We have discussed the threat of 51% attacks before, but the vision of it being pointed against the likes of Bitcoin was deemed a myth. Due to the immense size of the bitcoin blockchain, some considered it immune from falling victim to the attack. In recent times, Bitmain, considered one of the biggest mining corporations on the planet, has emerged as a potential threat.
Having accumulated close to 42% of the total mining power, the corporation is edging ever closer to the magical figure. Shown via its 2 mining pools, BTC.com and the Antpool, the corporate behemoth shows no signs of slowing down. Considering the company also puts customers purchases pointed at the pools in order to test for bugs/faults, the pools are set to grow and grow in size and power.
Potential solutions :
In the past simply advising users to point their hashing power to different pools was effective in gaining a quick and effective response. This was the case when the GH pool also accumulated a immense amount of hashpower. However with Bitmain one of the biggest developers of ASIC hardware it may be a harder feat to reduce its share of mining power.
Furthermore, the BetterHash initiative has also been launched to prevent centralization of mining power. The brainchild of Matt Corallo, a former bitcoin core developer, the initiative is currently in a draft phase as the fundamental ideas behind the protocol are laid out. To be released as a direct competitor to the current Stratum protocol, the BetterHash protocol aims to allow greater autonomy for miners rather than being made to direct their power to a certain pool. THis comes as a significant devleopment considering past alternatives were solo mining or using pools such as the P2Pool.