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Major Mining Pool F2Pool Publishes List of Minimum Prices for Profitable Crypto Mining

Co-founder of the world’s sixth largest crypto mining pool has published a list of break-even price points for various crypto miner models.

The CEO of China-based crypto mining pool F2Pool posted a company-branded infographic September 6 that indicates at what minimum price points the mining of various cryptocurrencies becomes unprofitable.

Shixing Mao, co-founder and CEO and of the world’s sixth largest mining pool F2Pool, published a list of price levels for major cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), and Zcash (ZEC) below which mining said currency with various different miners allegedly becomes unprofitable.

According to Mao’s graphic, if Bitcoin’s price hits lower than 36,792 yuan (about $5,376) point, this would mean that mining the cryptocurrency on an Antminer T9 would be unprofitable. In the case of using an S7 model miner, the break-even point amounts to a significantly higher 79,258 yuan (about $11,581) Bitcoin price point.

Break-even price points for different cryptocurrencies and miners

Break-even price points for different cryptocurrencies and miners Source: F2Pool’s CEO Weibo

In contrast to S7, mining Bitcoin on Antminer T9 model that was released in January 2017, is still profit-making at Bitcoin’s currently prices, while the newer Innosilicon T2 has the lowest threshold, amounting to 26,636 yuan or about $3,891.

At press time, Bitcoin is trading at $6,452, according to Cointelegraph’s Bitcoin Price Index

In mid-August, U.S. graphics processing unit (GPU) manufacturer Nvidia revealed that crypto mining hardware sales were much lower than expected in Q2 2018, claiming that the company does not expect to make significant blockchain-related sales for the rest of the year.

In July, major Taiwanese microchips producer TSMC once again decreased its annual revenue and capital expenditure estimates, following growth rate reduction in the crypto mining field, among other areas.

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Mining Service Nicehash Hacked, $60 Million in User Funds Stolen

The mining service Nicehash was reportedly hacked today, with over $60 mln in funds stolen. Users report that funds have been moved from their own internal Nicehash Bitcoin addresses to a single Bitcoin address controlled by an unknown party. The company released a statement on Reddit, saying:

“Unfortunately, there has been a security breach involving NiceHash website. We are currently investigating the nature of the incident and, as a result, we are stopping all operations for the next 24 hours. Importantly, our payment system was compromised and the contents of the NiceHash Bitcoin wallet have been stolen. We are working to verify the precise number of BTC taken.

“Clearly, this is a matter of deep concern and we are working hard to rectify the matter in the coming days. In addition to undertaking our own investigation, the incident has been reported to the relevant authorities and law enforcement and we are co-operating with them as a matter of urgency.”

The company is apparently planning to resume operations, although it’s uncertain how they will retain their users following a hack of this magnitude. Nicehash wrote:

“We are fully committed to restoring the NiceHash service with the highest security measures at the earliest opportunity…

“While the full scope of what happened is not yet known, we recommend, as a precaution, that you change your online passwords. We are truly sorry for any inconvenience that this may have caused and are committing every resource towards solving this issue as soon as possible.”

Different kind of service

Nicehash isn’t a mining pool, per se. Rather, it’s a site that allows owners of mining equipment to rent out their hashpower to buyers. Sellers of hashpower find it convenient because they don’t have to spend as much time finding the most profitable coins to mine. Buyers are happy that they don’t have to buy expensive mining equipment for what may merely be a short but intense bout of mining.

Effects on other pools

It’s unclear what, if any, effect this hack will have on other mining pools. The vast majority of cryptocurrency mining is done by users who “pool” their efforts together through a centralized service, called a mining pool. They trust the pool to pay them a percentage of every block the pool successfully mines, proportional to the amount of hashing they’ve done. Pools have been criticised in the past for creating centralization in what is intended to be a decentralized currency movement.

A great many mining pools are located in China, including some of the largest, such as AntPool, F2Pool, BTCC, BW Pool and others. Private mining pools, such as BitFury, are also significant players in the industry.

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2x or No 2x, That Was the Question

SegWit2x was supposed to be a SegWit derivative that doubled the amount of data a block could hold from 1MB to 2MB. The SegWit2x plan came into being at the 2017 Consensus conference in New York. At this event, 58 Bitcoin-related companies signed an agreement proposed by the Digital Currency Group – the company behind $GBTC. This agreement proposed that SegWit be activated as soon as possible, and that it be followed up by a block size increase in mid-November. The agreement came to be known as the New York Agreement (NYA).

CoinTelegraph was able to collect data on 57 of the original 58 companies that signed the NYA. Sixteen companies were wallet providers,15 were exchanges, nine were miners and 17 businesses can be classified as “other.” In this case, “other” means that they are businesses that provide goods or services in the cryptocurrency space.

As time passed, a number of companies began to withdraw from the NYA or decided to focus their resources on the Bitcoin Cash chain instead of Bitcoin and the proposed SegWit2x upgrade. As of early November, 12 companies had withdrawn from the NYA, eight had focused their resources on the Bitcoin Cash chain, and 38 of the original 58 companies still supported SegWit2x.

