Someone Was Propping Up the Bitcoin Cash Hashrate at a Loss in April

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Since it was first launched back in August 2017, Bitcoin Cash ( BCH ) has failed to make an impact in terms of metrics like price and trading volume. Having said that, the altcoin, whose roots can be found in the epic Bitcoin ( BTC ) scaling debate of the mid-2010’s, still has its hardcore supporters. And new research shows these supporters are willing to mine BCH even when it would be more profitable to mine on the Bitcoin network. Luxor Mining Pool Operator, Ethan Vera, has been looking at the rise of so-called “tribalist” mining on the Bitcoin Cash network. A tribalist miner is an individual or entity that mines a particular cryptocurrency for reasons other than just the block reward.“If the hash price (value of hashrate) for a chain is below that of another for a long period of time you know that there are people propping it up for reasons beyond mining profitability,” Vera told Cointelegraph. Vera shared data that indicates there was a rise in tribalist BCH mining in April, just as the cryptocurrency network was experiencing its first halving event. Data source: Ethan VeraAs indicated by the above chart, BCH miners were leaving money on the table by not switching to BTC after the Bitcoin Cash network experienced its halving on April 8.“On April 8th the hashprice of BCH was about 30% lower than that of Bitcoin,” explained Vera. “If the market was efficient then some miners would jump to BTC and BSV until the difficulty adjusted making them all equal again. This indicates that there [were] many tribalistic miners on the network that were willing to forego some mining profit to support the network.”Vera acknowledges that this analysis relies on the assumption that miners are driven by profits and that there is very little cost to switch between mining on different cryptocurrency networks that use SHA-256 as their mechanism to enable proof-of-work.“It mostly stopped recently,” added Vera. “Hashrate for BCH really dropped off. Maybe [the miners] figured they had done their job of supporting it through the halving?”As I explained last year , BCH faced a bit of a security issue due to the fact that the network’s halving took place before BTC’s upcoming halving event. Peter Ng, who is the founder of Hong Kong-based multinational mining operation and hosting facility provider JD Mining, was able to share his thoughts on why the existence of tribalist miners became more obvious in April.“Post BCH halving there was a difficult adjustment algorithm gaming opportunity caused by abrupt difficulty discrepancy,” Ng told CoinTelegraph. “When DAA gaming and volatility is introduced, the baseline BCH-only miner hash rates become apparent. Usually, the volatility does not dip low enough for them to show.”Ng added that the halving from 12.5 BCH to 6.25 BCH block subsidies in early April also led to a reduction in miners that are only interested in profits rather than the philosophical underpinnings of Bitcoin Cash. According to Ng, there are many Bitcoin Cash miners who are driven by ideology rather than profits.“But good miners are primarily driven by profit in this cutthroat industry and vote with their hashrate only when it matters in a cost efficient manner.” added Ng. “Long term pursuance of altruistic mining will drain away their resources, leaving them to have very little say when it matters.”In terms of other factors that could have affected the Bitcoin Cash hashrate in April, Ng added, “BCH altruism may have been particularly pronounced in this period due to the recent controversial infrastructure funding plan event . There was also activity by a rogue miner looking to 51 percent attack a minor SHA-256 coin and they parked some of their hashrate in BCH during this period under the name Mining Dutch before attempting their attack.”Vera believes that Bitmain was most likely the entity behind the unprofitable mining of BCH in April. During his time working as an investment banker at Goldman Sachs, Vera caught the end of Bitmain’s IPO process, which allowed him to gain a more in-depth look at the Bitcoin mining company. During this IPO process, which ultimately did not lead to Bitmain going public, it was revealed that Bitmain held 1 million BCH on their balance sheet. It’s also no secret that Bitmain has been a huge proponent of Bitcoin Cash. In fact, the original development behind the Bitcoin ABC client, which created Bitcoin Cash via a hard fork, was funded by the Bitcoin Development Grant , which was tpartially sponsored by Bitmain. After failing to gain enough support for a hard-forking increase to Bitcoin’s block size limit in 2017, Bitmain threw a large amount of support behind the altcoin, becoming the most noteworthy backer of the project behind CEO Roger Ver. At one point, Bitmain was also only accepting Bitcoin Cash as payment for their mining hardware devices. Bitmain republished a article about Bitcoin Cash on the company blog a few days before the altcoin launched, and th
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