A bitcoin fork, segwit2x, has been canceled. IStock

The controversial bitcoin fork proposal known as SegWit2x, which was backed by many of the industry’s biggest companies such as the bitcoin mining pool Bitmain and the veteran cryptocurrency startup ShapeShift, was officially called off on Wednesday.

“The Segwit2x effort began in May with a simple purpose: to increase the blocksize and improve Bitcoin scalability,” BitGo CEO Mike Belshe wrote in an email. “Unfortunately, it is clear that we have not built sufficient consensus for a clean blocksize upgrade at this time. Continuing on the current path could divide the community and be a setback to Bitcoin’s growth...we are suspending our plans for the upcoming 2MB upgrade.”

There have been many forks in the past that created new bitcoin-style blockchain networks. But none were as wildly unpopular as this institutional proposal. In October, the exchange platform Coinbase, with a $1.6 billion valuation, announced plans to eventually call “the fork with the most accumulated difficulty Bitcoin.” The idea of businesses using the original bitcoin symbolism and brand for a new fork sparked outrage.

Bitcoin isn’t owned by any party or organization. Many people in the community widely resented what they saw as a backroom deal that flouted the decentralization movement’s core values. “It’s good they backed away from the break and now we can move forward together,” Bitcoin Core developer and BitGo engineer Jameson Lopp told International Business Times. “They said it’s suspended, not that they’re never going to try to do it again.” Many people in the bitcoin community are celebrating this suspension as evidence that the peer-led governance model is still going strong.

Bitcoin has no leader and they want to keep it that way. “I'm very happy that we won't be seeing this completely unnecessary disruption to the Bitcoin network,” Eric Lombrozo, a Bitcoin Core contributor and CEO of Ciphrex Corp, told IBT. “But we will continue building stronger and stronger fortifications and defenses because there will be more attempts to disrupt the network in the future.”

AI/CAPITAL MARKET use this one***
Newsweek is hosting an AI and Data Science in Capital Markets conference in NYC, Dec. 6-7. Newsweek Media Group

Many SegWit2x critics think these business leaders honestly had good intentions when they created the SegWit2x proposal in May, then continued to push forward despite negative feedback. It’s hard to get any diverse community onboard with a big change. The update was not an attempt to hijack bitcoin’s technology. Yet, as dissent snowballed into a public relations nightmare, bitcoin enthusiasts started to prepare for extreme market volatility surrounding the mid-November SegWit2x fork. Bitcoin’s global market cap is currently estimated to be more than $122 billion.

"As bitcoin grows in value and influence, the community is showing it will be prepared to defend its key features: decentralization, censorship resistance, and security," Elizabeth Stark, the CEO of Lightning Labs, told IBT. "I look forward to working with the community on future technical improvements and proposals, many of which are already in the works."

Lopp and his peers spent several weeks working on replay protection code, to address one of the fork’s fundamental security issues, instead of improving the overall network’s efficiency. Alistair Milne, a blockchain star who runs the Atlanta Digital Currency Fund, estimated Coinbase alone is gaining 33,000 new users a day as millions of curious newbies flock to the burgeoning industry. Scalability has become one of the biggest obstacles to widespread adoption. The thwarted fork disrupted plans to address other pressing issues. The fork is postponed for now, with that code saved for future use if needed. Many bitcoin veterans believe this is only the beginning.

“I don’t think that bitcoin is ever safe, but that’s kind of the point,” Lopp said. “This is a system that needs to be able to withstand any type of adversary...what we’ve seen today and over the past few years is peanuts compared to what it’s going to be as the system continues to grow, become more valuable, and as such, more and more powerful players are participating in it and have vested interests."