Bitcoin​ has had a spectacular year so far, from beginning 2017 with a price just below $1000 to touching $3000 in June. Good and bad news have directed its price trend and will continue to do so. With some crucial dates approaching, the first virtual currency is bound to witness some volatility in its price. These important dates relate to the "scaling debate," which has been called a civil war, and the cryptocurrency community's response to it.

Bitcoin’s scaling disagreement revolves around the size of the blocks added to the blockchain. Bitcoin blocks have a limited storage capacity of 1MB under the original model, but with increased usage and transactions, congestion problems were reported. Thus, different segments within the Bitcoin community offered different solutions to enable smoother running. However, there was a failure to reach a consensus.

The first crucial date is July 21. The schedule for SegWit2x mentions July 21 as the day when signaling begins. SegWit2x came into the limelight in May when the Digital Currency Group (DCG) published a post titled, “Bitcoin Scaling Agreement At Consensus 2017.” According to that post, DCG supports parallel upgrades to the Bitcoin protocol based on the original Segwit2Mb proposal. The optimization involves activating Segregated Witness (SegWit) at an 80% threshold, signaling at bit 4 and activating a 2 MB hard fork within six months. (See also: The War Between SegWit vs. BIP148 vs. Bitcoin Unlimited, Explained)

This other important day is August 1. This is when BIP148, another scaling solution, will be triggered. BIP148 is all set for User Activated Soft Fork (UASF). Normally, a USAF does not need miners' support as it's a ‘user-activated’ soft fork. However, in this case, it does. 

While July 21 is still a couple of days away, some clarity is emerging; as per data from coin.dance, SegWit2x has 87.1% support. However, one needs to wait for the date to be sure of the percentage since this is indicative and not implemented support.

All of this isn’t easy for a regular Bitcoin investor to understand, and the lack of clarity with the fear of a chain split has been causing some anxiety. Having said that, many believe that the current price of Bitcoin has already factored in the uncertainty that in store in the near term. Bitcoin’s price could see a new high if the whole process goes as planned. Bitcoin is currently trading at about 140% higher than its price at the start of 2017 and is down by about 20% since its all-time high in mid-June. 

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