Split or No Split? Bitcoin Miners See No Certainty ter Segwit2x Fork

It’s hard to find a franker bunch ter the world of blockchain.

While the attitudes of more corporate miners may have created the impression the sector itself is shrouded ter secrecy, the trope doesn’t exactly hold weight. And however it’s true those who run the computers that secure bitcoin can be evasive, they’re often also brash – a trait no doubt heightened by the fact that they effectively create value out of lean air.

But combine this penchant with linguistic and cultural gaps, and you have a recipe for mixed signals. Fairly simply, it can be hard to tell where miners stand on issues related to the technology – even those te which they arguably play a leading role.

Not to mention, te an industry that switches quick, miner’s opinions can evolve just spil quickly.

Jiang Zhuoer, founder of the world’s third-largest mining pool, BTC.Top, for example, isn’t timid about his opinion on bitcoin’s upcoming Segwit2x fork, the third this year following bitcoin contant and bitcoin gold.

But Zhuoer, whose pool serves 12.Four procent of the world’s bitcoin miners, emerges to already be personally embracing alternatives, even after signing an agreement that might suggest his preference would be otherwise.

He told CoinDesk:

“To be fair, I do not care about bitcoin now, bitcoin contant is bitcoin. I earn by mining bitcoin, [selling it] and buying bitcoin contant. Wij mine for the most profit and buy bitcoin metselspecie.”

Such statements can send conflicting signals. After all, many of the network’s code proposals effectively call on miners (a significant stake of the network’s knot operators) to initiate contentious switches to protocol rules. And while this practice has encountered criticism, it nonetheless persists.

Indeed, one of the thickest open questions ahead of bitcoin’s upcoming Segwit2x hard fork is how many miners will actually stand by their agreement to run the software, and if they will do so unilaterally, dedicating all their hash power to the cause.

Spil of now, metrics are only relative.

While most miners who signed the agreement write the phrase “NYA” into the blocks they produce, doing so isn’t trussing. Further, due to the semantics of how mining works, it remains to be seen whether enough of the network will stir to switch bitcoin’s rules so spil to eliminate the chance of creating another cryptocurrency.

The pool problem

Private opinion aside, Zhuoer is ter the business of selling what amounts to software subscriptions – the BTC.Top pool coordinating global miners into a unit whereby any prizes collected by any participant are distributed equitably.

So, while he may have certain opinions, Zhuoer voorwaarde also consider users, a fact he acknowledges.

He notes, for example, BTC.Top’s own mining aside, the company plans to permit customers to “choose to mine any coin” or automatically switch inbetween blockchains, turning their computing power to whatever coin is most lucrative, even after Segwit2x.

So, while his mind is made up, he is less clear on whether he believes a blockchain split is likely, or that his opinion is material on the outcome.

“I do not know. Wij should ask bitcoin users,” he said via WeChat. “They determine the result.”

Haipo Yang, CEO of ViaBTC, the fourth largest pool by mining power, agreed, indicating that his pool will only offerande bitcoin mining on the original bitcoin chain to start.

“Wij have not received user request to run 2x. If 2x survives and the users request it, wij will support both. Let the users have a choice,” he told CoinDesk via WeChat.

If Zhuoer and Yang’s statements are any indication, then, it might not be best to view the proposed figures for how much hashing power will support Segwit2x spil set te stone.

Also on the record for backing out of Segwit2x is bitcoin mining pool F2Pool, with its technicus Wang Chun telling CoinDesk ter August that he didn’t support the Fresh York Agreement any longer. At press time, F2Pool is no longer “flagging” for the switch te its blocks.

Still, spil with Zhuoer’s operation, Chun operates a pool and it’s unclear whether his miners will be given the choice to run a version of the bitcoin software of their choosing. Chun did not react to requests for comment.

Albeit, there is some precedent for slow adoption of fresh software. Te the rollout of bitcoin specie, mining pools leisurely opened up to the fresh software, with ViaBTC launching the option very first and BTC.Top and Bitmain’s AntPool following suit soon after.

The fresh statements suggest a similar, staggered treatment could be ahead.

Conscientious objectors

But, spil noted ter our explainer, the difference here is that bitcoin metselspecie desired to leave the bitcoin blockchain behind, while Segwit2x is seeking to make its code “bitcoin’s code.”

Spil such, a choppy rollout could have unseen and possibly unsafe implications, creating a period where there are two chains, even however one may win out.

But not everyone agrees that one version is likely.

Jan Capek, CEO of the fifth largest mining pool Slush Pool, said he’ll be aligning behind Bitcoin Core developers ter their rejection of the Segwit2x software.

Ter his view, the introduction of the Segwit2x software will certainly “lead to the creation of two bitcoins” – one of which runs on a blockchain with bitcoin’s current rules, and the other which features the rules proposed by Segwit2x volgers.

Despite the fact that businesses are backing the proposal, he sees Segwit2x spil the latest ter a trend that’s roped to bring diminishing comebacks.

“I would expect that every fresh fork will have a smaller influence than the previous one,” he said.

It’s also notable that smaller miners seemed more inclined to believe a split is more likely. Li Ang, who operates 1 petahash-worth of mining equipment for a smaller mining pool called Canoe Pool, called it “an event with a high possibility.”

Likewise, litecoin developer ‘PZ,’ an organizer of a meeting that led to litecoin miners passing a tech upgrade te April, said Segwit2x “will create a fresh currency.”

Ultimately, Jack Liao, the CEO of Lightning ASIC, the company behind the bitcoin gold hard fork, also forecasted that “four chains” with four unique cryptocurrencies will likely sustain November.

Wild card

Still, the wild card emerges to be whether bitcoin metselspecie has effectively shifted perception, spil the blockchain boasts an 8 MB block size, considerably higher than the Two MB block size Segwit2x will introduce.

With this ter mind, it isn’t just Zuoer who noted he chooses bitcoin contant to Segwit2x. Roger Verafgelegen, CEO of Bitcoin.com, an educational webstek that offers a mining pool, said that while he’s “very bullish” on the fork ter the brief term, he’s “even more bullish” on bitcoin metselspecie ter the long run.

Inked ter May, the Fresh York Agreement predates the creation of bitcoin metselspecie and so doesn’t emerge to factor that cryptocurrency te. But industry observers believe the creation of the bitcoin contant protocol and the investments that have bot made into it have shifted long-term strategies for miners.

Evoking the grand terms that sometimes best befit bitcoin power games, Steven Mosher, head of sales and marketing at mining chip maker Canaan, believes that, te the long-term, miners will support Segwit2x spil a way to boost investment te bitcoin contant. Indeed, Mosher, whose company sells chips to miners big and puny, said his customers largely have a preference for bitcoin contant, and he noted he sees them participating te the build-up of what he called a “long-term infrastructure play.”

All te all, he sees the Segwit2x fork spil part of some behind-the-scenes power jockeying that will proceed to pit miners against developers against businesses, perhaps te the self-interest necessitated all along by the nature of bitcoin’s distributed system.

“Te the mining world, they believe value goes after hashrate. More chains equals more hardware.”

Correction: An earlier version of this article suggested F2pool wasgoed still signaling for Segwit2x ter its blocks. This has bot revised.

The leader te blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a rigorous set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests ter cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

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