Blockchain development firm Nchain has announced the company’s plans to launch a new Bitcoin Cash full node client called ‘Bitcoin SV.’ Lead developer Daniel Connolly has published the specifications for re-enabling old opcodes for the November 2018 BCH upgrade. So far the unpublished codebase has seen vocal support from the mining pool Coingeek, but right now some members of the BCH community are concerned that if no other miners switch to Bitcoin SV, the proposed upgrade could cause incompatibilities.
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Will Bitcoin SV’s Proposal be Compatible With Bitcoin ABC?
On Thursday, August 16 the firm Nchain revealed they are releasing a new BCH full node client that’s claimed to be based on Bitcoin ABC v0.17.2, but with a few different upgrade changes added. Bitcoin SV will include restoring more Satoshi opcodes, removing the opcode per script limit, and raising the block size to 128MB. Further, the leading BCH mining pool Coingeek have stated they will be backing the new client. However, since this announcement, some BCH supporters are concerned about the upgrade coming this November. Issues could occur if groups of miners choose Bitcoin SV’s finalized consensus change proposals, which could be entirely different than the finalized Bitcoin ABC 0.18.0 version. Moreover, depending on the upgrade releases stemming from Bitcoin Unlimited, and other implementations, the Bitcoin SV client could be incompatible with any one of them.
So far the Bitcoin ABC team hasn’t responded to the latest Nchain announcement, and the ABC client release for testing hasn’t arrived. According to the ABC roadmap, after they announced the client’s upgrade changes the codebase was supposed to be delivered by August 15. Instead, the team published an article on the benefits of canonical transaction ordering with help from articles written by the Bitcoin Cash miner Jonathan Toomim, and Joannes Vermorel’s study on the process. So at the time of writing the latest 0.18.0 Bitcoin ABC version is two days late. Furthermore, if v0.18.0 contains canonical transaction ordering, the enforcement of minimum transaction size, and the activation of OP_CHECKDATASIG and OP_CHECKDATASIGVERIFY, it will not be compatible with SV’s framework for November.
Bitcoin SV’s Lead Developer Publishes Re-Enabling Old Opcode Specs
The Bitcoin SV client’s lead developer, Daniel Connolly, has published a document of specifications concerning the SV clients’ re-enabling old opcodes. The Bitcoin SV version 1.0 document details that in May of 2018 a few disabled opcodes were re-added to the Bitcoin Cash scripting engine, and this November SV will introduce four more opcodes.
“The scope of that change was limited in order to focus developer attention rather than attempting to reintroduce all of the disabled opcodes at once,” explains the Bitcoin SV spec sheet published on August 17.
This specification expands upon that change by reintroducing additional opcodes — The specifications describe the opcodes that will be added in the November 2018 protocol upgrade.
The re-enabled opcodes will include:
- OP_MUL — Multiplies two numbers
- OP_RSHIFT — Right shift b by n bits
- OP_LSHIFT — Left shift b by n bits
- OP_INVERT — Bitwise NOT
The Ultimate Decision Will Be Made With Hashpower
Essentially the ultimate decision making will be in the hands of the miners if they want to upgrade the block space to 128MB, or follow through with ABC’s plans. At the moment there are many different takes on this situation from a wide variety of BCH supporters. Some agree with Coingeek and Nchain and want to raise the space available in blocks, while others believe there isn’t a need for the increase, because current 32MB blocks are not yet being filled. Discussions concerning the matter have increased exponentially on BCH-centric Slack and Telegram channels, Twitter, and Reddit forums.
A lot of BCH supporters believe that ultimately those who have hash power will have the final say in this debate and miners will choose which client they plan to use. Some BCH proponents are not too concerned with the possibility of incompatible clients just yet, because as far as ABC v0.18.0 and SV 1.0 are concerned, neither client has finalized plans for November’s upgrade. As mentioned above the ABC code is not ready yet and the SV 1.0 codebase plans to launch this September.
News.Bitcoin.com briefly spoke with Bitcoin XT developer Tom Harding about the recent Nchain announcement and he explained the XT client will follow the majority hashrate.
“XT hasn’t been a driving force behind any of the forking change proposals this time around — We’ve been focusing on non-consensus 0-conf work,” Harding explains.
Regarding consensus changes, our intention is to support what the majority of hashpower wants to do — We’re also thinking about how best to know what BCH miners actually want.
