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Bitcoin Cash Miners Propose Controversial Soft Fork for Zcash-Style Development Fund

A group of bitcoin cash miners is preparing a soft fork to redirect some of the block rewards into a new zcash-style development fund.

In a Medium post Wednesday, Jiang Zhuoer, CEO of mining pool BTC.TOP, said that a group of some of the largest bitcoin cash mining pools were preparing to soft fork the network to implement a “short-term donation plan” that would cut block rewards by 12.5 percent in order to fund network development.

“Investment in software and commons is crucial to secure a bright future for Bitcoin Cash,” the post reads, arguing that neglect can have a “damaging” effect on the network. “We can avoid these problems by providing an adequate level of stable funding, allowing Bitcoin Cash to thrive and succeed.”

Signed by Jihan Wu of Antpool/BTC.com, Roger Ver from Bitcoin.com and ViaBTC’s Haipo Yang, Zhuoer’s post argues there are “significant problems” with the current funding mechanism. Donations are made on a voluntary basis, making it difficult to finance long-term projects and giving corporate donors “an undue influence” over developers.

Many community members, Zhuoer writes, don’t currently contribute anything at all, creating a “tragedy of the commons” situation where the self-interest of individuals is contrary to the common good of the network. It may be controversial, but redirecting block rewards is “undoubtedly a far better solution” than the current funding system, the post reads.

Many of the same miners included in the post had previously pushed to introduce a “development tax” during a CoinGeek BCH conference back in 2018. A report by crypto investment firm Electric Capital found bitcoin cash lost more than 30 percent of its developers between December 2018 and June 2019, the largest drop of any major blockchain network.

Because bitcoin cash uses the same SHA-256 hash algorithm as bitcoin, most of the block reward costs will, according to the post, be carried by the dominant bitcoin miners, who constitute approximately 97 percent of the hash ecosystem. Assuming bitcoin cash stays at around $300, Zhuoer calculates the new mechanism could raise more than $6 million in six months.

“It’s a clever proposal, with good intent,” tweeted Emin Gun Sirer, adding that a marginally lower hashrate for steady developer funding was a good trade-off as “empirically more attacks have been due to underfunded devs than to malicious hashrate.”

But the proposal is not without controversy. Zhuoer’s post says BCH blocks that don’t follow the soft fork “will be orphaned,” meaning they won’t be accepted by the five mining pools and risk not receiving any block reward whatsoever.

Funds will also be directed into an unnamed “Hong Kong corporation” that will coordinate and pay for network development. It’s not certain whether this new corporation will pay third-party developers or if it will do most of the work itself, like the Electric Coin Company (ECC) on zcash.

In an ask-me-anything (AMA) Reddit session Thursday, Zhuoer clarified that miners would “ensure the transparency and effective use of all funds” by the Hong Kong corporation. Antpool’s Wu added in the same AMA that many of the details for how the corporation would be governed and how development projects would be prioritized were still “under discussion.”

“There are many underspecified aspects to the proposal,” Sirer said. “Specifically, who will manage the collected funds and how will they be distributed?” That the proposal was sprung on members of the BCH community “was terrible PR and community management,” he continued, while the threat of orphaning dissenting blocks risks alienating much of the mining community.

It’s also disputed whether the five mining pools will be able to force the community to accept their soft fork. At press time, the signatories had a combined BCH hashrate of just under 28 percent, way below the required majority needed to push the soft fork through by themselves.

Credit: Coin Dance

“They can’t enforce this coercive soft fork unless they come up with a lot more hashrate. And it would likely lead to many forks,” tweeted Charlie Lee, creator of litecoin. “Adding such a centralizing feature in this coercive manner sets such a bad precedent.”


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Bitcoin Cash News Today – Headlines for February 22

  • Bitcoin Cash engineers held their second developer’s meeting
  • Purpose of the meeting was to upgrade features and deliberate on the IFP plan
  • Bitcoin ABC’s Amaury Séchet describes the IFP proposal as harmless in China but controversial in the west

Bitcoin Cash News Today – Bitcoin Cash engineers held their second BCH developers’ meeting for the year. The meeting was also the first time since the IFP proposal (Infrastructure Funding Plan) was listed on the Bitcoin ABC version 0.21.0 model. Seven developers sat to discuss adding new features after the upgrade scheduled for May this year. However, the bulk of this year’s conversation was focused on the IFP initiative.

Upgrade Features and the IFP Proposal

In recent weeks, BCH proponents have been discussing the proposed IFP plan. Bitcoin ABC plans to support IFP on the 0.21.0 client launch which is why the team published its implementation days later. The IFP plan has been a topic of discussion on Bitcoin Cash land which is why the developers’ meeting was focused on the topic.

The meeting included Antony Zegers of Bitcoin ABC, as well as Jason B. Cox, and Amaury Séchet of Bitcoin ABC. Others include Bitcoin.com’s Chris Troutner, and Be.cash developer Tobias Ruck, Josh Green of Bitcoin Verde and Bitpay’s Matias Garcia. According to Bitcoin ABC’s Amaury Séchet the IFP proposal isn’t controversial in China. This is the case only in the Western Hemisphere.

