Popular cold storage wallet solution, Trezor, announced its latest firmware upgrade. Version 1.6.0 offers support for more tokens. It also implements support for segregated witness addresses, using Bech32 instead of the usual P2SH format, potentially saving block size on the Bitcoin network. As the first hard wallet to use Bech32, the company’s update might help in lowering bitcoin transaction costs along with freeing up mempool congestion especially if more wallets follow suit.
Trezor First Cold Storage Wallet to Embrace Bech32
“Long, at last, the expected firmware update,” a company announcement began, “has arrived! We managed to pack many different updates into today’s iteration, mainly — but not limited to — an expanded support of cryptocurrencies. We also implemented Bech32 and other useful features,” it claims.
Analysts believe the Trezor firmware update is a milestone in wallet addresses in that it is one of the first to implement the full segwit Bech32 feature. While wallets using segwit exist, they invariably rely on pay-to-script hash (P2SH), which has been a bone of contention for developers in the block size debate.
For those on the bitcoin cash side, segwit itself is an unnecessary feature when raising the block size is available. Indeed, that view caused a hard fork on August 1st of this year, creating bitcoin cash.
Bech32 addresses are thought to take up less space than its P2SH counterpart. Trezor’s move to make it native, potentially allows for smaller transactions, a battle cry hurled at bitcoin Core supporters by BCHers. That Core enthusiasts would even tout micro-transactions is a step toward the bitcoin cash argument and a point of agreement.
Indeed, in these very pages, no less than bitcoin cash developer Amaury Séchet praised Bech32 as a way to support future innovation.
Support from Both Sides
For most, security is paramount. And the Bech32 implementation doesn’t compromise on security, yet in theory its address formats are easier to relay, read, and mistakes aren’t as frequent. It also goes to the block size debate in that Core might concede such addresses would free-up space on the BTC blockchain, enabling relief for a notoriously congested mempool.
Some in the community have argued Bech32 should be the adopted standard going-forward for Core supported wallets. Back at the beginning of Fall, Openbazaar’s Brian Hoffman announced the marketplace was itself experimenting with the addresses; in Spring of this year, Core developer Pieter Wuille gave an introduction to Bech32 (see video below).
In November, the Electrum 3.0 wallet became the first to use Bech32 (see line 43 of Release Notes), stating “Native segwit scripts are represented using bech32 addresses, following BIP173. Please note that BIP173 is still in draft status, and that other wallets/websites may not support it. Thus, you should keep a non-segwit wallet in order to be able to receive bitcoins during the transition period,” they noted.
Trezor walks customers through installation, and it also announced support for tokens such as Bitcoin Gold, Expanse, and Ubiq.
With praise from all sides for its firmware 1.6.0 update, it could be the start of the two camps having an agreed-upon topic toward fruitful conversations.
Do you think Bech32 can be a starting point of agreement in the bitcoin wars? Let us know in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Pixabay, Trezor.
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Author: C. Edward Kelso