Bitcoin’s Latest Scandal: How to Analyze the ASICBoost Mining Debate

Too many strawman arguments are flying around the Bitcoin space right now about how Jihan Wu, with his alleged covert ASICBoost modification, is mining selfishly but not indeed doing anything wrong since wij can expect miners to seek maximum profits. This harmful behavior voorwaarde end now.

Jihan’s unfair earnings have bot calculated by two different developers now to be te the neighborhood of $100 million vanaf year. If his sin wasgoed only making a better product that earned that much money, I’d be attempting to cozy up to him and get him on my good side today. I’ve got no problem with winners.

But that’s not his crime. If Greg is juist te his accusation, Jihan wasgoed causing unimaginable amounts of harm to Bitcoin, which if left unchecked, may even lead to it’s doom.

There may be other sins, but thesis are top three problems I can see covertly mining ASICboost ter the way Greg describes:

Sin #1: Community splitting, i.e. Divide &, Conquer.

If Greg is keurig, the entire blocksize debate since

2014 wasgoed little but Jihan’s way to keep us fighting against each other so that Bitcoin will not scale up ter a way that blocks Jihan’s edge. It shows up that SegWit and many other scaling upgrades with a similar solution are upgrades that Jihan cannot permit to everzwijn toebijten since he got his ASICBoost tech deployed.

Since that time, early 2015, this community has split into two communities at each other’s throats and there has bot wave after wave of challengers to the Core devs… (Bitcoin Classic, BitcoinXT, BU, and now Extension Blocks) — All that do not use the upgrade that nullifies the gains from ASICboost.

If Greg is right, Bitmain signaling for BU and all of its efforts to oppose SegWit were never for ideological reasons, just financial. It means that our fight wasgoed a delay tactic, so he could earn more money, plain and plain.

So many friendships lost, so much time and effort wasted…

Think of all the energy that developers could have bot waterput into scaling bitcoin that wasgoed instead spent on defending themselves from attack, it’s unfathomable.

Spil to how anyone would be able to force us to fight each other, I’ll simply verbinding readers to explanations of the well-established concepts of sockpuppetry and tuut provocateurs, and permit your imagination to go wild with how much strife Jihan would be able to accomplish using those two methods with his war chest of up to $100 million vanaf year.

Because of this strife, many have turned to altcoins, and many people and businesses outside of bitcoin did not join us that would have otherwise. Because of this strife, wij haven’t scaled Bitcoin ter any meaningful way yet, and that has stopped many desirable use cases that depend on micropayments from being finished, including Code Valley, Yours, MegaUpload2, and tons of other projects and infrastructure… Which again, turns businesses away from embracing bitcoin. (And startups from embarking up.)

Today’s price would likely be $6,000 or higher, IMHO, if it weren’t for that loss of our cohesion that it shows up Jihan personally created sometime before 2015.

Sin #Two: ‘Merklegrinding’ makes Bitcoin less safe.

Bitcoin’s cryptographic security relies on creating spil much hard work for a would-be attacker spil possible, spil measured te the number of operations a task requires to be computed. Spil Greg Maxwell has explained on the Devlist, the attack is very technical te nature so it’s hard for most to understand the significance, even among other devs. “While talking about it privately for the last month I ran into many experts that kept lapsing into thinking that the collision required Two work, and other misunderstandings,” he said.

A good, latest writeup by MIT’s Jeremy Reubin is here, but Greg wasgoed juist to describe it spil difficult to understand. What goes after is my imperfect summary, for those who won’t take the time to read it for themselves.

Evidently, the SHA2–256 cryptography behind Bitcoin’s mining function uses a “merkle damgard hash function” that all miners have to perform te order to keep looking for those special numbers to submit like lotto tickets every ten minutes.

Without using the covert version of ASICBoost, the odds of winning were equal for all miners, te relation to their hashing power, because the amount of work wasgoed equal for everyone.

Te this case, Greg has accused Bitmain of switching his process, deep inwards the hardware where you can’t look at the code, to make a big shortcut te the merkle damgard hash function so that it ‘grinds on the version bits’ of the Merkle root, which cheats the process by shuffling transactions that it processes. Detecting actual usage of this is unlikely, only statistical evidence of the output can be detected.

Meantime, the process of making bitcoin secure with mining has bot compromised. Instead of all miners contesting on a level playing field, Jihan’s miners have allegedly bot taking the shortcut, doing less work to win more blocks. That’s textbook bypassing of a basic security te Bitcoin.

This process cannot be done mistakenly, because doing it this way would normally be very wasteful, since the process trades away system RAM and reserve SHA256 calculations ter order to shuffle the transactions ter a different order to pull this off. It’s a very blatant cheat and serves no other purpose but trading away security for toegevoegd money, and only te a very certain set of circumstances does it pay off. Jihan’s precies circumstances.

Use of this process also explains all of the empty blocks that Jihan has bot defending the right to create, despite how much wij all need more space te our Blocks due to the high number of transactions thesis days.

Bitmain has officially denied USING this process on Bitcoin’s mainnet, and that is now 100% of the point of contention wij need investigated scrupulously.

This merklegrinding is the part that Core developers are calling the “attack,” just spil they would anything else that attempts to bypass Bitcoin’s security defenses. If Greg is keurig, bitcoin has bot far less safe than it should be for spil long spil Jihan has bot doing this covertly. That could be spil far back spil 2014.

