Bitmain, the biggest bitcoin mining pool which controls its own hashrate while employing hundreds, suggested they may support Bitcoin Cash (BCC) in a statement today:
“We are closely observing the “BCC” movement and do not rule out the possibility of supporting both Segwit2x and BCC,” Bitmain said.
Segwit2x is a “compromise” which tries to keep both the on-chain scaling and the off-chain scaling vision on the same blockchain by implementing segwit to be followed by a hardfork increase of the 1MB limit to 2MB in around three months.
Bitmain signed up to the above understanding, as did many other miners and businesses, with segwit already locked-in in Bitcoin Core, expected to go live by the end of August.
“The New York Agreement is a joint effort of the global Bitcoin community. As one of its signatories, Bitmain has actively supported the smooth implementation of Segwit2x and will continue to run the btc1 software on all our mining pools, namely Antpool, BTC.COM pool and ConnectBTC, in the foreseeable future,” they say.
However, the agreement does not bind miners or businesses to run only the segwit2x client. They, therefore, are free to run other clients, such as BitcoinABC, which forks off on August 1st to create a new chain and network with a currency named Bitcoin Cash.
BCC has maintained a price of around $550 on ViaBTC futures, giving it a market cap of nearly $10 billion, which suggests strong support among bitcoiners.
As such, the mining hashrate will probable be portioned between the segwit chain and BCC dependent on price as stated by BTC.TOP, bitcoin’s second biggest mining pool, and as shown by the ETH and ETC experience which made it somewhat clear that regardless of their opinions, mining hashrate follows price.
Bitmain stated the User Activated Hard-Fork (UAHF), implemented by the BitcoinABC client, was a “contingency plan” in response to a User Activated Soft-Fork (UASF) which aimed to activate segwit and was supported by some Bitcoin Core developers like Luke-Jr and Peter Todd.
UASF is now irrelevant because miners have locked-in segwit, while UAHF has taken a life of its own with Bitmain stating:
“The development of UAHF is now led by supporters of Bitcoin’s blocksize increase. Bitmain cannot and does not control their opinions.”
Although BitcoinABC is a newly released client, it has been in development for more than a year, spurred by the Hong Kong agreement reached last year.
That agreement was identical to the New York Agreement, which implements segwit2x, but then, as now, no one believed they would go with the hard-fork part, with some developers and miners renegading on the Hong Kong agreement, leading to a stalemate until the New York Agreement.
But, soon after segwit was locked-in by the New York Agreement, Gregory Maxwell, the CTO of Blockstream – a for profit company which employs or contracts many Bitcoin Core developers like Lule-Jr – stated that the hardfork planned in three months will happen “at roughly the same time as hell freezing over.”
Moreover, some big blockers think a hardfork to just 2MB, increasing ordinary capacity to around 3.5MB while having an attack vector of 8MB, is too little, too late, and a capitulation to the settlement vision.
As such, big blockers are forking, opening the decision to the free market, the ultimate 51%. Based on their decision, the mining hashrate and businesses will likely have no choice as the Chandler Guo story illustrates.
Shortly after ETC was surprisingly listed on Poloniex, Guo stated he is allocating his mining hashrate towards attacking the chain. A day or two later, he made a complete u-turn stating that ETC was the real ethereum.
ETH, of course, is far more valuable than ETC, but no one should be surprised if businesses, like Coinbase, or miners, like Guo, change their tune based on the judgment of the free market.