As explained by Xiangfu Liu, co-founder of bitcoin mining chip maker Canaan, there are few things more sacred in bitcoin than the idea that the strength of a blockchain is the computing power dedicated to securing its ledger. But while bitcoin’s miners remain united in this daily pursuit, their opinions on a new scaling proposal seem decidedly mixed.
Known as ‘Segwit2x’, the proposal, spearheaded by bitcoin investment conglomerate Digital Currency Group, aims to move forward with two changes to the bitcoin network: an optimization called Segregated Witness (SegWit) and an increase to the hardcoded parameter limiting the size of its transaction blocks.
Notable about the effort is its claim it draws support from more than 80% of bitcoin’s computing power. Mining industry participants including Bitcoin.com, Bitfury, Bitmain, BTCC, F2Pool and ViaBTC all signed an agreement supporting the solution, alongside roughly 50 industry startups.
Such participation has done much to lend validation to the effort. That’s because, due to how the network functions, miners (along with nodes) must upgrade to any new software – a position some have argued makes them voters in a kind of electoral process.
Still, their motivations and exceptions appear varied.
Notable was a palpable fatigue in answering questions about protocol changes at all, a sign of the years-long debate that’s split the industry. Wang Chun, owner of F2Pool, a signatory on the proposal which accounts for more than 7% of bitcoin’s hashing power, suggested he wasn’t supporting it from a position of enthusiasm.
Chun told CoinDesk:
“I KEEP AWAY FROM THE DEBATING PARTIES AND DO MY OWN THINGS. LET THEM KEEP DEBATING.”
Others broke along typical partisan lines.
Haipo Yang, founder and CEO of mining pool ViaBTC, which represents roughly 4% Crypto Gambling of the bitcoin network’s hash power, for example, was in favor of the proposal. Long a proponent of boosting the block size to 2MB via a hard fork, Yang went so far as to state the mechanism could force those who disagree off the blockchain.
“[A split] is a good thing in my opinion,” he said, citing philosophical disagreements with bitcoin developers (who …