The enigmatic and famous Cobra, co-owner of Bitcoin.org and bitcointalk.org, again sparked controversy in the crypto community by publishing a series of tweets questioning the current situation of Bitcoin (BTC).
According to Cobra, one of the main problems with Bitcoin’s blockchain is the fact that it has such centralized mining power.
According to his opinion, a coordinated strike by three mining pools would be enough to successfully carry out a 51% attack on the Bitcoin network.
Bitcoin simply can’t be censorship resistant long term if the hashing power is controlled almost entirely by one entity. You can’t build ‘digital gold’ on something that can be shut down by one man, and needs rapid massive coordinated response amongst *everyone* to counter. pic.twitter.com/nQaBV5VHY4
— Cøbra (@CobraBitcoin) June 19, 2018
Cobra: Security is More Important than Profitability
Cobra is one of the main characters warning of the possible dangers of maintaining the current design of Bitcoin’s consensus algorithm (BTC). In February 2018, he had already made specific considerations in an open letter.
For Cobra, the level of centralization and control over the Bitcoin network is essentially a monopoly. He mentioned Bitmain as the villain of the film, not only because of the mining power but also because of other factors such as support for altcoin Bitcoin Cash or the possibility of being controlled by China:
“People talk about “new entrants” to the mining scene, but it’s almost impossible for anyone to catch up to the total domination of the mining space by BITMAIN. They are light years ahead.
The hashrate has already been abused to give political support to reckless and dangerous hard fork attempts. They have questionable allegiance to Bitcoin at best, seeming more interested in supporting Bitcoin Cash, undermining the very network that employs them.”
With this in mind, Cobra called on the community to change the mining algorithm – which he believes is the root cause of all Bitcoin’s problems – in order to get rid of miners and solve the situation that threatens the Bitcoin network:
“This mining problem is the root cause of all of Bitcoin’s problems. It’s the miners that have supported every hostile attempt to take over the network. It’s the miners who block new features for their strange political agenda … We need to get rid of them while we still can, they’re no longer a useful part of our community. Hard forks are scary, but let’s not be afraid to try at least to build consensus when we can all see the problem right in front of us.”
A Personal War?
To emphasize his toughts, Cobra wrote that Bitmain could entirely control the Bitcoin network (BTC) by having a stake in the Bitcoin.com, AntPool and ViaBTC pools. He questioned Bitmain’s claims that they do not control most of the hashing power.
BITMAIN claims they don’t control the majority of the hashing power behind @AntPoolofficial, @btccom_official and @ViaBTC and other pools. These claims and this hashing power needs to be audited, to verify how much is independently owned. Suspect 80%+ of BTC hashrate is BITMAIN.
— Cøbra (@CobraBitcoin) June 18, 2018
Does Bitcoin really need another fork?
More than competing against Bitmain, Cobra called for changing the mining algorithm, thus avoiding a repetition of the problem. For him, Bitmain’s power is hard to fight against:
We have waited years for this competition that never arrives. Halong hardware is 1% of the network hashing power, and they don’t sell anything anymore. It seems nobody can compete with BITMAIN on cost per J/THs. They will continue to dominate long term, with nothing to stop them.
— Cøbra (@CobraBitcoin) June 19, 2018
The best thing miners can do for the security of the Bitcoin network is to support a PoW change, and switch off their ASICs (ideally physically destroy) when the network has been safely upgraded.
— Cøbra (@CobraBitcoin) June 10, 2018
Cobra’s opinions generated diverse responses and reactions. bch-oriented websites and pro-bitmain forums quickly hastened to discredit him while the community proceeded to comment, posting tweets of support and criticism almost equally.
The main argument against Cobra’s statements is that Pools are a group of people and not just a central entity. The main argument in supporting him is precisely the need for a fork that is hard to achieve because of the big number of users already comfortable with BTC’s PoW.