A group of Bitcoin developers with the support of several high-profile investors and companies have announced Bitcoin Optech, a technology working group with the goal to help companies implement Bitcoin-scaling technologies into their operations.

The group has been having meetings and releasing newsletters for the last few months to bring together members who have worked on the open source development of the Bitcoin network with members of companies who use that network.

Leading the new project is John Newberry, a Bitcoin Core contributor whose quote on the Bitcoin Optech About page perfectly sums up the project:

I started Optech because if Bitcoin is to be successful, then one of the fundamental challenges facing Bitcoin services and businesses will be how to maximize customer utility by making efficient use of the blockchain. Helping Bitcoin ecosystem players adopt scaling techniques and technologies is one of the most effective ways we can help Bitcoin scale today.John Newbery, Bitcoin Optech

Bitcoin Optech was launched with funding from some prominent names in the Bitcoin ecosystem such as Paypal board member and Xapo CEO Wences Casares, crypto investor John Pfeffer and Bitcoin development group Chaincode Labs co-founder Alex Morcos.

The project has also already gathered support from member companies that show the appetite for growing collaboration between bitcoin’s open source community and the businesses using bitcoin. Companies such as Coinbase, Square, Xapo and Ledger have signed on to participate in the Bitcoin Optech technology group.


Bitcoin Optech Focusing on Scaling Technology That Will help Lower Fees for Users

Although there are many promising scaling technologies for Bitcoin being developed such as payment channel technology Lightning, the Bitcoin Optech group will initially focus on solutions that can be implemented by companies today.

Transaction fees in bitcoin are set by the user based on how quickly they wish a particular transaction to be processed by the network. The higher the fees selected, the more likely the transaction will be processed sooner. But these fees are also affected by the congestion of the network as there are more users competing to get their transactions verified.

The more that wallet providers, exchanges, and other companies making use of the bitcoin network can deploy scaling technologies such as SegWit, transaction batching, fee estimation, and coin selection the more efficient the bitcoin network can run, which should keep user fees low.

SegWit (Segregated Witness), for example, is a technology that reduces the amount of information needed to be stored per transaction in a block.

This improvement allows for more transactions to be processed per block, thus improving the transaction throughput on the network. However, SegWit transactions still only number about 35-40% of transactions on the network per data from p2sh.info despite it being part of the bitcoin protocol for almost a year.

Working with companies to help them better understand how to implement technologies like SegWit is beneficial for both the companies’ users and the bitcoin network as a whole.


Maturing the Ecosystem from Twitter Fights to Collaboration and Engagement

So called “crypto Twitter” is infamous for its acrimony and vitriol.

This is no less true when it comes to discussing Bitcoin, the oldest and most ‘mature’ than the latest altcoin or ICO.

The real promise of a working group such as Bitcoin Optech is moving beyond the inane social media beefs to a functional ecosystem with a unified objective to make Bitcoin better and more usable by everyone.

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