What do you think about the Bitcoin SV client and the possibility of it being incompatible with Bitcoin ABC’s November upgrade? Which upgrade proposals would you like to see finalized? Let us know your opinion on this subject in the comment section below.
Jihan Wu Loses Control of Bitmain as IPO Documents Indicate Profit Figures Were Hyped
Bitmain has dominated ASIC manufacturing since it was founded in 2013. One man has been at the forefront of this domination, leading the company into the giant that it is today; Jihan Wu. However, it may not be so for much longer, with a Chinese publication revealing that a recent reshuffle has demoted the renowned crypto campaigner to the role of a supervisor from his previously held Director role in the board.
The news come after the Financial Times unearthed the fact that the figures reported for the profitability of the firm had almost been doubled in earlier reports by the firm. Documents circulated during the funding rounds and those submitted during filing for IPO show contrasting figures, with Bitmain failing to give an explanation for the difference.
Wrong Time For Cracks As IPO Looms
According to the report by Sanyan Blockchain, Wu is no longer able to influence corporate decisions at the Beijing-based ASIC manufacturer. The publication reported today, November 13, that the firm had undertaken a reshuffle recently and lots of positions had been redistributed. One of these was Wu’s who was allegedly demoted from Director to a supervisor, the report stated citing an unnamed source.
The report quoted Tian Yangang, a lawyer representing the privately-held firm, who reportedly stated to local media that after being relegated to a supervisor, Wu’s voting rights had been revoked. Wu therefore has less influence on the corporate decisions and on the direction the firm takes going forward. This is despite being the co-founder of the multibillion-dollar firm and the second-largest individual shareholder of Bitmain at 20.25 percent. The other co-founder, Micree Zhan, is the largest shareholder at 36 percent.
The report comes after another one by The Financial Times revealed that Bitmain’s profitability figures had been scaled down for its IPO listing compared to its funding rounds. During the $400 million funding round in April, the firm had indicated that the 2017 profits stood at $1.25 billion. In yet another funding round four months later in August, the figure was amended to $1.1 billion. However, in its IPO filing one month later in September, Bitmain revised the figure again to $701.4 million, almost half the original figure.
After FT reached out to Bitmain to inquire on the discrepancies, the firm stated:
Please refer to our IPO prospectus for appropriate figures.
The other involved parties, the auditor KPMG and the bank leading the IPO, China International Capital Corp. declined to comment on the figures.
Bitmain has filed to list at the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, aiming to raise $500 million at a valuation of $18 billion. This valuation has risen incredibly in just the past one year, buoyed by the increasing popularity of cryptocurrencies.
In September last year, Bitmain was reported to be valued at $1 billion during a funding round led by Sequoia Capital. It then went up astronomically to $14 billion mid this year, and is now valued at $18 billion, at least according to the IPO prospectus. According to some of the early investors in the firm, it’s expected to be valued at $40 billion within three years.
Bitcoin Cash’s ‘Mining War’ Escalates as Blockchain Hard Fork Approaches
The global network of computer operators who today help power the bitcoin cash cryptocurrency are beginning to signal that they may take differing paths ahead of a technical update scheduled for Thursday.
Data from Coin Dance indicates that bitcoin cash mining pools, collectives of individuals and companies providing computer power to the cryptocurrency, the world’s fourth most valuable, are indicating they will run a version of the software called Bitcoin SV, an alternative to the Bitcoin ABC software most widely used by the network today.
In fact, early signs suggest Bitcoin SV may control some 76.39 percent of the network’s current mining power.
While it’s too early to tell if this many computers will actually update their software, causing the bitcoin cash network to split, the strong rhetoric employed by those backing the upstart Bitcoin SV software, including Craig Wright, the Australian cryptographer who claims to be Satoshi Nakamoto, suggests this is a possibility.
Wright in particular has vowed to destroy the ABC network, going so far as to threaten ABC proponents on Twitter.
Amidst this dialogue, SV’s hash power advantage is up from 73.62 percent just a day ago. In particular, CoinGeek, the platform owned by Wright supporter Calvin Ayre, jumped from controlling about 30.6 percent of the overall hash power to 41 percent.
In contrast, okminer and Mempool both lost a significant portion of the hash power, falling from 7.64 percent and 6.25 percent respectively to 3.47 percent each.
