BCH Future in RawPool’s Hands? Mining Pool Dominates Network Ahead of Hard Fork
Bitcoin Cash (BCH) has a new leader in hashpower after Chinese mining pool RawPool overtook the mainstays of the network on September 13, 2018.
The group has mined the most blocks on the Bitcoin Cash blockchain for the past 24 hours. According to data from several tracking websites, RawPool has mined 29 percent of the total blocks processed on the blockchain.
CoinGeek fell behind with only 23 percent, followed by nChain’s BMG Pool with 13 percent. Meanwhile, both Bitmain-owned BTC.com and AntPool mined only a combined 14 percent of the entire mined blocks for the day.
According to the group’s founder, David Li, RawPool became interested in Bitcoin Cash because of the maximum block size permitted on the altcoin’s network. He explained further that the mining pool focuses on testing larger block sizes that are absent in the Bitcoin (BTC) blockchain.
Blocks on the Bitcoin Cash network can reach up to 32 MB, while those on the Bitcoin chain are limited to only 1 MB.
We are focusing on testing bigger blocks on BCH which is NOT offered on BTC chain. There’s lots of things to do besides the price of coins.
— David Li (@davidli_rawpool) September 6, 2018
RawPool’s entry as an influential player in Bitcoin Cash’s mining industry could have a huge effect in deciding the altcoin’s future.
Canonical vs Topological
As the scheduled November hard fork of the Bitcoin Cash network draws close, the fight between two ideologies that have divided the Bitcoin Cash community continues to intensify.
Bitcoin ABC, the full node used by a great majority of miners on the Bitcoin Cash network, wanted to introduce several changes to the blockchain. These adjustments included adding operational codes that could help in implementing smart contracts on the network.
However, nChain has rejected these changes. According to the developer, Bitcoin ABC would stray the altcoin away from the original vision of Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto. To bring Bitcoin Cash back to Nakamoto’s vision, nChain would introduce a new full node different from Bitcoin ABC.
Approaching the hard fork, the two leading factions have released the early versions of their respective full nodes. Bitcoin ABC—aided by Bitmain’s Jihan Wu, among others—has introduced Bitcoin ABC 0.18.0 to the public. Meanwhile, opposing nChain—with support from CoinGeek and entrepreneur Craig Wright—recently released the alpha version of its Bitcoin SV.
One of the glaring differences between the two nodes is the transactional order each will follow.
Bitcoin SV would follow the topological transaction ordering rule (TTOR) currently in effect on the Bitcoin Cash blockchain. TTOR organizes transactions in a way that the descendant transaction would follow its ancestor transaction.
On the other hand, Bitcoin ABC would obey the canonical transaction ordering rule (CTOR). This rule simply organizes transactions in ascending order based on transaction IDs.
The conflict between the two sides would culminate on November when the Bitcoin Cash network is scheduled to upgrade. Given that the two of the leading miners on the network advocate for two complete different nodes, many expect to have two separate Bitcoin Cash iterations after the hard fork.
What would determine the legitimate Bitcoin Cash, however, is the number of miners using a particular node. According to most analysts, a node used by more than 51 percent of the network’s total hashpower would become the de facto blockchain of the altcoin.
As both parties currently lack the majority hashpower, they have started promoting their respective full nodes to miners and pool operators. This is where RawPool’s important role comes in. With its hashpower second to none, choosing one of the two new nodes would help the winning party reach 51 percent easily.
However, RawPool kept its neutral stance. To help it decide on which side to choose, the mining pool announced that it would test upcoming versions developed by both sides to determine which would benefit the Bitcoin Cash network the most.
We are still working on it.
— David Li (@davidli_rawpool) August 23, 2018
Rawpool has started testing Bitcoin ABC 0.18.0 by analyzing the node’s CTOR codes. The research concluded that the performances of both TTOR and CTOR in terms of ordering transactions are similar with each other. Yet, both have their respective downsides.
Based on the mining pool’s decision to scrutinize the new nodes, many analysts agree that an enticing technological work could convince RawPool out of neutrality. The warring factions, however, have only less than two months to polish their full nodes and to bring RawPool’s much-needed hashpower to their side.