Nearly One in Three Bitcoin Miners Isn’t Voting on Either SegWit Or Unlimited

There is no shortage of drama in the bitcoin world these days, that much is certain. SegWit and Unlimited are still dominating news headlines these days It is rather troublesome to see so many miners still not signaling either solution, though. After all, there is no shortage of potential bitcoin scaling solutions right now, to say the least.

Indecisive Bitcoin Miners Pose A Problem

It is not entirely surprising to find out a lot of miners can’t be bothered to support either SegWit or BU right now. This discussion has dragged on for far too long. Moreover, it seems there is no way to effectively gain progress in this scenario either. Chinese pools hold the majority of mining power and they continue to oppose SegWit.

Interestingly enough, all other pools around the world are not too keen on Unlimited right now. This creates a rather uneasy situation. However, no one ever said the miners are the only ones who can vote on the best solution to activate. This is why the user-activated soft fork has started to gain some traction as of late. It is unclear if this concept has a better chance to activate, though.

Over on the /r/btc subreddit, people feel these indecisive miners should cast a vote sooner rather than later. While this sentiment holds some merit, one can’t force people to vote either. In fact, signaling seems to have very little influence these days. All most miners care about is optimizing revenue, rather than playing political games. Indecisiveness can prove to be costly, though, as it will only further delay finding a potential solution.

It seems evident the best course of action would be to go with a user-activated soft fork. Not just because this activated SegWit, though. It provides every bitcoin user with a chance to cast their vote. Miners have held too much power over the network for far too long now. Economic parties are leaning toward SegWit, this to this the way things should be headed. The rest will have to follow the majority or risk of losing out.

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The Bitcoin ecosystem is divided into multiple camps. With the lingering scalability issues, and other proposals representing an immediate solution to this problem, there is an interesting mid shift taking place. As it turns out, the majority of miners is still supporting Bitcoin Core in the block size debate. But they are losing ground at a rapid pace.

Right now, there are different proposals on the table to solve the Bitcoin scalability issue. One thing everyone seems to agree on is how the block size will need to be increased. By how much that increase will happen, remains to be seen, though. Bitcoin Core, which is the main branch of development, is working on Segregated Witness who would warrant a 2 MB block size.

Based on block size voting results, only 27.94% of the community is for the Bitcoin Core solution. Do keep in mind nearly one in four did not vote yet, and their preferences could go either way. Even if we were to add up that 22.01 % of non-voting miners to the support Bitcoin Core has, they would fail to reach 50%.

Miners Stopped Caring About Scalability Preferences

Bitcoin Classic seems to be the “best of the other solutions” right now. Created several months ago, Bitcoin Classic votes for an immediate block size increase by hard forking Bitcoin. This concept has been subject to much debate already, as a hard fork implements a significant security concern for the future of Bitcoin.

Other solutions, such as Bitcoin Unlimited – 2.54% -, Bitpay’s Bitcoin – 2.45% – and BIP 100 – which introduces 8MB blocks right away – are all seeing much less support. It is positive to see so many different solutions on the table right now. Unfortunately, that also means a lot of Bitcoin miners have stopped caring about the outcome, as long as there is a solution on the horizon.

To be more precise, a total of 26.84% of Bitcoin miners doesn’t care which scalability solution is implemented. This does not mean they stopped caring about the issue, though. The ongoing bickering between the different solutions is putting a lot of stress on the Bitcoin ecosystem as a whole. Without a proper solution in place, the number of miners who don’t care about which outcome “wins” will only grow larger.

For the time being, it appears the scalability concerns will not be resolved anytime soon. When even the miners do not care enough to pick a favourable solution, it becomes apparent something will need to change. A solution to this lingering problem is direly needed.

Source: Reddit

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Bitcoin price has been exhibiting a downward trend from the past few days. The fall in Bitcoin price is attributed to uncertainties regarding the outcome of the meeting between Bitcoin Core developer group and miners.

With the miners and developers continuing their meeting behind closed doors to discuss the future of Bitcoin, the digital currency community is left speculating about the future of Bitcoin. The Bitcoin network is in need of scaling up as the community grows. However, the lack of consensus between developers and miners has prevented much progress in this regard.

As the anticipation grows, the very fact that a section of Bitcoin community – consisting of developers and miners – meeting in private is a matter of concern. Bitcoin is an open sourced, transparent peer-to-peer ecosystem and the current developments don’t inspire much confidence in it.

