TL;DR: On January 22, 2020, influential mining pool BTC.TOP founder Jiang Zhuoer released an Infrastructure Funding Plan for Bitcoin Cash (IFP), setting off an ecosystem-wide debate. Zhuoer has since updated his IFP after heated objections from individual miners, node implementations, and influencers. Recently, however, more miners have come forward to voice skepticism at the IFP during a subreddit Ask Me Anything (AMA).
More Miners Voice Skepticism at Bitcoin Cash IFP
“We are unhappy about the current state of misunderstandings caused by opinionated high profile personalities seeking to win popularity contests,” four members of the Bitcoin Cash (BCH) mining community prefaced their AMA. “So we’ve gathered the most pro BCH altruistic miners to come here and share their under represented views. Please note, though we all love BCH, we don’t always share the same view, so our opinions will vary.”
TIMELINE THUS FAR
- 01222020 Infrastructure Funding Proposal
- 01222020 BCH devs react
- 01232020 Jiang Zhuoer AMA
- 01232020 Amaury Séchet addendum to IFP
- 01242020 Bitcoin.com releases statement in support of IFP
- 01242020 Jonald Fyookball’s position on the IFP
- 01252020 Justin Bons, Tobias Ruck suggest voting on IFP
- 01252020 Antony Zegers support of IFP
- 01262020 Early market reaction to IFP
- 01262020 Anon dev imaginary_username’s reaction to IFP
- 01262020 Peter Rizun’s reaction to IFP
- 01272020 Opposing Miners Group
- 01272020 BUIP143: Refuse the Coinbase Tax
- 01282020 Bitcoin Verde’s reaction to IFP
- 01282020 Bitcoin.com drops support for IFP
- 01282020 BCHD’s reaction to IFP
- 02012020 Jiang Zhuoer heavily amends IFP
- 02032020 Ethereum’s Vitalik Buterin, Zcash’s Zooko Wilcox-O’Hearn react to IFP
The informal, ad hoc group was comprised of Redditors /u/ugtarmas – Alexander Levin, CEO of AsicSeer, /u/cryptomemer, /u/DigitalOwls, and /u/1kbken. Levin was the only Bitcoin Cash “altruistic” miner to reveal his name and business. “I have been mining since 2013,” Levin explained, “and have founded 3 companies in that time (gpushack.com, ethosdistro.com, asicseer.com. Currently, my focus is on ASICseer. At the peak of the last Ethereum-fueled GPU mining craze, ethOS managed over 140mw of equipment. ASICseer is currently managing 84mw: https://asicseer.com/#dev.”
To the group’s claim of altruism, “What most people call ‘Altruistic mining’ isn’t really done out of altruism. If you are mining at .028 btc/bch and holding everything, and then the price goes to .041 btc/bch, that’s a 48% increase in ‘profitability.’ The tiny +-5% profitability wiggles between BCH/BTC don’t really matter,” Levin insisted, noting “there will continue to be miners who mine/hold BCH without profit-switching, and whether or not its necessary is irrelevant to the fact that they will continue to exist.”
Anytime There is a New Proposal, the Overton Window Shifts
Levin was also keen to point out his company “mines BCH exclusively with its fee.” Asked why he is “BCH-friendly,” Levin quipped, “To paraphrase Roger Ver: BCH is fast, reliable and inexpensive. BTC is slow, unreliable, and expensive,” and he is opposed to the IFP because he believes it “would give BCH a larger attack surface.” As for whether Zhuoer’s updated IFP for Bitcoin Cash or the alternative proposals floating around were more convincing, Levin stressed, “Anytime there is a new proposal, the Overton Window shifts between the status quo and the proposal itself. The opposite of BTC.TOP’s proposal is not ‘OK let’s do 6% instead of 12.5% and let’s give the money to developers in a decentralized way,’ but rather, ‘Developers should give an extra/additional 12.5% of the block reward to miners.’ As a thought experiment, whenever some proposal is voiced, I try to think of its exact opposite,” he detailed.
Altruistic miner /u/1kbken was quick to clarify the BTC.TOP founder was not “abusing any powers.” Instead, /u/1kbken explained, the IFP “runs the risk of being abused as it was unclear whether he was referring to a pool level orphaning or a protocol level change. This has drawn speculation from the community that is might be the latter, and that would be abuse that we should immediately recognize. There still is ongoing speculation despite his current clarification that it will be pool level orphaning.”
“I’m a pool miner,” member /u/cryptomemer revealed, “and my expertise has been in building large scale mining farms for both hosting and self-mining since 2014. I’ve also worked closely with the largest pools and institutional groups in the mining space.” Asked if /u/cryptomemer or the group had a preferred BCH node implementation (Bitcoin ABC, Bitcoin Unlimited, BCHD, etc.), /u/cryptomemer explained, “Personally, I don’t have much preference on implementation [….] From a business perspective our group prioritizes mining on pools we are most comfortable with (uptime, reject rates, orphan rates, response time, lowest fees, etc…). What that means is, typically we pick a pool we like mining on and trust, and we rarely hop between pools. Unless there is something truly controversial upcoming (i.e. hashwar and IFP), our group just tends to roll with whatever implementation our mining pool is running. In other words, node preference is not our top priority until it’s shoved in our faces.”
“I am strongly against the first proposal by BTC.TOP,” altruistic miner /u/DigitalOwls insisted. As for a version of an IFP being eventually acceptable to /u/DigitalOwls, “It needs to be chosen by the miners (the MINERS, not the POOL), with a low percentage of tax, and a wide list of address that can be easily editable to add new groups and remove groups that cannot be trusted. I personally have no intention of donating to protocol developers as their work is currently irrelevant until we reach at least 8mb of traffic on average. App developers and adoption are much, much, much more important. If these types of groups are not allowed I will simply burn my coins. Also, the pools must represent their miners’ opinion, and not donate to whoever they want. It is imperative this scheme allows new groups being formed to compete and potentially replace ABC and BU.”
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