Siacoin has been a rather interesting cryptocurrency to keep an eye on throughout 2018. Not because of its price movement, as that has been in line with all other bearish markets. Instead, there has been an ongoing debate as to whether or not the project needs to fork its code to prevent Bitmain ASICs from taking control of the network. That debacle has finally come to an end.
Siacoin Refutes Bitmain ASICs
Over the past few months, there has been an influx of cryptocurrency mining ASICs for different cryptocurrencies. Bitmain has brought a handful of new devices to market which have nothing to do with mining Bitcoin or Bitcoin Cash. Because of these new units, smaller-cap altcoins come under a lot of pressure.
An influx of new ASIC miners can easily disrupt the overall hashrate and mining statistics of specific currencies. Some projects see the looming threat of ASICs as a major problem, because it can cause severe centralization issues. If miners were to collude, they can easily perform a 51% attack with sufficient hashrate.
For Siacoin, this has always been an active topic of debate. The coin’s developers have been looking for ways to nip this threat in the bud. Even though the team is building their own ASICs, the competition from Bitmain poses a fair few problems. Even so, previous debates resulted in not forking Siacoin and allowing Bitmain’s ASICs to mine on the Sia network.
This time is very different, as a new decision has been made in terms of third-party ASIC hardware. Innosilicon is currently the dominant mining hardware manufacturer on the network. Even though their hardware offers some advantages, high prices and lack of competition remain a problem. Introducing a hard fork appears to be the only course of action to be taken at this time.
To put the fork into perspective, it will effectively “brick” Bitmain and Innosilicon ASIC mining. Instead, the code will ensure only Obelisk ASICs – the units developed by the Sia team through the Obelisk subsidiary – will be able to mine. Giving this monopoly to in-house developed solutions will undoubtedly raise a few eyebrows and even more questions. At the same time, one has to applaud the Siacoin developers for taking such an aggressive stance toward Bitmain and any other competitor threatening its network.
It is expected this fork will cause a significant decrease in Siacoin’s hashrate initially. At the same time, the decision makes sense, as the developers want to create a healthy mining ecosystem. It is possible the Obelisk miners will lose their market monopoly in the future, but for now, Bitmain and Innosilicon devices are no longer welcome. A controversial decision, although one that also makes a fair bit of sense.