UPDATE 21:53 GMT 15 November 2018
The Bitcoin Cash network has now been upgraded
29 blocks have been mined under the new consensus rules! Bitcoin ABC is currently 8 blocks ahead. Bitcoin Cash SV is down 48% to $90.
An nChain source has spoken exclusively to coinintelnews, but cannot be named due to the NDA that all employees sign.
Wright described himself recently as somewhat “Trumpian”, but the company he leads is not in that image.
The nChain team is diverse in the kind of way Google isn’t. Yes, women can be engineers and researchers too!
And there’s a fair sprinkling of Corbynistas (London’s often tech savvy Labour-leaning youth) too. The surface appearances at any rate seem to be anything but Trumpian.
However, it is crypto politics that has the nChain team worried.
From the outside looking in, Wright is public enemy number one, and from the inside looking out, there’s something of a siege mentality in evidence among the nChain London crew.
Craig Wright is on manoeuvres against BCHABC
First I wanted to get hold of the man himself – fake satoshi or otherwise, but he was headed out of town.
“Craig is going to be away much of this week in the run up to the hash war,” our source relates.
That’s to be expected given the global span of crypto and the need for direct human contact (historically, a tried and tested way of attempting to establish trust), and trust is in short supply in this war.
It is also easier to keep plans under wraps this way, which is unusual for someone like Wright who is fond of broadcasting his scattergun hostility to all those who would doubt his Satoshi’s Vision.
“There is a hell of lot of manoeuvring”, says our source by way of an explanation for Wright’s whereabouts.
That’s something of an understatement – it’s more like tanks on manoeuvres out there.
A plague on all the BCH houses
Owners and users (yes there are some) of Bitcoin Cash are today faced with the unfortunate situation of rival chain promoters threatening to kill the other’s full node implementation.
The stakes are high. According to the stats, BCHABC, self-proclaimed guardians of the “official” development roadmap, has the vast majority of nodes. But it is BCHSV that is out ahead when it comes to all-important hashrate.
On the face of it then, the Craig Wright cause looks like it has mustered much more support than initially expected. However, as critics are quick to point out, you would be hard pressed to find many ordinary folk supporting the BCHSV cause.
From Twitter to reddit the outrage is building and perhaps even worse, disgust in all-things BCH is breaking out as market participants lean towards the view “a plague on all their houses”.
Here’s an example from one reddit poster that may be indicative of a growing number who have “just stopped caring.”
Our nChain insider doesn’t beat about the bush: “We’re under no illusions about what people think of Craig.”
Even before BCH fork wars, Wright was lambasted by many as the “Fake Satoshi, referring to his claim to be the inventor of bitcoin.
Making enemies in high places
Now Wright is going to war against the biggest miner in the business and that might not be such a smart move.
In an interview with DecryptMedia Wright said he will “bleed them”, but all he might succeed in doing is making a reasonable idea (128MB blocks) seem like the work of the devil.
Some are worried about what it means for their futures in the industry being Craig Wright enablers. But with blockchain engineers commanding salaries of $100,000 and more, they don’t really have anything to worry about. I could cope with a boss on the spectrum for that kind of money.
It’s a bit like working for Trump, although Wright is smarter. Wright, like Trump, just can’t help himself when it comes to being rude and ungracious to people on Twitter.
Here’s an example of his charming, some would say conceited, ways:
The entire crypto space is Bitcoin (bch) and fools trying to comprehend blockchain…
It is like I started a race, but my competitors ran the wrong way… pic.twitter.com/Q4y5lSvAUV
— Dr Craig S Wright (@ProfFaustus) November 13, 2018
As a consequence “a lot of people in the community hate him” says our source. “This little episode may just create more enemies.”
Bitmain’s Jihan Wu has declared war on BCHSV, so it is not just a threatened change to the consensus mechanism to kill off BCHSV that Wright, and by extension the nChain team, has to worry about.
Changing PoW is somewhat of a nuclear option so I'd be reluctant to use it. But it always has been considered the option of last resort in case a large portion of miner become hostile, so we should be ready.
— Deadal Nix (@deadalnix) November 12, 2018
Bitmain’s Jihan Wu setting trap for Wright
The “illegal” (says Wright) Poloniex trading token betting may be moving in BCHSV’s direction, with latest pricing showing BCHSV futures up 58% at $182 on Poloniex, while BCHABC continues to decline, down 15% to $338.
However, the market may be reading this one all wrong. If current trends continue and a “flippening” of sorts takes place, with BCHSV price taking the lead as we head into the fork, a lot of buyers will think they are sitting pretty .
BCHSV may have the hashrate for now, but the rest of the ecosystem, in terms of payments companies, exchanges and nodes, are backing BCHABC, as seen in the data below from coin.dance:
I asked our nChain old-hand about the hashpower being amassed by nChain.
“We’ve got a lot of hidden hashrate” says the source. But will it be enough for when Bitmain brings out the artillery?
There’s caution in the air for the BCHSV full node client devs.
“We still don’t know how many nodes Jihan Wu can switch over from bitcoin so we’re not counting our chickens.”
Antpool’s 90,000 rigs set to crush BCHSV?
They are right to be worried in our view. Not only might Bitmain shift some mining effort from bitcoin to BCH, it looks like it is playing to take no prisoners, if reports emanating from Asia are true.
Apparently, Bitmain’s Antpool is currently installing 90,000 Antminer S9 mining rigs in Xinjiang, according to the well-informed asiacryptotoday.
Wright is going to have to lay his hands on a lot of “hidden” capacity to compete with that.
Whatever happens with the fork it has certainly brought nChain into sharp focus. And after all, there is no such things as bad publicity. The start-up is certainly well and truly on the crypto map now.
The help the heightened focus on the company brings to its future development work may be a positive but there are worries – and that seems to be centred on corporate leadership style.
A last word from our source:
“Either way, I reckon that even once the dust is settled and a clear winner has emerged that might not be the end of our problems.”
The crypto community’s ideologues and true-believers take great umbrage against those who seek to assert de facto centralized control of crypto.
There may be many who will not forgive and forget this “billionaires war” – coingeek, the largest mining pool backing BCHSV is owned by billionaire Calvin Ayre, while Jihan Wu isn’t short of a penny or two with Bitmain currently conducting an initial public offering of its share capital.
And there’s also another billionaire deserved of a mention – Roger Ver, who, along with BitPay, is a backer of Bitcoin Unlimited, which in turn is supporting BCHABC. Ver recently distanced himself from Craig’s efforts, saying “maybe I’ve been fooled”.
The BCHABC changes leave block size unchanged (32MB) but make a number of changes that will make it possible for BCH to run smart contracts.
And there will be yet others that just forget about BCH and move on. Bitcoin anyone?
BCHUSD live 1-hour chart