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ASICBOOST: Bitmain to Respond ‘Soon’ to Exploit Accusations

· April 6, 2017 · 5:00 am

Bitmain CEO Jihan Wu has vowed to respond ‘soon’ to accusations the miner is exploiting a Bitcoin vulnerability to manipulate mining.


Bitmain, Vulnerability Outing ‘Huge SegWit Confidence Boost’

A “covert” use of so-called ASICBOOST technology was circulated to the Core mailing list by contributor Greg Maxwell Wednesday. This would allow “a major manufacturer” to unfairly profit from centralization.

While Bitmain was not named by Maxwell, community sources subsequently confirmed the company’s involvement.

Maxwell wrote:

Exploitation of this vulnerability could result in payoff of as much as $100 million USD per year at the time this was written (Assuming at 50% hash-power miner was gaining a 30% power advantage and that mining was otherwise at profit equilibrium).  This could have a phenomenal centralizing effect by pushing mining out of profitability for all other participants, and the income from secretly using this optimization could be abused to significantly distort the Bitcoin ecosystem in order to preserve the advantage.

The Core developer also proposed solutions to prevent the attack becoming a major problem, in a move praised by Tone Vays as “a huge confidence boost” for the SegWit supporters.

Wu: Bitmain Statement ‘Soon’

Wu meanwhile stated Bitmain would provide a statement “soon.”

Previously, suspicion had already fallen on the Bitcoin Unlimited supporter, with community members noting he had deleted tweets about ASICBOOST. They added Wu’s BU support could be linked to the Bitmain operation.

While ASICBOOST was originally invented by Sergio Lerner among others, who also contributes to SegWit concepts, Maxwell stated that none of the technology’s creators were “aware” of the exploit.

“Reverse engineering of a mining ASIC from a major [manufacturer] has revealed that it contains an undocumented, undisclosed ability to make use of this attack. (The parties claiming to hold a patent on this technique were completely unaware of this use.),” he continued.

On the above basis the potential for covert exploitation of this vulnerability and the resulting inequality in the mining process and interference with useful improvements presents a clear and present danger to the Bitcoin system which requires a response.

In Summer 2016, KnCMiner declared bankruptcy over the Bitcoin block reward halving causing them unsustainable overheads.

The firm had previously been taken to court in its native Sweden by customers complaining over delays and defects with its products.

The startup had meanwhile raised over $32 million in investment.

What do you think about Greg Maxwell’s post? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Twitter, Shutterstock

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Proposed Hard-Fork to Nullify ASICBoost Patent

Source: bitcoin

Proposed Hard-Fork to Nullify ASICBoost Patent

Bitcoin Core contributor, Peter Todd, announced that a hard-fork had been proposed to negate attempts to patent the ASICBoost method.

Also read: Kraken Launches ETH Dark Pool Trading

According to a message sent out by Peter, this proposed idea sprang from an agreement made at a Bitcoin-oriented round-table in February. The round-table was attended by a slew of representatives from the Bitcoin development and industry, and focused on a variety of different subjects.

The intent of this fork is to make ASIC boost optimisation useless, and ideally the change would be SPV compatible. However, according to Peter, if a change to SPV clients were needed, then that would also be acceptable. In addition, the change would also be compatible with existing mining hardware.

The Hard-Fork Resistance Against Patents

ASICBoost is a patent-pending method that will lower the total cost per bitcoin mined to approximately 20%. The patent has been a point of controversy because many in the Bitcoin community do not generally agree with patents. It is held that patents simply act to restrict competition on advancing a certain good by giving a legal monopoly on the provision of that good.

Patents thus slow down innovative processes, and would be especially detrimental to hardware and software industries. Software and hardware are always in state of change and the current life cycle of patents are simply unable to accommodate this change.

Additionally, some other points of agreement at the roundtable were the progression of SegWit as soft-fork and possible ways of improving it, running only Bitcoin Core-compatible consensus systems eventually containing both SegWit and the hard-fork, and committing to scaling technologies which use block space more efficiently.

The Hong Kong agreement was also signed by many leading figures in the Bitcoin community, including: Peter Todd, Valery Vavilov, Cory Fields, Johnson Lau, Luke Dashjr, and Matt Corallo among others.

What do you think of the proposed hard-fork, do you feel it will stifle innovation in Bitcoin? Let us know in the comments Below!


Source: Linuxfoundation.org

Images Courtesy of Elaineou.com and Prafises.com

The post Proposed Hard-Fork to Nullify ASICBoost Patent appeared first on Bitcoinist.net.

Proposed Hard-Fork to Nullify ASICBoost Patent

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