Bitmain’s Bitcoin Mining Pool AntPool Quits Mining Segregated Witness ‘SegWit’ Blocks
Antpool, one of the largest crypto mining pools in the world, which is controlled by the giant crypto mining hardware manufacturer Bitmain has stopped mining Segregated Witness (SegWit) blocks. The reasons? Nobody is really sure right now but everybody is reacting to this decision, even without a proper confirmation from the company.
People Reacted On Reddit and Twitter
As Bitmain is one of the biggest supporters of larger block sizes, a lot of people were right in be somewhat confused that the company seems to only be mining non-SW blocks with less than 1MB of size.
Why it is not necessarily correct to affirm that the company is “no longer” mining SegWit blocks, data from MemPool shows that most of the last blocks mined by Antpool were all smaller than 1MB. The main controversy was on whether Antpool should be “charitable” or not. A post on r/Bitcoin discussed the issue.
The question is that ideologically supporting bigger block sizes does not necessarily mean that the company will ignore smaller blocks (which can be easier to mine) if they pay better.
Despite Bitmain's strong support for larger blocks, Antpool has recently been producing smaller blocks (below 1MB), while other pools produce larger blocks.
— BitMEX Research (@BitMEXResearch) October 29, 2018
BitMEX’s official profile has commented on the issue. According to the tweet from the company, Bitmain has been strongly supporting large blocks but seems to be ignoring them while other pools produce larger blocks. Another tweet confirms that, apart from two blocks, the company has been only mining small ones for the last few days.
Another user replied to the tweet asking whether the company is making a non-SW fork off Bitcoin, then someone replied that another one will not be better than the previous one (he was referring to Bitcoin Cash).
What Are SegWit Transactions
The Segregated Witness is how a soft fork that changed the transaction format on Bitcoin is called. Named as Proposal Number BIP141, the idea was to prevent nonintentional Bitcoin transaction malleability and to allow optional data transmission with the change.
Also, another great advantage of the SegWit technology is that it reduces the problem of transaction speeds because it splits the transaction into two segments. The upgrade was created in 2017 and the idea was first presented as an effort to scale Bitcoin in 2015.
The fork was one of the reasons why Bitcoin Cash happened, as its creators wanted to implement larger block size formats in Bitcoin instead of using another protocol.
Bitmain On The Target Of Critics
The reaction to Bitmain has certainly not been any good. People have complained that while the company has stopped to use SegWit transactions, it continues to use the highly controversial Covert ASICBoost mining technique, which has been highly criticized for not being practical enough. As the company rolled out its Overty ASICBoost for Antminer in September, some people are suspicious.
However, despite what the critics may say, Bitmain continues to be in control of the Bitcoin hash. Most of the mining in the world comes from two pools owned by the company: BTC.com and Antpool.
BTC.com, for instance, is still mining blocks normally despite what the other company is currently doing at this moment. On the rest of the world, SegWit continues to climb and has reached a total of 48% of all transactions in early October.