Meanwhile, mining pools supporting the Bitcoin ABC implementation spearheaded by Roger Ver have made gains of their own. In particular,, Antpool and now control 8.33, 4.86 and 6.25 percent of the total hash power respectively. Antpool and are controlled by bitcoin cash supporter and hardware giant Bitmain.
As of yesterday, both of Bitmain’s pools only controlled 2.78 percent of the power each, while Ver’s website had 6.25 percent.
While several mining pools have firmly declared support for one party or another, a number have yet to publicly express which network they might help secure. The most prominent of these is ViaBTC, which controlled 7.64 percent of the network total yesterday, though its relative power dropped to 2.08 percent by 14:00 UTC Tuesday.
Another pool, Northern Bitcoin, likewise has yet to commit to a particular implementation, though chief technology officer Moritz Jäger told Forbes that his pool switched from bitcoin to bitcoin cash to be among “the decision makers on the upcoming fork.”
Still, while Bitcoin SV seems to have a clear advantage in hash power, traders seem more confident about Bitcoin ABC.
BCHABC, a trading pair being offered in advance at some exchange, is still trading at a higher price than markets for SV, though its lead has shrunk slightly. At press time, pre-fork trading of the token hovered around $391 (priced in the USDC stablecoin), down from $415 just 24 hours ago.
In contrast, BCHSV’s price surged 22 percent in that time period to reach $136.
According to TradingView, BCHABC may also be seeing less interest in terms of volume, with only876,258 USDC being traded over the past 24 hours, up from 818,375 yesterday.
BCHSV, on the other hand, saw 969,715 USDC in volume over that period, though this fell from more than 1.2 million USDC traded previously.
Cryptocurrency Mining Farms In China Shut Down For ‘Strict’ Tax Inspections
Cryptocurrency mining operations in the Chinese provinces of Xinjiang and Guizhou were suspended so the government could conduct “very strict” tax inspections and real-name registration checks.
Power to the mining farms was shut off on November 5, sources told local daily Cong News. As a result, the mines lost about 1 million yuan (or roughly $143,700) a day during the period of “rectification.”
“Joint enforcement actions examined the mine’s tax information, funds, and customer information,” Cong News reported. “It is understood that the tax inspection of the mine is very strict.”
Mining Farms Required To Sign Pledge
The tax inspection is now complete, but it’s unclear if power to the mining farms has been restored yet.
“It is understood that the mines, including business licenses, state-of-the-art power supply procedures, and employee Social Security, are officially complete,” Cong News noted.
The mining farms were required to sign an agreement promising that their mining data centers will implement “higher standards for the company’s business real-name system,” as mandated by China’s Public Security Department.
The farms also agreed to not provide services to any customers that do not comply with these rules.
Did the Shutdown Affect Bitmain?
It’s unclear how this shutdown affected Bitmain, which recently deployed 90,000 S9 Antminer rigs to the coal-rich region of Xinjiang ahead of the Bitcoin Cash hard fork, which is scheduled for November 15.
Bitmain — the world’s most valuable cryptocurrency company — is making moves to maintain its market dominance amid reports that its smaller rival Bitfury is considering an initial public offering in Amsterdam or London as early as 2019.
The move would make Bitfury the first major crypto IPO listed in Europe, as CCN has reported. The Amsterdam-based blockchain startup could seek a valuation of $3 billion to $5 billion.
In September 2018, Bitmain filed for an initial public offering in Hong Kong, with a potential valuation of up to $3 billion. Bitmain — which is valued at $10 billion — is on track to post $10 billion in revenue by the end of 2018.
$700 Million Bitcoin Mining Farm Being Built
Meanwhile, crypto mining firm Coinmint plans to invest up to $700 million to build the world’s largest bitcoin mining center in Upstate New York, with a 435-megawatt capacity.
Coinmint has already invested $50 million so far to convert a 1,300-acre Alcoa aluminum smelting plant in Massena, New York.
— VTOS FOUNDATION (@VTOSFOUNDATION) June 7, 2018
The new crypto mining farm is projected to create an estimated 150 new jobs, and is expected to be fully operational by June 2019.
The old Alcoa plant shuttered in 2014, but Coinmint signed a 10-year lease on the property, signaling its confidence that despite bitcoin’s recent slump, it believes cryptocurrencies are here to stay.
“As long as bitcoin networks exist, we anticipate mining to be profitable,” said Coinmint CTO Prieur Leary.