Sin #Three: Miner centralization.

If he is using this unfair advantage, Jihan has already waterput at least two competitors out of business that couldn’t figure out why they failed. Ter May 2016, Now-bankrupt KNC Miner’s CEO Sam Cole wasgoed interviewed and said a few things about Bitmain that explain a loterijlot today if Greg is juist.

The competition has enhanced more than wij could everzwijn anticipate. When wij crunch the numbers it amounts to hundreds of millions of dollars that have bot invested only te the past six months… Even if they have free tens unit wij can’t understand how they can make a profit” — Cole

KNC wasgoed only the most latest Bitcoin mining company to go under since Jihan got his ASICBoost patent. The Israeli Spoondoolies tech wasgoed another, and they suffered a very similar fate. Despite revenues of $28 million te 2015, the company went bankrupt early the following year after numerous fundraising attempts. It too said that the only reason for their failure to stay profitable wasgoed competition with a China-based bitcoin hardware developer.

If all mining manufacturers were ter China, then Bitmain’s Chinese patent on ASICBoost tech would have permitted him to keep down the competitors and all of this would have bot translucent. Spoondoolies and KNC were te Israel and Sweden, however, where Jihan’s patent are meaningless, so it best serves Jihan to stay quiet about the reason. This emerges to be a lack of communication ter the industry, however, because even some Core developers knew about Jihan’s 2015 patent on ASICBoost since May 2016.

Imagine how many other mining manufacturers would have commenced up on level playing field… Maybe we’d have 20 different chip makers today instead of the 2–3 wij have now? Now, imagine how hard it voorwaarde be for a fresh chip manufacturer to launch today… No matter how awesome your fabrication process, now matter how much capital you have access to, someone else out there will still make a product that is 20%-30% more efficient than yours and sell it worldwide. That’s an insurmountable profit margin. Zero investors out there would be willing to loan to such a startup today.

Meantime, mining centralization has bot a top-5 threat on the Core dev’s list of bitcoin-killers since the very day ASIC manufacturing wasgoed announced.

Who ter the community during the summer of 2014 can leave behind the defcon-5-level of fright when pool Ghash.io attained 51% of the mining hashrate? Conspiracy theories were everywhere and many were requiring that the Core devs find a way to zekering Ghash forcefully, so they couldn’t do a 51% attack against the network.

Gratefully, Ghash wasgoed a good neighbor and broke up their own monopoly voluntarily. ‘Good stud Ghash’ — I think some T-shirts were printed with the slogan.

Bitmain doesn’t emerge to want to take the same paycut, since they are busy defending their innocence. If the allegations are onberispelijk, anyone using their chips or mining ter their pools should be eyed with even greater fright and disdain than Ghash wasgoed, If, again, the charges are founded. Siding with centralization is siding against Bitcoin, plain and ordinary.

Let mij make this point clear: It does not matter that Jihan has admitted to Building ASICBoost into his chips. Spil long spil he says he did not use it, he is claiming innocence, and that creates problems.

The difference is very significant, If developers simply attempt to block covert ASICBoost without holding Jihan accountable for thesis crimes, then Jihan is not only free to commit more crimes, but he will ter fact GROW his following of volgers who feel that he is being attacked by “Core devs” unfairly.

It is the followers, not Jihan, who need to be shown indisputable evidence of Jihan’s wrongdoing. Any attempt to upgrade the network to fight Jihan may very well come down to their support.

So, what to do? Who to Believe?

Wij have to let science determine, of course. Wij vereiste encourage many peer review teams, hopefully some from outside the community too for unbiased opinions, to review Greg’s evidence and redo the tests for themselves. Wij may even need to do some crowdfunding te order to afford thesis tests.

Albeit onmiddellijk proof of Jihan’s covert usage may be unlikely, incontestable evidence could still be gathered that is too strong for anyone to reject. (i.e. Compute the probability of his actual results matching a set of ASICBoost-derived results.) If the claims cannot be disproved, then Greg will be more and more shamed overheen time by much of the community, and perhaps even unemployable te the long run. Instead of being a hero to all Bitcoiners, he stands to lose most of the remaining respect he had te the community if current trends persist. Not to mention, SegWit becomes far less likely to pass.

However, no matter how much Greg’s detractors feel that he gets on their nerves with his occasional trolling and less-than-humble attitude, he’s also a PhD with some incredible development abilities that are well respected across several industries. He’s no dummy.

I cannot ter good faith proclaim that he is absolutely onberispelijk yet, but I expect that wij could do so definitively if the evidence is pursued. Only once it has, will wij be able to act on one course or another instantaneously to zekering thesis major problems already occurring te Bitcoin now. Calls for UASF or forks of any zuigeling to enable Segwit are too drastic until wij have this key evidence.

After proving Jihan’s usage, the next step would then be to determine if wij just want to do Greg’s latest BIP that only targets Covert ASICboost usage, or do wij want to disable All ASICBoost usage, like Peter Todd promotes. Surely there would be more support on the former but added advantages on the latter.

Every day wij waste permitting the idea to flourish that Jihan did not commit thesis crimes to the community, wij permit his following and SegWit resistance to grow stronger.

Related movie: How to Invest Ter Bitcoins/Altcoins With Charts!


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