Séchet Responds to Questions on IFP Proposal

Séchet also said that BCH miners do not want to damage the BCH token right now as they are seeing the contention. He also believes the BCH miners are waiting to see as the matter develops. Noting that they expect that the BCH community will come up with new alternatives if IFP is contentious. Séchet added that they should work out a solution quickly. He said if a solution can be found everyone can be made happy. Bitcoin.com developer Chris Troutner asked Séchet’s opinion on the whitelist (development group addresses that will get funding from IFP if the scheme is executed).

The Bitcoin ABC developer added that there is an alternative and that miners are willing to go through the plan if the BCH community prefers the alternative and if this alternative works. Finally, the programmers in the meeting discussed the new upgrade features that BCH users are looking forward to as well as the chained transaction limit boost to 50 from 25 Sigchecks, and the opcode OP_Reversebytes. The event had video coverage which is 1 hour 46 minutes long. The IFP proposal has been a hot debate and more details on the scheme will continue to unfold.

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$45 Million Worth Of Bitcoin And Bitcoin Cash Allegedly Stolen In A SIM Hack

In what could turn out to be one of the most serious SIM-card hacks in history, someone has reportedly stolen $45 million worth of Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash from a single whale investor.

Hacker Gets Away With Reported $45 Million

According to a Reddit post from February 22nd, which is now deleted, an investor, who appears to be the founder of Dreamhost, Josh Jones, became the victim of an alleged SIM-swap attack.

Popular industry commentator and founding partner at cryptocurrency asset fund Primitive Ventures reproduced the post in a series of tweets.

Purportedly, Jones lost a total of $45 million. $30 million of these were in the form of Bitcoin Cash (less than 100,000 BCH) and $15 million – in Bitcoin (1,500 BTC).You Might Also Like:

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Appealing to the mining community of BCH, Jones urged miners or anyone else to help him out somehow, promising a big reward if successful.

It’s only had 3 confirmations if any miners/ the community can help somehow, I’ve got the private keys. Help help help… big reward obviously.

According to Wan, the hacker seems to be splitting the Bitcoin into smaller amounts and “may enter into mixer soon… so it’s a real hack most likely.”

What Happens Next?

While, at this stage, there’s no official confirmation, the situation remains very troublesome for the investor who supposedly lost his money.

According to Wan, the only way this could be remedied is through a double-spent on the Bitcoin Cash network, which would lead to its demise, in her views.

It’s also important to note that this wouldn’t have been possible if the whale kept his cryptocurrency on a hardware cold wallet. SIM-swap attacks are only successful when they target a mobile device, which is commonly used for a two-factor authenticator for a certain wallet provider.

During times like these, it’s essential to remember that safeguarding your crypto assets is of paramount importance. Never keep big amounts on hot wallets or exchanges, as incidents like these do happen. Make sure to employ the necessary security measures to guarantee the safety of your fortunes.

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$45M in Bitcoin Cash, Bitcoin siphoned off as SIM swap menace continues

Bitcoin is revolutionary. ‘Not your keys, not your coins’ and ‘Be your own bank’ are some of the famous adages in the Bitcoin podosphere. Alas, while Bitcoin lets people be their own bank, taking control of one’s own funds can be a tough job.

Over the last decade, attackers have found a way to gain control over victims’ funds via a low-cost method called Sim Swap. The latest victim of this attack is a Chinese whale who purportedly lost Bitcoin Cash [BCH] and Bitcoin [BTC] worth $30 million and $15 million, respectively.

Source: Twitter | Dovey Wan

The attacker[s] siphoned off $45 million in total following which the victim Zhoujianfu, in a now-deleted subreddit post, reportedly sought help from top BCH miners to reverse the transactions at 3 confirmations. However, at press time, the transactions were found to have 32 confirmations.

Source: Bitcoin Explorer

To make the tracking of the funds obscure, the hackers reportedly split up the coins. Following the attack, Dovey Wan, Founding Partner at Primitive Crypto, further speculated that these coins could potentially be sent through a coin mixer. She tweeted,

“I still can’t believe it’s true HOW COME SOMEONE KEEPS SO MUCH CRYPTO ASSET ON HIS PHONE ???? this is the dumbest thing ever… It seems the hacker is now splitting the BTC into smaller amounts and may enter into mixer soon.. so it’s a real hack most likely.”

To pull off a sim swap attack, the hacker needs to gain control over the victim’s phone number. According to a recent study by a joint group of professors and Ph.D. students at Harvard University’s Department of Computer Science and Princeton University’s Center for Information Technology Policy, there has been a notable increase in the number of sim swapping cases in recent years.

Arvind Narayanan, Associate Professor at Princeton and one of the paper’s authors, had tweeted,

“The attacker calls your carrier, pretends to be you, and asks to transfer service to a new SIM. That’s bad enough but hundreds of websites use SMS for 2-factor authentication, putting your accounts at risk.”

From Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to Preety Kesireddy, many Bitcoiners have been targets of such sim swap schemes, especially during the height of Bitcoin’s bull run.

Recently, Gregg Bennett, a serial angel investor, had also filed a lawsuit against Bittrex, claiming the exchange violated or ignored its own security standards and industry-standard practices that allowed hackers to steal nearly $1 million worth of Bitcoin from Bennett’s account in April in 2019.

Bennett was initially the victim of a SIM card hack, who then attempted to alert Bittrex. However, Bittrex reportedly failed to heed his warning for nearly two hours, allowing the hackers to drain his account.

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