BIP 79: Exploring the User-Activated Soft Fork (UASF) Initiative

BIP 79, or User Activated Soft Fork (UASF) ๐Ÿš€ is a neat and exciting mechanism that lets Bitcoin’s community establish consensus ๐Ÿ’ช for new upgrades through their nodes ๐Ÿ“ก, even without the direct support of miners โ›๏ธ. This serves to decentralize the decision-making process ๐ŸŒ and takes power away from just a few participants, ensuring that the majority voices ๐Ÿ—ฃ๏ธ are heard ๐Ÿ”Š. Essentially, it shifts the focus โœจ of approving changes from miners to the users, thus giving more control to the Bitcoin enthusiasts ๐Ÿ’– and making the network even more democratic. ๐Ÿ™Œ So, UASF lets everybody contribute to Bitcoin’s evolution, keeping it free, open, and transparent! ๐Ÿš€๐ŸŒˆ

BIP 79: Exploring the User-Activated Soft Fork (UASF) Initiative

๐Ÿš€ BIP 79: Exploring the User-Activated Soft Fork (UASF) Initiative ๐Ÿš€

Introduction ๐ŸŽ‰

You might have heard of the User-Activated Soft Fork (UASF) initiative in the world of Bitcoinโ€”a decentralized, strategic protocol upgrade that aims to implement the much-needed scalability improvement for Bitcoin transactions. ๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿ’ฐ But what is UASF in reality? And why was it so necessary for Bitcoin? Well, that’s a topic worth exploring! So hold on to your helmets, folks, as we’re about to embark on an exciting journey into the world of BIP 79: The User-Activated Soft Fork initiative. ๐Ÿค“๐Ÿง

Table of Contents ๐Ÿ“–

  1. A Quick Primer on Bitcoin
  2. The Scaling Issue: A Growing Concern
  3. What is a Fork?
  4. Types of Forks: Soft vs. Hard โš–๏ธ
  5. Understanding the User-Activated Soft Fork
    • BIP 79: The Key Features
  6. The UASF Movement: Timeline & Events ๐Ÿ“…
  7. Advantages & Disadvantages
  8. Conclusion

1. A Quick Primer on Bitcoin ๐Ÿฆพ

Before we dive into the UASF initiative, let’s hit rewind and cover the basics. Bitcoin is the first-ever decentralized digital currency founded by the mysterious figure known as Satoshi Nakamoto in 2009. ๐Ÿ•ต๏ธโ€โ™‚๏ธ๐Ÿ’ป The invention of Bitcoin paved the way for numerous cryptocurrencies and introduced the world to the wonders of blockchain technology. ๐Ÿ”—

2. The Scaling Issue: A Growing Concern ๐Ÿ“ˆ

With the growing popularity of Bitcoin, its underlying networkโ€”particularly transaction processing capacityโ€”started to show its limitations. The Bitcoin network can process up to 7 transactions per second (TPS); which hardly stands a chance against other payment networks like Visa (~65,000 TPS). โšก This limitation led to a feverish debate in the Bitcoin community over potential solutions to increase the network capacity. ๐ŸŒ

3. What is a Fork? ๐Ÿด

In the world of cryptocurrencies, a “fork” refers to a software protocol update intended to implement new features or fix issues. It’s a common event in the life of a cryptocurrency project, as software evolves and adapts to the ever-changing demands of the userbase. ๐Ÿ’ผ

4. Types of Forks: Soft vs. Hard โš–๏ธ

There are two main types of forks in the cryptocurrency world: Soft Forks and Hard Forks. Let’s take a quick look at the primary differences between them. ๐Ÿ‘‡

