Bitcoin Scaling Watch: News & Guides to Navigate the Coming Clash of Code

CoinDesk compiles the news, guides, explainers and real-time updates to keep you up-to-date on everything bitcoin scaling.

AccessTimeIconJul 13, 2017 at 6:52 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 11, 2021 at 1:32 p.m. UTC

As bitcoin heads into July, the protocol stands on the cusp of major changes to its code.

The result of years of heated discussion on how to expand the capabilities of bitcoin for greater transaction volumes, two key proposals now stand on the verge of potentially disrupting or upgrading the network.

While generally described as a "civil war," the battle over bitcoin's technical roadmap is more nuanced.

Yet, that's not to say there couldn't be real consequences.

To help readers understand this turbulent time, we're assembling content, both new and old, to serve as a guide to the debate and a real-time way to track news and updates.

In the days to come, we'll be updating this post as a resource. We're happy to consider collaborations and improvements as we seek to inform the world about changes and movements in bitcoin code.

The Big Picture

"Either the $40bn economic network ... is on the verge of the biggest change in its history, or the most advanced scaling compromise is headed toward its biggest political failure."

Penned by CoinDesk's Pete Rizzo and Alyssa Hertig, our overview piece helps frame the debate, introducing key concepts and timelines.

The Step-By-Step

For a more detailed overview, we've also compiled a chart of major timelines and outcomes.

Other media outlets have since offered their takes on the situation ahead. Below, is a list of our favorites.

Recommended reading:

Guides & Explainers

Along the way, we'll release new guides and explainers aimed at taking high-level looks at some of the more granular aspects of the code proposals.


The most widely supported (and most controversial proposal), Segwit2x has perhaps the greatest chance of being activated.

In this explainer piece, Alyssa Hertig outlines (in simple terms) what the proposal aims to do, what inspired it and how it works.

BIP 148

In response to perceptions miners and startups are pushing their view on the bitcoin roadmap, some users have threatened revolt.

Here, Alyssa Hertig explains the proposal and its possible implications.

BIP 91

A complement to Segwit2x, BIP 91 may well end up mediating between the two proposals.

Here, Alyssa Hertig and Bailey Reutzel outline how it works, who's running the code and what will happen if (and when) it goes live.

Recommended reading:

Analysis & Opinion

Once you're past the 101, you may want to dive deeper to understand the cultural and intellectual underpinnings of the debate.

The politics

Here, Pete Rizzo wades into explaining the influence miners, startups and developers have on bitcoin, exploring what keeps these groups together, as well as the issues keeping them at odds.

The history

This isn't to say the scaling debate is a new story.

In fact, disagreements have gone on so long, many have feared (or hoped) they would never come to any head. Here, Alyssa Hertig outlines the reasons why.

The ideology

But, who doesn't want to scale? It turns out, there might be valid and well-reasoned arguments for this outlook.

Recommended reading:

Disclosure: CoinDesk is a subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which helped organize the Segwit2x agreement.

Image via Alex Sunnarborg for CoinDesk


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