember so this huge.
Putting the Bitcoin Cash thing to one side, as soon as Blockchain.info switch their platform to use Segwit by default, all their users will start generating Segwit address when they click receive.
This will do the whole Bitcoin ecosystem some good in terms of transaction backlogs since Blockchain.info will no longer be a big source of old style transactions that take up more space.
It’s still 4 months away, which is an eternity in the Bitcoin world, but at least we are no longer in the dark about this.
Now I’m going to slightly contradict myself.
I said that the average Blockchain.info user comes to them because they want a simple interface and for Blockchain.info to hide the complexity.
Well, by the end of this year, all those users are going to see a 3rd cryptocurrency appear in their wallet.
Blockchain.info already supports Bitcoin and Ethereum, but one day you’ll log in and see you now have a place to store your Bitcoin Cash.
This will have many repercussions. One of the most major being that suddenly millions of people who may never have even heard of Bitcoin Cash will discover it for the first time.
Another implication is that some users might accidentally try and send from their Bitcoin wallet inside Blockchain.info to their Bitcoin Cash address.
I think the Blockchain developers will catch this and prevent it from happening but they can’t prevent a user from accidentally sending from an external Bitcoin wallet and trying to receive it into their Bitcoin Cash wallet.
This is really down to the Bitcoin Cash developers. I thought there was some talk about changing the address format so that there was a clear distinction between Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash addresses but that seems to have gone quiet.
So in conclusion:
I bet one of the reasons Blockchain have given themselves several months to make these changes is not just about software development but to get their support team ready.
I can see them receiving a tidal wave of support tickets from confused users asking everything from ‘what is this Bitcoin Cash’ to ‘I sent my Bitcoin to my Cash address by accident’ and so on.
On a more abstract level, are they doing the right thing giving their users the choice between Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash?
They say it is due to user demand, however I can already hear people objecting on the basis that if Bitcoin Cash did not carry the Bitcoin name, Blockchain would not be making this move.
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