The biggest crypto show of 2018 is now to begin with the hardfork to start activating at 4:40PM UTC, followed by a chain-split about an hour or two after. The spec says:
“When the median time past  of the most recent 11 blocks (MTP-11) is greater than or equal to UNIX timestamp 1542300000, Bitcoin Cash will execute an upgrade of the network consensus rules.”
1542300000 unix time is 4:40PM UTC on November 15th. That means 11 blocks have to be found with the timestamp of 4:40PM or higher for the fork to activate.
A block is usually found every 10 minutes in BCH, but if hash starts moving over from BTC, then it might be quicker. So the split may be sometime between 5PM and 7PM London time. As for what may happen, Emin Gün Sirer says, and we quote at length:
“The BCH upgrade, and the accompanying hashwar by CoinGeek, are today. Here are some thoughts and predictions.
There are lots of super interesting and clever attacks one can launch against PoW chains. We are going to see none of these.
The CoinGeek folks lack the technical chops to launch them. Their expertise lies in social manipulation, and running things from the command line.
We will see the dumbest possible attacks: monopoly mining and tx flooding. We might see empty block attacks.
I called out Craig Wright’s fraud way before the world knew about him. He has been obsessed with attacking my work ever since. His website background was our selfish mining paper.
Over the years, I’ve developed a good sense for the “Craig touch.” He brings the IQ down of any group he is in. That’s why there isn’t a single smart person behind BSV, the CoinGeek coin. That’s why the attacks are going to be super dumb.
Nevertheless, monopoly mining is a real attack. It *can* work. It needs to be coupled with insane rhetoric.
In the game of chicken, where people drive towards each other, your best strategy is to throw out your steering wheel.
That’s why you need insane commitment rhetoric.
We have been seeing that, and expect the laughable villain rhetoric to peak today. It’ll be hilarious. I always imagine Gargamel speaking it when someone forwards me a snippet.
Keep in mind that Craig has no honor and nothing to lose. His commitments and words mean nothing.
So this is a particularly easy game for him to play. It’s like throwing the steering wheel out, and keeping five extra ones in the back seat. He has no credibility, so the miners are not going to take his threat of losing Calvin’s money on a hash war seriously.
Any attack is waged with finite resources, and whoever runs out of them first wins. Monopoly mining is a simple game.
On one side, we have a self-proclaimed gambling-rich guy, on the other, we have a collection of people and companies that want to build a new currency. Of these, Bitmain’s balance sheet had been made public, and they have very, very deep pockets.
So, first order analysis already answers the question of how this will play out. Deeper pockets, with a strong economic commitment to the coin, will win.
Now, recall CoinGeek’s forte: they will make lots of hollow noise. Expect threats of lawsuits against Bitmain and others.
CoinGeek is counting on a set of meek Chinese miners folding in to their nonsensical demands. They will find deeper economic commitment, coupled with a good dev team. Expect a more complex series of defenses than they expected.
Don’t expect to transact in BCH until this current spate of stupidity is over, when Calvin gets tired of losing money and strikes an agreement. Or if the BCH supporters fall apart for some unfathomable reason.
There is no reason for the latter to happen, but BCH folks historically can’t coordinate.
This is just a game of spending money on hashpower in the short term. BCH should have no difficulty doing that.
But then again, they did let CSW into their midst, so who knows.
Overall, the hashwar will probably fizzle out at the technical level, while raging on social media.
In the long term, strong communities with a unique technical vision win. BSV doesn’t have this, so it’s a clear loser. The question is whether BCH has it. Both can lose.
In the end, we will all learn something about the costs of attacking PoW coins, and what their true security guarantees are.
Already, we can see that the amount of energy spent on miners does NOT translate into equivalent security. Miners shift and move.”
It’s not easy to foresee Ayre actually going ahead with a 51% attack or a monopoly attack as Sirer calls it, but who knows Craig Wright might have fooled him into burning money.
In that case, we’ll have to wait and see whether supporting miners do overpower them, with techniques outside of hash already utilized in the form of DDoS.
It remains to be seen whether the market will care about what’s going on at the protocol level. Usually they don’t because this is just code, but as a blockchain’s ability to exist is being threatened, it may be different in this case.
Cryptos have fallen again today to incredible new lows, with the global market cap reaching its lowest point of the year at $180 billion.
Stocks are down too, with the British Pound currently more volatile than even cryptos. There’s all this Brexit drama going on because they couldn’t find some other day to have it instead of during the crypto show.
That Brexit turbulence may have reflected on crypto prices, in addition to the BCH uncertainty regarding whether one man can really 51% attack a chain.
Now we say one man, obviously this split is partly a community split too. Some in Bitcoin Unlimited (BU) support Craig Wright (CSW), partly because BU collaborated with CSW’s nChain.
They sort of invited him in really, and while Peter Rizun now criticizes CSW, he has been fairly silent regarding the upcoming split.
He and others in BU have moreover tactically supported CSW’s position. They argue that’s just a coincidence, but some BU supporters are fervent supporters of CSW.
That’s probably because Rizun and Andrew Clifford, BU’s President, effectively welcomed CSW, with Clifford stating even recently that they will keep collaborating with nChain.
So this is effectively BU’s split, but instead of going into their own BU chain if they have a disagreement, they’re kind of backing while not backing CSW, with some BU supporters as stated very vocally in favor of BSV.
That’s because Craig Wright doesn’t have one original thought. He copies others then sort of parrots them, like cypherdoc of BU. In this way so making them agree with his own unrelated end-aims.
So it is both one man and it isn’t at the same time because had it not been for CSW then there would have been no split, but had it not been for BU support – at times explicit – then no one would have cared about the split.
Twitter is probably a good place for somewhat instant news. If events develop fast we may document them there with more sombre reports reserved for tomorrow after we can figure out what unfolded.
All coins are safe of course, although mind the lack of replay protection, but sit tight, get some popcorn, and enjoy the show.