EXCLUSIVE: OrcaPool Speaks! How the Market Responds to Blockchain Attacks

EXCLUSIVE: OrcaPool Speaks! How the Market Responds to Blockchain Attacks

TL;DR: At the end of last year, SharkPool was birthed to hunt other chains its collection of miners dislike. Recently, a competitor, OrcaPool, has arisen to challenge what it calls the “blockchain censorship” of SharkPool. CoinSpice was able to catch up with the anonymous creators of OrcaPool and Ari Kuqi of SharkPool to get a better sense of what they’re trying to accomplish. OrcaPool went into some detail about their rationales, while Kuqi of SharkPool slyly threatened CoinSpice with legal action should we use the word “attack” in describing its aims. 

More Spice: Bitcoin White Paper Webcomic by Comics Legend Scott McCloud

Attacking Blockchain Attackers

In early November of 2018 a plan was hatched to pool miners, called SharkPool, have them mine empty blocks on a chain they disapprove, use block rewards gained as a result to buy more of another coin, with hopes of eventually starving the targeted project.

EXCLUSIVE: OrcaPool Speaks! How the Market Responds to Blockchain Attacks
SharkPool landing page as of 21 February 2019

Its stated purpose was to “exclusively mine empty blocks on alts and sell the profits for Bitcoin (BCH),” and the SharkPool Twitter account approvingly passed along an early article profile calling the scheme an “attack.” More than 3 months have passed, and other than social media posturing, not a lot has been accomplished, and SharkPool has since turned against BCH.

*EDIT: The author mistakenly confused SparkPool with SharkPool in an earlier version; that paragraph, inconsequential to the article, was deleted. 

OrcaPool

Nevertheless, the idea is out there, and the space is fond of reminding itself of a game theory truism: if anything can be done, it will be done, eventually. By mid-February of 2019, OrcaPool announced a sign up for “http://OrcaPool.Cash , a mining pool that counters attacks by @SharkPoolCash and sells the rewards for #Bitcoin.”

EXCLUSIVE: OrcaPool Speaks! How the Market Responds to Blockchain Attacks
OrcaPool landing page as of 21 February 2019

“I am the first Defender of my kind,” OrcaPool continued. “You may profit beyond your wildest dreams defending these lands. Attacking #Bitcoin was made to be a costly signal. A cost paid to the defenders. Sharks are food for profit. We will bankrupt them,” employing the rhetoric of SharkPool’s spicy inspiration.

The anonymous group told CoinSpice they “prefer to stay anon at this time as the project is directly opposing another.” OrcaPool describe themselves as “a small group of miners who became concerned around the time of the November BCH/BSV hard-fork. When Craig Wright threatened to attack BCH, it became apparent that although he was animated, the threat of destroying a chain is real,” they explained.

A Beacon for Defense

OrcaPool is made up of “pacifists” who “don’t believe in the use of force, particularly taking money through force,” they insisted to CoinSpice. “Destroying other people’s hard earned money falls into that category and is detrimental to the ecosystem as a whole as each blockchain ties up hundreds of thousands, millions, or even billions of dollars of investment money. That is we started OrcaPool. An obvious play on SharkPool. OrcaPool’s primary goal is to be a beacon for defense.”

EXCLUSIVE: OrcaPool Speaks! How the Market Responds to Blockchain Attacks
Response from Ari Kuqi of SharkPool to CoinSpice’s request for comment

Their plan is to use mining power to “stop premeditated attack attempts by SharkPool. The math works out in our favor in such an event where the costs should be minimal,” creating “user-friendly mining software that any cryptocurrency enthusiasts should want to use. Anyone with a PC can earn a steady stream of Satoshis, mining the most profitable coin available. However, in times of defense portions of the pooled hash power will divert onto chain needing defense. Holders of GPU coins will be able to use the OrcaPool software as a kind of blockchain insurance,” the group noted to CoinSpice. They’re presently also working on their own white paper and mission statement.

CoinSpice also reached out to SharkPool’s Ari Kuqi, asking for his reaction to OrcaPool. Kuqi referred to an already public tweet at once dismissing the project and threatening suit against another publication, and then added to CoinSpice, “If anybody is trying to convince you it’s not a parody, you’re getting sucked into a scam. It’s not economically viable to do what they say,” Kuqi stressed. “If you are writing on SharkPool, make sure you don’t call it an attack because SharkPool is real, defamation is real, law is real, courts are real and oh Palley is also real,” he warned CoinSpice, referring to attorney Stephen Palley, partner at the firm Anderson Kill.

Hunt, Bury, Dinner, Destroy, Bankrupted, Not Attack

For Kuqi, such is his online persona, well-known in social media circles. He’s often prone to using phrasing such as “acts of war” and referring to himself as a “general.” He’ll “hunt” coins for “dinner” he refers to as “alts” or “shitcoins,” in an effort to “bury” them. Using the word attack, which SharkPool approvingly retweeted as used in a headline title back in November of 2018, doesn’t seem to be a mischaracterization at first glance.

EXCLUSIVE: OrcaPool Speaks! How the Market Responds to Blockchain Attacks

At Kuqi’s calling OrcaPool a scam, OrcaPool admitted it “is obvious that our name is a parody of sorts to SharkPool. However our intentions and actions are no parody or scam. We are very real. We are not asking anyone for investments of any kind and miners can choose whether to use our pool or not. We’re not sure who we could be scamming,” OrcaPool told CoinSpice. They encouraged Kuqi to reread the Bitcoin White Paper, adding, “It will (almost) always be more economically viable to mine alongside the honest miners than to mine dishonestly. Talk is cheap, Hashpower is not. We encourage him to play out his plan to see how economically viable it is in comparison.”

The legal cases on these issues have yet to develop, and the vector outlined by SharkPool is a way to act in the space, is allowed for, under how chains have evolved. For some enthusiasts, it’s just another aspect of crypto, an investment strategy not unlike corporate raids of the Wall Street sort. Opponents have labeled SharkPool an attack, and in an increasingly litigious environment perhaps Kuqi is right to be wary of agreeing to that exact verb, and so euphemistic hedges under the banner of the cuddly shark are inserted into debates. Markets in lieu of an outside regulatory vacuum will provide for protection against raiders, to greater or lesser degrees. For now, all of it seems to be a way to work out what it is cryptocurrencies are to become.

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