A Closer Look at the Suspicious Activity Involved With the Bitcoin Gold Fork
Just recently news.Bitcoin.com reported on a planned hard fork on the Bitcoin network slated for October 25 called Bitcoin Gold (BTG). There’s a lot of controversy surrounding this fork as the BTG team is very unorganized and the project is also tied to those perpetuating the NO2x movement. Also read: Another Fork? Bitcoin Gold Project Plans to Fork Bitcoin Next Month
Bitcoin Gold: A Very Unorganized Plan to Hard Fork Bitcoin With Connections to the NO2x MovementThere’s been a lot of quarreling happening in the bitcoin space between Core software supporters and Segwit2x proponents. Because Segwit2x developers and miners plan to raise the block size to 2MB, a group of Core supporters started a movement called “NO2x.” The NO2x group does whatever it can to persuade people to join their fight against Segwit2x, and a few cryptocurrency luminaries are also backing the movement. One member of the NO2x movement, Robert Kuhne, appears to be one of the leaders of the Bitcoin Gold team. Kuhne uses the handle “rbtkhn” in the Slack channel and answers a lot of questions asked by visitors and the crypto-media. Kuhne’s official Twitter page where he calls himself “[NO2x],” also advertises the website btcgpu.org directly under his name proudly displaying that he’s involved with the project. There are also many other flaws involved with the project that hopes to hard fork the Bitcoin network in just a few weeks. As we reported earlier, the team does not have a testnet of the network created, so miners can’t test the system. Further, unlike the Bitcoin Cash network, the BTG project still implements the same per-block difficulty adjustment as bitcoin (BTC) in its code, and has no signs of an Emergency Difficulty Adjustment (EDA). Additionally, unlike the website’s claims, there is no replay attack protection added to the protocol, even though the team is adamantly against Segwit2x not adding replay protection. Another disturbing aspect of the BTG project is the implementation of a pre-mine within the code called the “PoW retargeting change for BTG hard fork pre-mine period.”
An In-Depth Interview With Bitcoin Gold Lead Developer H4x3Last night news.Bitcoin.com received some responses to the questions we sent to the anonymous lead developer of the BTG project, “H4x3.” The developer explains that the website is under active development at the moment, and official information concerning the project can be found at the official Twitter page. Below is the full transcript of the lead developer’s responses to our questions sent before our prior post. Bitcoin.com (BC): Why are you planning to fork bitcoin on October 25 and are you planning to change the algorithm to Equihash? H4x3: Yes, we are implementing a proof-of-work change to Equihash – a GPU-minable algorithm – because we believe in Satoshi’s “one CPU one vote” vision. The current situation, where one erratic company in a totalitarian jurisdiction that is very hostile to Bitcoin has near monopoly domination over the manufacturing and distribution of the mining hardware that is required for the security of the global network, is unacceptable to anyone who understands the importance of decentralization to Bitcoin. Bitcoin Gold can be thought of simply as a replication of the Bitcoin protocol and coin distribution that utilizes on a different type of computer hardware for security. This replication of Bitcoin on different hardware can serve as an insurance policy or backup plan in case the original SHA256 mining network is crippled or destroyed. The same “backup plan” rationale has been used as one of Litecoin’s value propositions, however Bitcoin Gold serves this function better than Litecoin because it has the exact same coin distribution and money supply as Bitcoin; Litecoin ownership is much more narrowly distributed, making it unsuitable for use as a universal store of value and reserve currency. BC: Does your team have anything against Bitcoin Core, Segwit2x, or Bitcoin Cash protocols? H4x3: We have nothing against Bitcoin Core. On the contrary, we know that the best security and most important innovation in the world of cryptocurrency is coming from the Bitcoin Core team. That’s why Bitcoin Gold will follow the Core roadmap for on-chain scaling, layer-two scaling, and stronger privacy and fungibility. If a situation that Bitcoin protocol evolution gets blocked ever occurs again, where one faction of miners colluded to prevent the entire Bitcoin community from using the opt-in Segwit block size increase, Bitcoin Gold will implement the new features.
A bad attribute of these other two forks is that they are designed to leech SHA256 hash power from Bitcoin. By choosing to keep the same PoW algorithm as Bitcoin, they have both positioned themselves as permanent adversaries of Bitcoin. To make matters worse for Bitcoin Cash, they implemented an “emergency difficulty adjustment” which has caused wildly oscillating hashrate, unpredictable block confirmation times with up to twelve hours between blocks, and increased the rate of inflation so much that the BCC block reward halving may occur in 2018 instead of 2020. Furthermore, Bitcoin Cash deleted Segwit from their fork while not even having an alternative fix for transaction malleability. Many believe that Segwit was deleted just to make a political statement against Bitcoin Core, as no persuasive technical rationale for deleting it has been given. We would like to compliment Bitcoin Cash on two points. Firstly, we appreciate that they implemented replay protection to protect innocent users and businesses from accidentally losing money. Segwit2x, on the other hand, has refused to implement replay protection by default, which unnecessarily puts the whole ecosystem at risk and imposes undue burdens on all cryptocurrency businesses. Secondly, we respect Bitcoin Cash for being the first fork of Bitcoin to succeed in establishing an independent existence as a new cryptocurrency. Since its creation on August 1, BCC has traded at between 6% and 22% of Bitcoin’s value – not bad for a brand new coin. BC: Do you think there is community support for a bitcoin with GPU capabilities? Absolutely. Bitcoin Gold has already seen a tremendous amount of interest from the Cryptocurrency community, even without having started any major marketing campaign. In just two weeks we have already got 1,600 Twitter followers and 400 new Slack members, from Latin America to Southeast Asia to Russia and all of the usual hotbeds of Bitcoin activity. Satoshi’s vision of “one CPU one vote” is a powerful concept that a large part of the community finds compelling, and this vision doesn’t need to be supported by paid propaganda campaigns. With Ethereum planning to abandon proof-of-work altogether in favor of a new proof-of-stake system, many current ETH miners have already expressed a desire to switch their GPUs to a Bitcoin Gold pool as soon as possible. And when we consider the millions of new people who will join the Bitcoin community in the next few years and may be interested in mining, GPUs will be easily accessible for everyone, which is not the case for ASICs. Bitcoin Gold it is still evolving. We are very open to feedback from experts and the community. And we are committed to as much transparency as possible, while respecting the reasonable expectations of privacy of the people involved in this open source effort.Anyone can fork Bitcoin at any time for any reason, and the community will ultimately decide whether that fork has any value. Many in the community believe that Bitcoin Cash and 2X are attacks on Bitcoin, while others believe these forks are useful and well-intentioned. We will not make moral judgments of our competitors or pretend to be able to read their minds, but we will criticize their poor engineering decisions and explain why Bitcoin Gold is superior.
As we stated in our previous report, news.Bitcoin.com is investigating this project and we plan to keep our readers informed if the BTG team plans to fork the Bitcoin network. As of right now the project is incomplete and involves suspicious activity in regard to the current drama between Core and Segwit2x camps. Members of the cryptocurrency community also believe people should approach this project with caution as its considered a “scam” attempt filled with numerous flaws. What do you think about the Bitcoin Gold project? Do you think the plan is legitimate or do you think it’s a big joke or “troll” against Segwit2x? Let us know what you think in the comments below.
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