Bitcoin Classic Hits Wall as 87% Mining Hash Power Rejects “Any Contentious” Hard Fork

Has Gavin Andresen’s latest hard fork, Bitcoin Classic, run into another brick wall of mining pool opposition?

That appears to be the case. Not long after Andresen announced the first release of Bitcoin Classic, a group of mining pools and bitcoin businesses, calling itself Bitcoin Roundtable, today collectively released a letter effectively rejecting Bitcoin Classic and any contentious hard fork, at least for the time being.

This group included BitFury, BitmainWarranty, BTCC, BTCT/BW, F2Pool, GHash.IO, Genesis Mining and Zoomhash, representing more than 87% of the hash power in the Bitcoin network.

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Courtesy of Kaiko.com

Interestingly, Bitcoin Classic claimed to have the support of Bitmain, BitFury, BW.COM and Genesis Mining on its website. Similar to what happened to Bitcoin XT, that support was apparently not firmed up.

The Bitcoin Roundtable also included these bitcoin services and hardware companies: BitExchange, Bitfinex, BIT-X Exchange, CCEDK ApS, CEX.IO, LIGHTNINGASIC, Spondoolies-Tech and Smartwallet, as well as the group behind bitcoin forked cryptocurrency Litecoin.

The letter called for a inclusive roadmap and consensus:

Over the past few months there has been significant attention within the bitcoin ecosystem and beyond on what is commonly referred to as the “block size issue” — the size and scale of bitcoin blocks. There is a pressing need for an inclusive roadmap that takes into account the needs of businesses and all stakeholders.

As a community of bitcoin businesses, exchanges, wallets, miners, and mining pools, we have come together to chart an effective path to resolve this challenge and agreed on five positions we hope will guide the larger community as we move forward together.

The group highlights the following five key points that they all have agreed on.

      • We see the need for a modest block size increase in order to move the Bitcoin project forward, but we would like to do it with minimal risk, taking the safest and most balanced route possible. SegWit is almost ready and we support its deployment as a step in scaling.
      • We think any contentious hard-fork contains additional risks and potentially may result in two incompatible blockchain versions, if improperly implemented. To avoid potential losses for all bitcoin users, we need to minimize the risks. It is our firm belief that a contentious hard-fork right now would be extremely detrimental to the bitcoin ecosystem.
      • In the next 3 weeks, we need the Bitcoin Core developers to work with us and clarify the roadmap with respect to a future hard-fork which includes an increase of the block size. Currently we are in discussions to determine the next best steps. We are as a matter of principle against unduly rushed or controversial hard-forks irrespective of the team proposing and we will not run such code on production systems nor mine any block from that hard-fork. We urge everyone to act rationally and hold off on making any decision to run a contentious hard-fork (Classic/XT or any other).
      • We must ensure that future changes to code relating to consensus rules are done in a safe and balanced way. We also believe that hard-forks should only be activated if they have widespread consensus and long enough deployment timelines. The deployment of hard-forks without widespread consensus is dangerous and has the potential to cause trust and monetary losses.
      • We strongly encourage all bitcoin contributors to come together and resolve their differences to collaborate on the scaling roadmap. Divisions in the bitcoin community can only be mended if the developers and contributors can take the first step and cooperate with each other.

The Bitcoin Roundtable letter is a victory for the Blockstream-led faction in the block size debate as it it supports Segregated Witness as a suitable step in scaling the Bitcoin network.

[UPDATE 9 am Feb 12, 2016 – Hong Kong Time] Jihan Wu, the Co-Founder of Bitmain and Antpool, has today stated that Bitmain Warranty is not Bitmain, and that his company will start testing Bitcoin Classic soon.

Bitmain is a China-based mining hardware company that runs Antpool, one of the largest at more than 20% mining power.

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