  • Soft Forks ๐Ÿค: A soft fork is a backward-compatible upgrade to the blockchain protocol, which means that nodes running older versions of the software will still be able to participate in the network. The updated nodes enforce new consensus rules, while non-updated nodes continue to use the old rules. It is a more conservative approach to upgrade a cryptocurrency’s protocol. ๐Ÿ‘
  • Hard Forks ๐Ÿ‘Š: A hard fork is a euphemism for a blockchain splitโ€”a fundamental change in the underlying protocol which results in a new, separate blockchain. This split requires all nodes to upgrade their software and adopt the new consensus rules. This can lead to contentious debates among the community, as hard forks may result in new cryptocurrencies incompatible with the old ones. ๐Ÿ˜ฌ

5. Understanding the User-Activated Soft Fork: BIP 79 ๐ŸŽฏ

Given the scaling issue, the Bitcoin community signaled that it was time to adopt more significant changes capable of handling the escalating transaction volumes. One of the proposed solutions is the User-Activated Soft Fork (UASF), as described in Bitcoin Improvement Proposal 79 (BIP 79). ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

BIP 79: The Key Features ๐Ÿ—๏ธ

The primary goal of BIP 79 is to pave the way for the implementation of the Segregated Witness (SegWit) update. SegWit aims to optimize the transaction process within the Bitcoin network by separating the transaction data ๐Ÿ“ from the digital signature ๐Ÿ”. This separation allows for more transactions to fit within a single block on the blockchain, improving transaction throughput.

The UASF, initially planned for activation on August 1, 2017, mandated the support of SegWit by miners. Moreover, the full nodes would take on a more significant role, driving the governance model to ensure the network remains decentralized. ๐ŸŒ

6. The UASF Movement: Timeline & Events ๐Ÿ“…

In the lead-up to the UASF, various factions within the Bitcoin community emerged, with some advocating for their preferred scaling solutions: ๐Ÿšฉ

  • Bitcoin Core developers and proponents argued for a cautious approach, urging for UASF adoption.
  • High-capacity blockchain supporters, who wanted a more aggressive approach, promoted alternative implementations such as Bitcoin Unlimited.
  • A united effort known as the New York Agreement (NYA) or SegWit2x aimed at achieving a consensus by combining SegWit and a block size increase.

Despite the divide, the Bitcoin community ultimately reached a surprising consensus: The majority of miners and nodes signaled their support for SegWit through an accelerated deployment called BIP 91. On August 24, 2017, the long-awaited SegWit update was activated, thus averting the UASF altogether. ๐Ÿ

7. Advantages & Disadvantages ๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ‘Ž๐Ÿผ

UASF has its pros and cons, as with any other technology development.


  • Encourages the implementation of much-needed upgrades like SegWit.
  • Gives more decision-making power to the actual users of Bitcoin, thereby promoting decentralization. ๐Ÿ‘ฅ
  • Offers a safer alternative to a hard fork, reducing the possibility of a network split. ๐Ÿ•Š๏ธ


  • Possible risks of a network split if nodes do not promptly upgrade their software.
  • Establishes a precedent for future updates where users might push for potentially dangerous changes. ๐Ÿ”ช
  • Could lead to uncertainty and controversy within the community due to a lack of definitive support from miners or developers. ๐Ÿคผ

8. Conclusion ๐Ÿ

In a nutshell, the UASF initiative (BIP 79) was a user-driven attempt to implement SegWit and ultimately improve the scalability of the Bitcoin network. ๐Ÿš€ Despite the initial divisions within the community, a consensus was ultimately achieved, and the SegWit update was activated without resorting to UASF.

The UASF movement showcased the power of decentralization in action, as the Bitcoin community collectively addressed and resolved a contentious scaling issue. It highlights the importance of collaboration, trust, and open dialogueโ€”essential ingredients in fostering the growth of blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies. ๐Ÿ’ฏ

The future is bright, and as the saying goes, “to the moon!” ๐ŸŒ™

Disclaimer: We cannot guarantee that all information in this article is correct. THIS IS NOT INVESTMENT ADVICE! We may hold one or multiple of the securities mentioned in this article. NotSatoshi authors are coders, not financial advisors.