Positions of the NYA Signee's as of November 6, 2017

Reneging

Of the 12 companies that withdrew, one company was a wallet provider, three were exchanges and eight were “other.” No miners formally withdrew from the agreement, although F2Pool stopped signalling for SegWit2x in mid-October. Every company that withdrew from the NYA publicly announced their reasons.

SurBTC, a Bitcoin and Ethereum exchange in Chile, Columbia, and Peru said their reason for leaving was:

“Even though we would be happy to have moderately larger blocks to accommodate growing demand, we feel that Bitcoin needs (at least a majority) of Bitcoin’s core developers’ support in order to do this responsibly. We have not seen this support and we do not like what we are currently seeing on the btc1 code repository in terms of technical considerations and open source collaboration.”

SegWit2x received a lack of support from both the Bitcoin core developers and the wider crypto-community. Both the core devs and many in the community thought that it was too soon to upgrade the Bitcoin network. SegWit2x was planned to occur in November, barely three months after the network had upgraded to SegWit.

California-based Civic took to Twitter just a few days before SegWit2x was cancelled to express their reasons for withdrawing from the NYA. Vinny Lingham, CEO/Founder of Civic, said:

SegWit2x suspended

On November 8, 2017, Mike Belshe published a statement supported by Wences Casares, Jihan Wu, Jeff Garzik, Peter Smith and Erik Voorhees:

“It is clear that we have not built sufficient consensus for a clean blocksize upgrade at this time…we are suspending our plans for the upcoming 2MB upgrade.”

Many agreed that SegWit was a sufficient solution in the short-term for solving the congestion problems the Bitcoin network was experiencing. This congestion had led to high transaction fees and slow confirmation. However, 2X supporters believed that the implementation of SegWit merely postponed another network overload taking place. They thought that doubling the block size would give the network a little more breathing room until a permanent scaling solution could be implemented.

Although SegWit makes transactions more efficient, the Bitcoin network continues to experience significant congestion, with 115,000 unconfirmed transactions at press time. Transaction numbers are growing rapidly, and SegWit by itself has not proven sufficient to handle the load.

Market goes crazy

The morning SegWit2x was suspended, the price of Bitcoin sat at $7,200. Many have speculated that investors had increased their Bitcoin position to receive more 2X tokens. Indeed, those who received large amounts of Bitcoin Cash in the August 1 split found themselves to be well-rewarded financially. This led many to believe that forks were essentially “free money” and that all they had to do was line up to receive it. Of course, they neglected to realize the existential threat that a chain split between legacy Bitcoin and Bitcoin 2X could have brought about.

Immediately following the announcement of SegWit2x’s cancellation, the price of Bitcoin jumped to $7,800 before rapidly retreating. At first, it seemed that the cancellation of a dangerous hard fork had increased investors’ confidence in the Bitcoin network. Since the split didn’t occur, the network was more unified in terms of hash power and cooperative nodes, which both play a vital role in the Bitcoin Economy.

Yet by November 10, the price of Bitcoin dropped as low as $6,400. Why? With the fork suspended, investors may have felt like they pumped up their position in Bitcoin for no reason, since they wouldn’t end up receiving this “free money” after all. It’s also likely that the remaining “big blockers” decided to leave Bitcoin altogether, perhaps migrating to Bitcoin Cash or Dash.

Ultimately the price of Bitcoin dropped as low as $5,500 before rebounding to about $6,600 at press time. While the price of Bitcoin dropped, that of Bitcoin Cash surged from $600 to $2,600 in a matter of days. The alternative currency has since lost half its value, and sits at about $1,300.

What next?

Although the plan to implement SegWit2x may have been a bit hasty, scalability is definitely going to be an issue for the Bitcoin network in the future. The volume of transactions that occur on the Bitcoin network is increasing everyday and transaction fees are skyrocketing. Many have placed their hopes on the lightning network which is expected to move many transactions off-chain, increasing the network’s capacity. As of yet, lightning network has not been deployed, and use of the Bitcoin network is prone to delays and high expenses.

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Korea’s Biggest Bitcoin Meetup Publicly Condemns SegWit2x

Members of the Seoul Bitcoin Meetup have released a formal statement opposing November’s SegWit2x Bitcoin hard fork.

A copy of the open letter uploaded to Medium Thursday confirms the “staunch opposition” of the group, the largest in South Korea, with 1600 members.

“We are confident that BTC, the legacy chain, will not only survive this fork, but continue to flourish as the dominant Bitcoin network,” its introduction states.

“The purpose of this letter is simply to minimize the damage that gets done this November. We urge you, the signatories of the NYA, to reconsider and withdraw your support.”

The community is the latest part of the cryptocurrency ecosystem to adopt a formal stance on SegWit2x, which is causing increasing divisions among supporters and detractors.

