According to reports, the large mining pool Antpool which commands 16.6 percent of the global hashrate is currently switching its mining configurations to support Bitcoin Unlimited. Meanwhile, popular bitcoin exchanges discuss listing another token in the event of a chain split.
Antpool Dedicates 75% Hashrate Towards Bitcoin Unlimited
Over the past couple of months, the Bitcoin network scaling debate has intensified. Moreover, rather than just discussions taking place, many Bitcoin proponents are taking action with various ideas that theoretically could scale the decentralized currency.
For instance, people have proposed a user-activated soft fork (UASF) because Segregated Witness (Segwit) support has stalled. The idea has become popular amongst Segwit supporters and seems to be gaining traction with the proposal being pushed to Github. On the other hand, there are those who support Bitcoin Unlimited (BU) which will essentially increase the block size. Just recently Bitmain Tech founder Jihan Wu told the publication Bloomberg, “We will switch our entire pool to Bitcoin Unlimited.”
On March 7 Antpool began signaling for BU, initiating a small percentage of its hashpower to support the alternative client. Ten days later, on March 17, the Chinese mining pool kicked it up a notch as reports reveal nearly 75 percent of Antpool’s hashrate is dedicated to BU. The author of the report explains the switch using a table from blocks 450000 to 457678. Reddit user “arnoudk” states:
Antpool has just switched its usa3 nodes. Yesterday, it switched its usa1 nodes. Last week, it switched all of its Beijing nodes. In total, approx 75 percent of Antpool’s hashrate is now counting towards BU, and the remainder is voting neutral (No BU, no Segwit).
The Coinbase and Bitcoin Unlimited Meeting
Another interesting event this week was a meeting between Bitcoin Unlimited developer Peter Rizun and Coinbase staff. Rizun explains that exchanges and wallet companies like Coinbase support bigger blocks because “they have a fiduciary duty to preserve the assets of their customers.” Additionally, if a minority chain token arises Coinbase will support the chain, and allow the market to choose naturally. However, the exchange would prefer that the minority chain dies quickly in order to avoid market complexity.
Rizun also details the San Francisco-based company’s biggest concern is a replay attack, an issue Coinbase dealt with during the Ethereum hard fork. A replay attack is when a valid transmission is manipulated, fraudulently repeated or delayed resulting in exchange losses. Coinbase representatives also established that they would like to see more quality analysis from BU’s production releases.
“Two ideas mentioned were: (a) an audit of the BU code by an expert third-party,” explains BU developer Peter Rizun. “And (b) the use of “fuzzing tests” to subject our code to a wide range of random inputs to look for problems.”
Overall, things seem to be moving forward for BU after last week’s debacle with core developers. BU nodes have recovered, and mining support for the proposal is currently at 32.5 percent at the time of writing. Additionally, it’s been reported that 18 other popular cryptocurrency exchanges will list Bitcoin Unlimited in the event of a chain split. The replay attack is also mentioned in the participating exchanges’ statement as a primary concern.
What do you think about the current state of the Bitcoin scaling debate? Let us know in the comments below.
Images courtesy of Bitcoin.com, BU, Antpool and Pixabay.
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