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Yesterday, controversial mining pool GHash announced it would limit its share of the overall bitcoin hashrate to no more than 39.9%. It took less than a day to put that claim to the test, as GHash’s percentage began to steadily creep above 36% late last night. What was the mega-mining pool’s response to the very situation it had vowed to prevent?
It tweeted, asking miners to switch to another pool.
Dear users, we are approaching 39.99% of the BTC hashrate. Please, move your mining hardware to other pools. Thank you for understanding!
If that response seems a little lackluster to you, you’re not alone. Even GHash’s own Twitter followers mocked the move, which did nothing concrete to encourage miners to leave the admittedly profitable pool. Many suggested that GHash take actual action, perhaps implementing a graduated fee schedule based on the current hash rate.
GHash’s miners have little incentive to leave the pool under the current arrangement, as a large percentage of the hashing power virtually guarantees consistently high payouts.
It’s widely suspected that GHash and its partner organizations (such as BitFury and MegaBigPower) directly control a huge amount of hashing power, and could easily point their own hardware at a different pool. To enforce their promise not to exceed 39% of the hashing power, they may have to do exactly that.
At the same time, it appears that many miners are now implementing the community-proposed solution to the 51% problem. Today, the P2Pool network crossed the 1 Petahash per second threshold, an important milestone for distributed mining system.
Although still a small fraction of the overall 137 Ph/s network hashrate, P2Pool does offer a viable solution to the 51% issue without requiring any changes to the Bitcoin Core code. It’s not known why the P2Pool hashrate has surged upward in the last day, although one likely cause is mining collective PetaMine redirecting their machines at the network following a vote to leave GHash last month.