There are reports of few miners resisting major changes to the Bitcoin network – like a hard fork that increases the block size – while reiterating that they would like to stick to Bitcoin Core. Many BIPs like the Bitcoin XT, Bitcoin Classic and Unlimited have failed trying to improve the network due to this. Few speculations as to why some of the large miners prefer Core over other versions and their resistance to increased block size as stated by /u/Capt_Roger_Murdock are as follows:

* Collusion between Core and miners to maintain the current block size for gains through higher miner fee for transactions

* Misconception about increase in block size and its negative effects on decentralization

* Threat from Bitcoin Core developers to release a 1 MB Proof of Work changing fork if the miners decide to act on their own, which may impact the efficiency of existing mining hardware owned by miners.

* Doubts about reliability and support from any other fork due to the belief that other developers may not be competent enough or the lack of funding.

While these are few valid points if any of these speculations are indeed true, it can be countered by a collective resistance from the community. In order to do so, it is necessary to have an open discussion with the whole community instead of just a handful of people. A well-informed mass of people allowed to decide what is best for them will help the Bitcoin ecosystem to move forward, without having to depend on a small group to decide what’s best for millions of users.

In a recent tweet, the founder of Litecoin Charlie Lee states the Bitcoin Civil War to be over. It is quite a cryptic message considering there is no concrete information available about the discussions at the meeting.

It is time the Bitcoin community gets to know about any new developments before the value of bitcoin takes a huge hit, reigniting the concerns raised during Bitcoin reward halving.

Ref: Reddit | Twitter | ImageΜΗΧΑΝΗ ΤΟΥ ΧΡΟΝΟΥ


Bitcoin enthusiasts who have been looking at the price charts will have noticed things are heading in the wrong direction. The meeting between Bitcoin miners and Core developers is causing a lot of concern right now, resulting in a Bitcoin price crash. These closed-door meetings are having a similar effect every time they take place, though.

It is not the first time Bitcoin Core developers and major mining pool operators come together for such a meeting. Several of these events have taken place over the past few months, all of which revolve around the upcoming block size increase issue. Interestingly enough, the Bitcoin price drops as soon as these meetings take place every single time.

Bitcoin Price Dips During Closed Door Meeting

Details about this most recent meeting between developers and miners are very hard to come by. No media representatives are allowed to attend these closed-door meetings, and the community will have to wait for an official statement by the attendees. Looming uncertainty has never done the price of any asset any favors, and Bitcoin is no different in that regard.

From what little information we have managed to gather, nearly two dozen Bitcoin Core and Lightning Network developers are present for this meeting. Many people feel the Lightning Network will solve the Bitcoin block size issue, and solve any other scalability issues as well. But the road ahead for this project is still very long, and not everyone may want to wait for another 6-12 months to address this lingering issue.

To compound these concerns, there have been rumors regarding Bitcoin miners switching to an alternative Bitcoin client as of today. Whether or not that will be the case, remains to be seen, for now. This potential switch only adds more fuel to the fire, which is driving the Bitcoin price even further as we speak.

For now, it is anybody’s guess as to what we can expect from this new meeting between “top brass” of the Bitcoin scene. A price drop during such an event is not uncommon, albeit a statement would be much appreciated by everyone at this stage. At the time of writing, one Bitcoin was trading at the value of US$620.54, compared to US$657.5 earlier this morning.

Source: HodlHodl

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People always want to get the most out of their bitcoin mining rigs and rightly so. The difficulty levels of bitcoin algorithm are increasing daily and mining has become a competitive affair. Those who discover fresh blocks stand to gain the bitcoin network reward. In order to discover new blocks, the mining chips have to be able to generate enough processing power to break the encryption protocol to find the cryptographic nonce value for the new block. This processing power is supplied by custom built bitcoin mining application specific integrated circuits (ASICs).

There is always a constant struggle to optimize ASICs to generate more processing power while reducing the electricity consumption. By increasing the efficiency of hardware, bitcoin mining can be made more profitable. Most of the attempts at increasing the processing power are limited to designing better processor architecture. Now for the first time, a group of researchers from the University of Illinois has been involved in a research to improve the bitcoin mining process.

