After years of bitter infighting among the global Bitcoin community the infamous block size debate escalated this week. Here are the cryptocurrency highlights of week 11:
- Jihan Wu, founder of the world’s largest mining organization Antpool, stated in an interview that the entire pool “will switch to Bitcoin Unlimited”. Bitcoin Unlimited (BU) is a controversial solution to the increasingly high fees on the Bitcoin network due to limited transaction capacity. Wu’s group accounts for 15 percent of blockchain activity and is hugely influential in the community. “We can’t tell how the hard fork will play out. We will only know by the time we get there.”
- Shortly after, nearly 70% of nodes running Bitcoin Unlimited went offline as word emerged of a bug in the software’s code. The bug opened a vulnerability through which a certain kind of message sent to nodes could cause them to be taken offline. Nodes are responsible for validating the transactions on a blockchain, maintaining a copy of the transaction history’s entire record and essentially enforcing the rules of the network through the code. BU developers have since moved to release a patch for the bug.
- A group of nearly 20 exchanges has released contingency plans in the event that the Bitcoin network splits in two, creating two competing currencies. The exchanges are now planning to list Bitcoin Unlimited as they would an alternative cryptocurrency, according to the statement. BU is an alternate implementation of the Bitcoin software that seeks to expand the block size in an effort to scale the network’s capacity. According to the statement the exchanges would list the BU asset under the BTU or XBU tickers in the event of a network split, which they collectively say “may be inevitable”.
- Bitcoin wallet and payment processor Coinbase, one of the biggest at the moment, immediately responded to the former communication explaining why they refused to sign the joint statement. Coinbase is concerned that “it was actually a thinly veiled attempt to keep the BTC moniker pegged to core software”, even though the exchange does share concerns regarding replay attacks in the event of a fork.
- Compared to the previous week the price of Bitcoin has crashed by around eighteen percent, with the exchange rate currently at about $972 per BTC. The price of Ethereum increased by almost 80 percent at the same time, taking Ether up to a rate of $35.80 per ETH. Ethereum Classic gained about 34 percent, with the price increasing to $1.77 per ETC. Zcash gained about 80 percent as well. One ZEC is now trading at roughly $70 per coin.