There’s been a lot of controversy over the past few weeks stemming from the anonymous Twitter handle and co-owner of Bitcoin.org, ‘Cobra Bitcoin.’ The well-known BTC community member has been at the forefront of contentious subjects for many years now, and this week Cobra is claiming that one man has control of more than 51 percent of the BTC network.
The Infamous Snake Twitter Handle ‘Cobra Bitcoin’ Claims Bitmain Controls 80 Percent of the BTC Hashrate
The notorious Cobra is at it again stirring up controversial conversations on Twitter, and begging the BTC community to change the protocol’s proof-of-work (PoW) consensus algorithm. Cobra believes mining pool centralization has taken over the network. Cobra’s tweets specifically target the Chinese firm Bitmain Technologies and the company’s CEO Jihan Wu. This is not the first time Cobra has initiated the subject of mining centralization as he has brought the topic up many times over the years, alongside BTC core developer Luke Jr, another staunch advocate of a PoW change. On June 18 the co-owner of Bitcoin.org shared a pie chart of the mining pools processing blocks on the BTC network and stated:
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.
Prior to Cobra’s tweet showing the hashrate distribution pie chart, the anonymous individual started tagging big pools that he suspects are directly connected to Bitmain and its CEO Jihan Wu.
“Bitmain claims they don’t control the majority of the hashing power behind Antpool, BTC.com and Viabtc and other pools,” states Cobra.
These claims and this hashing power needs to be audited, to verify how much is independently owned — Suspect 80%+ of BTC hashrate is Bitmain.
Cobra Accused of Throwing Stones from a Glass House
This specific statement led to a response from BTC.com’s business operations VP, Alejandro DeLaTorre, who scoffed at Cobra’s claims. Following the response, Cobra asks DeLaTorre if he can confirm “how much of the hashing power on BTC.com is owned by Bitmain?” DeLaTorre decides to respond by bringing up another point of centralization, which concerns Cobra’s control over the domain Bitcoin.org, and the recent changes the site has made banning companies that once supported the New York Agreement.
“Can you explain me to why the BTC.com wallet is no longer welcome on Bitcoin.org? While we followed all the community guidelines and more?” DeLaTorre asks the co-owner of the website (the other co-owner of Bitcoin.org is Theymos, the owner of r/bitcoin and bitcointalk.org).
All the wallet requirements have been met — Where does it state anything about NYA? If you’re going to play politics at least be transparent about it and reflect it on the requirements.
Not the First Time a Large Pool Controlled a Great Deal of BTC Hashrate — Ghash.io Surpassed 51% Several Times in the Summer of 2014
Cobra’s following Twitter posts later that day continue to claim that Bitmain is in full control of the BTC hashrate, and he believes other mining pools cannot compete with the Beijing company’s power.
“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,” Cobra explains. “It seems nobody can compete with Bitmain on cost per J/THs — They will continue to dominate long term, with nothing to stop them,” he adds.
The solution is to change the PoW, and end their monopoly, or to at least soft fork in a new algorithm alongside the existing SHA-256. This algorithm is at present a total failure.
At the moment, according to statistics from Blockchain.info, BTC.com, and Bitcoinity, data shows BTC.com’s pool currently has around 28-29 percent of BTC’s network hashrate at the time of publication.
The last pool that grew significantly large when it processed more than 51 percent of the BTC network in the summer of 2014 was Ghash.io. The mining pool Ghash.io surpassed the 51 percent mark a couple of times that year, and held that number for more than half a day on June 16, 2014. However, at the time the pool promised to stay honest and since then the Ghash.io pool had split up into multiple factions. Nothing major ever happened like Bitcoin Gold’s recent 51 percent attack, except a whole lot of FUD spread in MSM headlines that year.
As far as Cobra and his recent statements, the snake-like character has relentlessly pushed for a PoW change for quite some time, and due to his bi-polar like statements its difficult for many to take his words seriously. However, his control over Bitcoin.org has allowed his voice to stir up controversial conversations once again.