Jihan Wu: ‘I Have Huge Confidence in the Future of Bitcoin Cash’
CEO and co-founder of Bitmain Jihan Wu today expressed confidence in the future of Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and proof-of-work (PoW) mining. Speaking at the Nikkei/CNBC “Future of Money” event in Tokyo in his first major appearance in Japan, Wu also addressed questions over the recent BCH hard fork, the growing importance of the mining industry, and PoW’s massive energy demands.
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Miners to Rebuild Connections, Play a Greater Role
Wu said there has been “a lack of connection between miners and the other parts of the (cryptocurrency) ecosystem” as the industry had become more and more industrialized and professional over the years. Over the next 10 years, he said, we would see miners try to rebuild that connection, becoming coders and opinion-leaders, and becoming more active in protocol development.
He took a swipe at nChain chief scientist Dr. Craig Wright over the recent BCH fork split between rival development teams Bitcoin ABC and Bitcoin SV (“Satoshi’s Vision”). Both sides are still engaged in an ongoing “hash war” to maintain the longer Bitcoin Cash blockchain, with the victor gaining support to use the BCH ticker symbol and logo. The battle also rages on exchange markets, with Binance trading BCHABC for $266 USD and BCHSV for $129 at press time.
Repeating comments he has previously made on social media and in discussions, Wu told the audience:
“Craig Wright, the self-claimed Satoshi — fake Satoshi in my humble opinion — has attempted a 51 percent attack on BCH.”
“He’s quite a different kind of personality … Wright should take full responsibility for the chaos.” He added that no-one should try to “take the community by force,” and that developers needed to find smarter ways to defend it against such actions in the future.
“Bitcoin SV only has two developers, who write very buggy code,” he said, adding that he has “huge confidence in the future of BCH” despite the recent turmoil.
Wu Says PoW Mining Energy Consumption ‘Serves a Purpose’
Responding to moderator Mai Fujimoto’s query over whether he saw PoW’s huge energy demands (equivalent, she said, to over 300,000 households’ worth of electricity), Wu said it was all necessary.
“The (current) banking industry uses lots of computers and consumes a lot of energy,” he said. Human society has to work with money … there needs to be a market. So it all serves a purpose.”
That said, we should still try to optimize energy use through methods like energy-saving algorithms and more efficient machines, he continued.
Some have claimed the future for cryptocurrencies lies with proof-of-stake mining networks, which allocate new coins based on the size of miners’ existing coin holdings (or stakes) rather than the amount of computing power they can deploy to run PoW algorithms.
PoW has proven itself over the years as a way to secure cryptocurrency networks and solve differences over governance, Wu said. PoS, on the other hand, came with several “unsolved problems and risk factors still waiting for smart people to solve”.
He highlighted two key risks: one was that PoS miners could mine multiple blockchains at the same time without having to choose sides — which Wu likened to the dilemma of a dual citizen whose two nations were at war. The other was the “long-range attack”, where a large stakeholder may sell their coins to a bad actor at some point in the future, giving them instant power over the network.
PoS still has a role to play, he continued, saying it could be appropriate for high-throughput and low-latency networks. It could serve something like a second layer with other functions, meaning both PoW and PoS could co-exist in the same ecosystem.
Bitmain’s Role in Cryptocurrency’s Future
As the co-founder of the world’s largest manufacturer of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency mining equipment, Wu has been forced into the spotlight in recent years. Both he and Bitmain have taken stances on the legitimacy and cost of Bitcoin itself, plus the very public debates first over last year’s split between BTC and BCH, and the most recent spat over which development teams are best-prepared to guide BCH.
His company’s and his own role will likely increase in importance in the coming years if optimistic predictions for bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are correct.
Do you agree with Jihan Wu’s opinions on bitcoin and mining’s role in the cryptocurrency ecosystem? Let’s hear your thoughts in the comments.
Images via Bitsonline, Jon Southurst