Bitmain’s mining pool, AntPool, has supposedly activated one of their controversial methods of mining Bitcoin more efficiently, called AsicBoost. The controversial Bitcoin mining “hack” supposedly increases mining efficiency by up to 20% and is controversial because many developers claim that its use damages the Bitcoin network.
According to AsicBoost Block Explorer, block #540032, mined by AntPool, was mined using the AsicBoost, which exploits a previously known weakness in Bitcoin’s proof-of-work algorithm that allows for faster mining. Bitmain notably holds a patent in China for a system that exploits the Bitcoin network’s weakness in order to increase mining productivity.
The patent, which describes an “optimizing method,” details a system that uses a “device and circuit for Hash computing chip of bitcoin proof of work, and relates to the technical field of cipher computing, computer network and integrated circuits.”
The patent abstract also notes that the “The method, device and circuit provided by the invention greatly reduce the power consumption of the circuit.”
Bitmain has a history of using AsicBoost and has been accused several times over the past year of utilizing the controversial mining method. Blockstream CTO, Greg Maxwell, was one of the first to call Bitmain out for using AsicBoost, accusing the them of using the method to increase profits.
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