16 November 2018 – With the Bitcoin BCH network upgrade on November 15, a hash war has begun with miners voting between Bitcoin SV and Bitcoin ABC – two competing implementations of the BCH protocol. As fully expected, Bitcoin ABC appeared to take a temporary lead on the first day by receiving an artificial boost from temporary, “rented” hash power subsidized by Roger Ver’s organization Bitcoin.com, which announced it would use its pool customer hash on BCH for just 24 hours, and from ABC’s main supporter Bitmain Technologies, the Chinese manufacturer of crypto mining rigs. However, Bitcoin SV has strong support from CoinGeek, the largest BCH miner, and nChain, the leading blockchain research & development firm. CoinGeek and nChain have the resources to fight long term with their own sustained hash, long after Bitmain cannot afford to bleed money for rented hash. Therefore, the BCH hash war will not be decided in 1 or 2 days, but over many days and possibly weeks by on-going miner votes with sustained Proof of Work. Until a dominant chain emerges, cryptocurrency exchanges, wallet and service providers are advised to remain neutral, and to run a Bitcoin SV node to be prepared for the best interests of users.
CoinGeek founder Calvin Ayre expressed his determination to fight the BCH hash war as long as it takes:
“CoinGeek and nChain are in this battle for the long haul. We will mine BCH and fight as long as it takes to protect the original Bitcoin from Bitmain, Jihan Wu, and their Bitcoin ABC development group who all want to change BCH into some alt-coin Wormhole token technology. Roger Ver’s company Bitcoin.com is subsidizing hash for only 24 hours, taken from his own customers. As for Bitmain, to keep up with us in this hash war, Bitmain will have to spend millions of dollars a day from its investors’ money and shareholder assets, while also trying to raise more investor money for its shaky IPO. This will bleed Bitmain’s cash and cryptocurrency reserves, because we are prepared to fight for months and months. If I were a shareholder or investor in Bitmain, I’d be asking why Jihan Wu is spending all your money to control BCH when Bitmain’s business supports multiple cryptocurrencies.”
Bitcoin SV is the new full node implementation for Bitcoin Cash that seeks to restore the original “Satoshi Vision” for Bitcoin and allow it to massively scale. For the November 15 upgrade, Bitcoin SV’s feature set is not compatible with that of competing client Bitcoin ABC. When there is a disagreement between rule sets, the original Bitcoin white paper described the “Nakamoto consensus” method for miners to vote with their computing power (1 CPU = 1 vote) to enforce any rules: “The majority decision is represented by the longest chain, which has the greatest proof-of-work effort invested in it.”
The current hash war is the world’s first test of Nakamoto consensus. After the November 15 upgrade, Bitcoin ABC appeared to temporarily lead with a higher portion of the BCH network’s total hash power. But ABC’s perceived first-day advantage comes from a sudden burst of hash presumably rented from the Bitcoin Core (BTC) network to move over to BCH. By November 14, the day before the hard fork, Bitcoin SV’s support consistently grew for weeks and dominated with a clear 72-78% lead over ABC (18-22%):
Bitcoin ABC even dropped to tying for 3rd place with Bitcoin Unlimited, another implementation which is compatible (as a configurable option) with both Bitcoin SV and Bitcoin ABC rule sets.
Yet suddenly on the November 15 upgrade date, a huge wave of hash magically came to support Bitcoin ABC. This came from Bitcoin.com’s pool which announced it was boosting its BCH hash for only 24 hours, by moving customer hash from the BTC chain. In addition, Bitcoin ABC is receiving more support from “rented” or subsidized from BTC mining pools controlled by (Antpool.com, BTC.com, ViaBTC) or friendly (BTC.top) to Bitmain. To obtain rented hash, Bitmain must pay to subsidize the difference in lower revenue miners receive on the BCH chain when total hash rate grows, compared to mining on the more profitable BTC network. BTC.top’s CEO Jiang Zhuoer estimates this can cost over 100 million yuan or USD $14 million per day. The rented hash supporting Bitcoin ABC is temporary, and will leave the BCH network when not subsidized. This is a losing proposition for Bitmain; each day a hash war continues, Bitmain must pay millions of dollars to give Bitcoin ABC an artificial advantage. But when Bitmain can no longer afford to pay for it, the rented hash will leave BCH and Bitcoin SV will again dominate by virtue of its long-term, sustained hash support.
In contrast, Bitcoin SV’s support comes from CoinGeek and nChain’s BMG mining groups, which are 100% dedicated to support Bitcoin SV with their genuine hash. SVPool, a personal initiative of nChain Chief Scientist Craig Wright and the newly-formed Mempool also run Bitcoin SV; those pools gather miners supporting the Satoshi Vision and do not pay added subsidies to miners beyond the amount actually earned from participating in their pools.
Ayre explained why sustained hash power should decide:
“Bitcoin is about Proof of Work (PoW), not Proof of Rented Hash (PoRH). To decide which chain should be the true Bitcoin BCH, you should pick the longest chain with the most legitimate, sustained Proof of Work invested. It is ridiculous to count transient, rented hash which comes onto BCH artificially for short bursts of time because it is subsidized to do so, but then disappears and does not really sustain Proof of Work on the network. That is like paying a person to show up in a foreign country to vote in a political election, without meeting citizenship requirements to vote. At CoinGeek’s BCH Miners Choice Summit on November 2, we were offered thousands and thousands of petahash to rent for this battle. While we can afford to pay for more rented hash than Bitmain can, we decided to set a better precedent for Bitcoin and fight with honest hash invested to support BCH long term.”
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