Events

Becky Liggero Fontana

Baikal Blockchain & Crypto Summit 2019 highlights

Now in its fifth year, the Baikal Blockchain & Crypto Summit 2019 was held in Irkutsk, Siberia, home to an overwhelming percentage of cryptocurrency miners.

“Welcome to Irkutsk, the Siberia, Baikal region. They call themselves ‘crypto capital,’ the world crypto capital because there is 40% of all miners here, so all larger mining facilities and pools, more than one gigawatt of power based here, so there are more than 1,000 miners,” event organizer Alexander Shulgin told CoinGeek.com.

August 8 represented Baikal Blockchain & Crypto Summit 2019’s main blockchain day including a heavy focus on crypto mining, with a pre-conference day dedicated to more general innovation and future technology.

“Here we are discussing primarily mining, because of the climate here and because of the price of electricity, I think it goes as low as two to three cents a kilowatt which is amazing and the temperatures in the winter, they come as low as minus 40,” shared speaker Sergei Sergienko of ChronoBank.

A popular topic of discussion at the Baikal Blockchain & Crypto Summit 2019 surrounded the upcoming halving of the block reward for Bitcoin miners and how these miners can remain profitable in the future.

“So far what I’m seeing is that [miners] are surprised that there is so much value in big blocks,” SVPool Consultant Petter Ikekhua said of Bitcoin SV.

“Especially when the halvening is coming up and so there are concerns if they can’t keep the rewards or the price high, eventually they will have to look for other blockchains to mine. So I think having that option for them gives them a security that there are opportunities down the line,” he added.

Participants of the Baikal Blockchain & Crypto Summit 2019 came from all over the world, primarily Asia and Russia, with representation from Europe, Canada and the USA as well. Miners, mining pools, mining equipment companies and other professionals from the blockchain space were in attendance, all with a deep interest in mining and its profitability.

“The equipment which is working on SH8256 algorithm, mostly people mining Bitcoin or Bitcoin Cash, there is now also another new coin which was created last year, Bitcoin SV, so there are also people mining it and some people they have different equipment for Ethereum or for Litecoin, but is only I think 5, 7 percent, not more,” Ilya Bruman, CEO of Sibera-based Minery, told CoinGeek.com at the Baikal Blockchain & Crypto Summit 2019.

“I think its important for miners to understand two things. One, that the profitability of Bitcoin mining is going to drastically reduce with the next one and two block reward halving. So mining will not stay profitable unless miners get more of something else to make up for that lost value and that something else is the transaction fees,” said Jimmy Nguyen, founding president of the Bitcoin Association.

“So you need to have much bigger blocks to fit more transactions and thus get more transaction fees for every miner that wins a block in order to sustain mining profitability in the future,” he explained.

“BSV is the only bitcoin project dedicated to massive scaling to make big blocks, we are now at a default hard cap of two gigabytes — 2,000 megabytes — compared to BTC’s one megabyte and although miners have set different limits on the network, we are the blockchain project that will ensure mining profitability,” he added.

At present there are a number of blockchains in existence and miners are still in the process of figuring out which one(s) are the more profitable. Developers and consumers are also faced with many choices at present and will ultimately have to choose which blockchain(s) are the best for them.

“I see the parallels with the internet age, I see a lot of parallels particularly with Linux. When Linux first came out there were a lot of people saying ‘we’re going to be the Linux platform’ and nowadays its narrowed down to a few. And I think blockchain is going to have the same pathway,” John Lee of Blockchain Valley Ventures told CoinGeek.com.

“Just as Jimmy was speaking earlier, I think that there is no need for 1,000 chains. What I understand about Bitcoin SV is that they are one of the strongest platforms out there right now and it’s going to be last man standing, so they are definitely going to be one of them,” he added.

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