Before today, I would have thought ASICBOOST was a new form of energy drink. It even could be the long awaited reincarnation of 4Loco. Sadly that would not be nerdy enough.
An email from Greg Maxwell made the rounds yesterday, and is causing an uproar. Bitcoin Magazine published an article about the email that is going viral throughout the Bitcoin industry.
- An unnamed leading mining equipment manufacturer is using a patented technology, called ASICBOOST, to achieve efficiency gains of up to 30%.
- If activated, Segregated Witness (SegWit) would eliminate any advantage for miners using the ASICBOOST technology.
- Therefore the reason why large miners refuse to support SegWit activation is because they would lose their economic advantage.
- Maxwell proffered a Bitcoin Improvement Proposal to eliminate gains achieved by using the ASICBOOST technology.
- Although not explicitly mentioned, everyone assumes Maxwell spoke of Jihan Wu’s Bitmain.
Let’s Assume It’s True
The purpose of this piece is not to argue whether or not I believe Maxwell. Rather I believe for good or bad, many in the community will agree with Maxwell’s analysis and there will be a discernible impact on the Bitcoin price.
My base case is that SegWit will not be activated, and there will be no hard fork this year. If Jihan Wu is truly a Chinese devil (or Gweilo if he was white), and can secretly mine Bitcoin 30% cheaper than everyone else, my base case will hold.
If Bitmain captures above average profits mining Bitcoin as it currently stands, they have no reason to actually desire a contentious hard fork. They also would not want SegWit to smash the piggy bank. Therefore the optimal strategy is to vocally support a hard fork to erode support for SegWit.
SegWit to many is a convoluted way to scale Bitcoin. Many would just prefer a simple increase in the block size from 1MB to 2MB. However, Bitmain would never go so far as to actually conduct said hard fork.
In essence, Jihan can buy a new pad on the Hong Kong Peak each year under the status quo. Despite high Bitcoin network transaction fees, the price keeps rising. Users prefer Bitcoin as a store of value and a global form of money good collateral, to a fast and cheap payments network.
A continuation of the status quo is bullish for the price. The price dipped from $1,200 to below $900 on fears of a paradigm shift. If you believe the arguments put forth by Maxwell, then it makes business sense for Jihan to prefer the current small block, high fee, rising price situation.
The Market Hath Spoken
The price is steadily rising post publication of said article. If the community believes in the veracity of the claims put forward, the price will shortly surpass $1,200 and retest $1,300.