Major Data Integrity Check by Bitcoin is Removed by Segregated Witness Protocol
Segregated Witness (SegWit) is a new process being implemented that involves a soft fork change in Bitcoin. However, when it originated in 2017, Dr. Peter Rizum commented that the involvement of SegWit in Bitcoin’s protocol changes the entire definition of the token platform. The whitepaper specifically says, “We define an electronic coin as a chain of digital signatures.”
By establishing this change, it eliminates a major integrity check. Bitcoin hosts a distributed ledger system over a massive database, and every database has their own ways of maintaining data integrity. For instance, with Bitcoin, they offer user-defined integrity, which is a set of rules for a specific application.
One of the crucial parts of a Bitcoin ledger is that there is a record of signatures that verify that each coin transaction occurs correctly. Signatures cannot be forged on the blockchain, which is one of the ways that the crypto industry protects users. This is the way that they establish an important integrity check, though consumers should always be aware of the potential fraud that could be committed on the blockchain. This is a policy that goes across nearly every platform.
With SegWit, Dr. Ruzin explains how SegWit’s new protocol changes that entirely.
“In a Bitcoin, the signatures are an integral part of the chain. Carol can only verify the complete chain of ownership if all the signatures exist because if even a single signature is missing, the chain breaks down…there’s no way to follow it through.
A SegWit coin is different because the signatures are all outside of the chain. If even none of the signatures exist, or maybe none of the signatures were even real to begin with, Carol can still validate the chain of custody. I’m using the word custody instead of the chain of ownership, because SegWit really only shows custody.”
Essentially, the signature is still in SegWit, but it does not have to be used to verify the transaction. The “witness data” is in a completely different section, which means there’s active data but no integrity check to spend coins. When transactions occur with SegWit, the witness data has to be published, and a witness root hash has to commit the block. In both SegWit and non-SegWit circumstances, the miner still is responsible for checking the signatures on each block, though SegWit does not give the link with each transaction.
There are many investors in favor of this structure, saying that it would require a 51% attack for miners to check the signatures on the blockchain no longer. Even if that is true, this entire model has change, and the previous integrity check has been replaced. Investors have to rely on miners now, instead of the security that used to be in place. Since all of these blocks are unlinked, there is no proof of theft if the platform were to be attacked, which is great news for hackers, but not the investors.
Security issues that pose a realistic threat on the blockchain involve unpredictable circumstances, like a failure to publish data because of software or hardware problems. Another concern is a 51% attack, since miners would not see that the attack on one block is connected to the other blocks, and they would continue to mine. The miners would basically do the work of the hackers for them.
At the moment, thankfully, none of these threats or problems have been executes, as far as experts can tell. Even without the integrity check in place, the blocks still have signatures. As long as miners continue to offer promising security, then the threats may never take place.