The Meetup identifies four “main concerns” with the planned hard fork of Bitcoin, due to come into being Nov. 18.

Summarized, these are:

  • “The manner in which the agreement was made goes against the very ethos of Bitcoin[;]
  • Segwit2x incurs a large risk, but wastes most of the opportunities afforded by a properly planned and executed hard fork[;]
  • The developers and supporters of Segwit2x have proceeded in a needlessly careless manner which compounds the risks involved[;]
  • Replay protection is being handled in an unacceptably irresponsible manner.”

“We will be advising our local community to avoid using the services of companies that support the NYA, and seek out alternatives instead,” the letter concludes.

The same day, major mining pool F2Pool stopped signalling SegWit2x in line with plans previously announced which would end the practice at its next server reboot.

The Meetup commended F2Pool for the move, along with four other industry players which have taken an opposing position on the fork.

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F2Pool Deals Possible Death Blow to SegWit2x Fork, Withdraws Support

BitGo engineer Jameson Lopp jubilantly posted to Twitter this morning that Bitcoin mining pool F2Pool has stopped signalling for SegWit2x.

Why does it matter?

According to CoinDance, F2Pool currently mines 10% of the blocks on the Bitcoin network. As of yesterday, 95% of Bitcoin miners were signalling their support of the controversial fork, so with the loss of F2Pool’s 10%, Lopp’s numbers add up.

SegWit2x was (or is) going to be a contentious hard fork, supported by near-unanimously by miners but opposed vehemently by Bitcoin’s Core development team and a number of users, exchanges, and businesses. With the loss of F2Pool, 85% of miners are still signalling their support to SegWit2x, but F2Pool’s defection triples the hash power of the “NO2X” miners.

While it was likely that with 95% mining consensus the hard fork would have been successful, it would have caused enormous confusion in the community over which Bitcoin was the real Bitcoin. The loss of F2Pool’s support makes the SegWit2x hard fork much less likely to occur.

What is SegWit2x?

SegWit2x is a compromise to end the scalability crisis, and was agreed upon at the Consensus conference in New York back in May. Spearheaded by Barry Silbert’s Digital Currency Group, the attendees signed the “New York Agreement” which paved the way for the August activation of Segregated Witness (SegWit) and a follow-on November hard fork to double the block size.

Bitcoin’s Core development team came out strongly against the “2x” part of the plan, and at a recent Bitcoin conference, many attendees wore “NO2X” buttons. A hard fork to double the block size would be of minimal value in terms of scaling, and the risk of a chain split is unacceptably high when trying to upgrade such a massive network as Bitcoin’s. Core and many others did not believe it was worth the risk.

What now?

The SegWit2x hard fork may still happen; 85% support from miners is likely enough to push it through. However, the tide seems to be turning. Not long ago, one of the New York Agreement signatories, Bitwala, backed out of the agreement. They were followed shortly thereafter by Vaultoro, another signatory. F2Pool also signed the New York Agreement, and their withdrawal today is the biggest defection by far.

Exchanges have also been stepping up and discussing plans for handling the fork, should it occur. Bitfinex recently made headlines by announcing it would continue to call the legacy chain “BTC,” indicating support for Core’s side of any fork that might happen.

Further defections will almost certainly kill the SegWit2x plan, which is probably good for Bitcoin in the short term as it removes a sword of Damocles dangling over the head of the community. Nonetheless, it has been speculated that over the long term, so many companies going back on their word could be bad for the Bitcoin ecosystem as it reduces trust between the network’s participants.

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Another Bitcoin New York Agreement Partner Cancels SegWit2x Support

Bitcoin mining pool F2pool has become the latest signatory to U-turn on its commitment to the controversial SegWit2x hard fork.

Following wallet provider Bitwala, F2pool’s Wang Chun said he “didn’t pull out of anything” and had only voiced support for the project “until July.”

The news marks another blow for Barry Silbert’s New York Agreement, which has faced trouble with consensus since its inception.

SegWit2x was originally due to become a hard fork of the Bitcoin network in November, creating a third ‘version’ of Bitcoin along with the already extant Bitcoin Cash.

SegWit2X Bitcoin

The issue has become a topic of hot debate in recent weeks. While Bitcoin (BTC) markets have shaken off uncertainty, commentator Oleg Andreev has conversely suggested the hard fork is a “FUD project” hampering Bitcoin prices.

“We would like to honor the agreement that we subscribed to (as one of the first movers, unbeknownst to the fact that most developers would not enter the agreement),” Bitwala had written in a blog post on SegWit2x late August.

  • SegWit activated for Bitcoin to modest celebration last month.

  • Meanwhile, prices for Litecoin have appeared to profit more noticeably than Bitcoin, with developers simultaneously pushing to fully implement Lightning Network functionality on the altcoin.

  • A curious forking project this week has added to the confusion. Known as Bitcoin GPU, the apparently hastily designed implementation uses the Bitcoin Cash logo and contains little technical information.