Plans for a large-block Bitcoin hard fork in August are beyond our control, Bitmain has stated. But although the mining giant formally supports SegWit2x as defined by the “New York Agreement”, it does not rule out support for “Bitcoin Cash” at a later date.
As the world’s largest manufacturer and operator of Bitcoin mining hardware, Bitmain has an influential voice in protocol debates. However this doesn’t mean the company can act alone.
Explaining the Various Hard Fork Terms
Since there are many different terms and “brands” that refer to similar Bitcoin projects, some clarification is needed.
In April, Bitmain first proposed a user-activated hard fork (UAHF) as a contingency measure. It would immediately introduce larger transaction block sizes, but would activate only if the BIP 148 / UASF initiative looked set to create a fork of its own.
That scenario now looks very unlikely, with miners signaling 100 percent support for SegWit in some form.
However, at last month’s The Future of Bitcoin conference in the Netherlands, several large-block supporters proposed to hard fork the network anyway. From this, the “Bitcoin ABC” software and its potential currency “Bitcoin Cash” (BCC) was born.
This in itself is not dramatic — such a fork would only have an impact if it gains significant miner and economic support. Otherwise, Bitcoin will proceed down the SegWit2x path.
In a blog post, Bitmain stated these are no longer its sponsored projects, although the company remains interested:
“The development of UAHF is now led by supporters of Bitcoin’s blocksize increase. Bitmain cannot and does not control their opinions.”
As for ViaBTC’s vocal and material support for Bitcoin Cash, Bitmain said the two companies share an “investment relationship” — but that ViaBTC is structured to operate independently and sets its own policies.
Large Chinese exchange OKCoin, which is not linked to either company, this week also indicated it would support Bitcoin Cash if it gained popularity.
Bitmain Still Supports the New York Agreement
The company reiterated that it’s a signatory to the “New York Agreement”, a plan that activates SegWit almost immediately, and then hard forks to introduce 2MB transaction block sizes around November. The company continues to support this plan and run its btc1 software on all its mining pools (Antpool, BTC.COM and ConnectBTC) “in the foreseeable future”.
However, the post concluded, Bitmain is still “closely observing the BCC movement”. If BCC does look like gaining momentum, its miners may support it alongside SegWit2x.
Does this help clarify Bitmain’s stance? Let us know what you think.
Images via Bitmain, Pixabay