Bitcoin Cash Difficulty Algorithm Debate Heats Up With Fears of Another Chain Split
With a touch more than three months left until the next Bitcoin Cash upgrade, crypto proponents have been witnessing a new quarrel rise after last year’s contentious Infrastructure Funding Proposal (IFP). This time around, the tensions derive from the Difficulty Algorithm Adjustment (DAA) discussion which is a conversation about replacing the network’s current DAA.
Every six months the BCH community plans for an upgrade and this coming November, a number of users are concerned about another chain split. There is a lot of infighting within the community at present and among BCH developers as well. The story allegedly derives from the DAA discussion, but there has been tension ever since the last quarrel over the IFP.
A Difficulty Algorithm Adjustment (DAA) is basically an algorithm that adjusts the mining difficulty parameter. Bitcoin (BTC) adjusts the mining difficulty parameter every 2016 blocks, but on August 1, 2017, Bitcoin Cash (BCH) added an Emergency Difficulty Adjustment (EDA) algorithm that ran alongside the DAA. In November 2017, the DAA was changed on the BCH chain to adjust the mining difficulty parameter after every block. It also leverages a moving window of the last 144 blocks in order to calculate difficulty.
During the last year and a half, people have been complaining about the DAA as people believe it can be gamed. In the last year, the DAA subject has come up often and just recently the conversation has become more contentious. Recently, software developer Jonathan Toomim introduced a DAA concept called Aserti3-2d and the specification is available on Gitlab. The BCHN full node team has the code hosted on the “Bitcoin Cash upgrade specifications” page.
On July 23, 2020, Bitcoin ABC developer Amaury Séchet announced the DAA called Grasberg via the Bitcoin ABC blog website. Following the release, Toomim published an article on the read.cash blog that argues against Grasberg. The engineer also described how members of the development teams have been squabbling in various online discussions. Toomim asserts that Grasberg is “a big step on the path to corruption” and it “was not properly simulated.”
On August 3, Bitcoin Cash developers met for a DAA meeting and BCHD developer, Chris Pacia, tweeted that the meeting did not go so well. “Bitcoin Cash developer meeting blew up with multiple people walking out,” Pacia tweeted after the meeting. Following Pacia’s statement, Ethereum’s Vitalik Buterin discussed the subject at length with BCH supporters from both sides of the argument.
“I don’t understand BCH people care so much about difficulty adjustment minutiae…. I would say “just use ethereum’s” but honestly your algo is fine as is…,” Buterin tweeted. “I will be honest; being optimistic that BCH development would improve once they got Craig out definitely is looking like one of my worst predictions,” the Ethereum developer added.
Discussions about the quarrels between developers who work on the Bitcoin ABC implementation and the BCHN full node project are littered all over the Reddit forum r/btc. Additionally, there are lots of discussions on the read.cash blog and BCH fans are discussing the issue on Twitter as well. Most of the arguments pit the BCHN developers against the ABC developers, alongside the pros and cons of both Jonathan Toomim’s Asert DAA and the Grasberg DAA.
On August 5, 2020, a “consortium of node implementations, infrastructure providers, services, engineers, and stakeholders” published a post on the read.cash blog which explained that a number of actors will “deploy the aserti3-2d difficulty adjustment algorithm (Asert DAA).” We will deploy the aserti3-2d difficulty adjustment algorithm (Asert DAA) on Bitcoin Cash (BCH) on November 15th, 2020, as designed by Mark Lundeberg and implemented by Jonathan Toomim alongside other accredited contributors of the ecosystem,” the consortium wrote. The announcement added:
The Aserti3-2d DAA is simple to implement, well-tested, and extensively simulated. It incentivizes consistent mining, achieves stability for transaction confirmations with low-variance 10-minute block targets, and is resistant to future drift.
The consortium announcement was digitally signed by Andrea Suisani (Bitcoin Unlimited), Andrew Stone (BU), Axel Gembe (Electron Cash), BCHD, Bitcoin Cash Node (BCHN), Calin A. Culianu (Electron Cash), Cashaddress.org, Cashfusion, Cashshuffle, Corentin Mercier (bitcash), Dagur Valberg Johannsson (BCHN, BU), Electron Cash, Fernando Pelliccioni (Knuth node), Freetrader (BCHN), Imaginary_username, James Cramer (SLP), John Nieri (General Protocols), Jonathan Silverblood (CashAccounts), Jonathan Toomim, Josh Green (Bitcoin Verde), Mark B. Lundeberg, Pokkst (bitcoincashj), Rosco Kalis (Cashscript), Tom Zander (Flowee), and Oscar Salas of Instabitcoin.net.
Many BCH supporters have said they don’t want to see a split, while others believe that a split is inevitable. Bitcoin.com’s CEO Dennis Jarvis discussed the situation on Twitter and said that the situation was “sad to hear.”
“I hope everyone can come back together to work on the future roadmap. There are no good outcomes from forking/splitting for anyone who believes in the long-term value and usefulness of Bitcoin Cash,” Jarvis tweeted. Bitcoin.com’s CTO Emil Oldenburg also gave his opinion on Twitter.
It’s uncertain what will happen come November when the upgrade is planned if the signatories mentioned above choose to go with the aserti3-2d DAA and if ABC chooses to roll with Grasberg. Moreover, in ten days it is expected that a code freeze will take place on August 15, as it usually happens before the official upgrade. Additionally, Viabtc’s founder Yang Haipo’s Weibo account allegedly said that Coinex and Viabtc will initiate a fork as well by leveraging the ticker “BCC.” On August 5, 2020, Bitcoin ABC developer Amaury Séchet tweeted about Yang Haipo’s statements.
“Viabtc’s [Yang Haipo] announced a fork of Bitcoin Cash under the ticker BCC,” Séchet tweeted on Wednesday. “This is unfortunate, but also an amazing opportunity for those who have been unhappy with how things are going. Some will want to start a war. Those who want freedom must not let them.”
What do you think about the arguments that are happening between Bitcoin Cash developers and community members? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.
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