Approximate Bitcoin Mining Increases Miner Efficiency

Their research involves the implementation of  Approximate Bitcoin Mining process to increase the efficiency of mining hardware by up to 30 percent. A team of three researchers – Matthew Vilim, Henrey Duwe, and Rakesh Kumar propose the use of approximate mining circuits that trades of reliability with area and delay. They believe that by operating these circuits in ‘Better than Worst Case’ mode, they can further increase the gains.

In order to derive this solution, they exploit bitcoin mining’s intrinsic resilience to errors. Bitcoin mining hardware is designed to operate in a parallel fashion to avoid propagation of errors. This enables the circuits to process multiple solutions at the same time without one erroneous output compromising the whole process. Any erroneous solution presented to the Bitcoin network by miners are rejected.

The researchers have devised two ways of approximation – Functional Approximation and Operational Approximation. In functional approximation, the optimization is carried out by targeting the mining chips functionality. This is done by replacing the exiting circuits with an approximate version in a fashion to reduce the total area occupied by circuit components or delay. This leads to a slack which is recovered by increasing the frequency and throughput.

In operational approximation, the guard bands in the miner circuit are reduced and frequency is increased by running it with a negative timing slack. According to the paper published by the trio, this is the first time someone has attempted to optimize bitcoin mining by focusing on hardware instead of tweaking the algorithm. The researchers have attempted to reduce the delay by making changes to the adder. By optimizing the usage of mining chip’s real estate with approximation circuit design, manufacturers will be able to place more cores on the chip. This will increase the capability of bitcoin miners to process more hashes.

The simulations conducted by the researchers using Bitmain BM1385 miner after replacing the parameters has shown promising results with an increase in profitability by 15% to 30%. This research is just the beginning, a lot of such optimization studies are going to come in the future

Read the full research paper here

Ref: Approximate Bitcoin Mining - Paper

CoinTerra Logo Wide

The folks over at CoinTerra today announced the shipment of their 1,000th TerraMiner bitcoin miner, less than a month following the first delivery of the powerful device.

In that time frame, TerraMiner units are responsible for 1.7 Petahash of mining power by CoinTerra’s estimation — over 6 percent of the bitcoin network.

“We handed over the very first TerraMiner to a customer at the end of January and now I am very pleased to say that we have shipped over 1,000 TerraMiners and are at full production volume,” said company CEO Ravi Iyengar.

The company says they’re working as fast as they can to delivery February’s batch of orders, and is on-track to continue delivering TerraMiner IV units to customers on schedule.

The company’s second manufacturing facility in central Texas is said to be operating at full capacity, and CoinTerra expects the latest batch of orders to be delivered in June 2014 (which includes their GSX PCIe card mining card).

CoinTerra, respected in the mining community, will be the headline sponsor of the Texas Bitcoin Conference (March 5-6th).

boscombe pierlytic minersNot terribly long ago, a news story circulated on the bitcoinosphere of a new bitcoin mining hardware company called Boscombe Pierlytic Miners. The company announced three miners with impressive specifications and even opened up pre-ordering.

Following the story, however, word began to spread that the Boscombe operation was nothing more than a scam. There’s an entire thread on Bitcointalk dedicated to the topic.

So when a commenter on our site noted simply “This is a scam”, we became curious and felt it be the responsible thing to reach out to the company and allow them to make a statement. We asked what Boscombe Pierlytic would say in response to the accusations.

The company told us the following in an email:

its very difficult at the moment to say that we are not scam because we have no miner in hands. after we have the first miner in our hands we will provide videos.
our registered company is existing with our office and warehouse in prague. we will provide some additional photos of our warehouse and factory

We aren’t sure who at the company sent us the reply, as it simply came from “support”, but we thought we’d share this anyway.

safety check

You know how your mother has seemingly fifteen different toolbars installed on her web browser? One or more of them could potentially be mining bitcoins secretly in the background, according to Malwarebytes.

Except in these cases, the bitcoins (or possibly altcoins) aren’t going to the user of the computer. They’re going to criminals potentially on the other side of the planet. It’s an elaborate scheme aimed at quietly distributing computing power — using your resources — all at a grand total of $0 for the criminals.

But if you’re confident you don’t install suspicious programs, consider how fast you click “next” on setups of programs you do install. Often times, they’ll include an inconveniently-placed check box (that’s pre-checked, mind you) that reads: “Also install x on this computer” (or something of the like).

Malwarebytes, which offers a free scanning utility (and paid versions as well) can potentially detect these types of unwanted programs.

Continue reading Some Malware Now Being Used to Mine Bitcoins For Criminals