Bitcoin Private-Community Update: Software updates – like busses
The long awaited BTCP software update is ready! The BTCP Team has been beavering away into the small hours trying to prepare for the difficulty bomb that would render the BTCP chain dead at block 600,000.
As previously described the plan was to address three key areas.
1. The difficulty bomb
2. Update to a customised 192,7 algorithm to provide ASIC resistance once again and discourage rented hash so as to have 51% attack resistance
3. Implement Groth16 parameters to alleviate the ZCash vulnerability that we have inherited.
Meatloaf once said ‘Two out of three aint bad’ and up until 2 days ago we were regrettably in the position where we could only provide the same. This was a combination of factors including some last minute issues with the 192,7 difficulty adjustments, which have affected ZCL in their recent update. These issues meant that earlier this week, despite having a build with all 3 changes built a decision was made to defer the Groth 16 Vulnerability Fix to a point in the very near future to concentrate on addressing the 192,7 problems. The bad news meaning that we would need 2 forks in quick succession. This, however, was determined not to be the end of the world as we have very few interested 3rd parties to inform in terms of exchanges and mining pools.
As always with development there is always something lurking to throw a spanner in the works. This spanner became evident yesterday (11th September) and was not to do with the code that had been developed, rather the toolchain and workflow. To cut a long story short, the developers had a meeting today and determined that the best course of action was to simply provide an update to remove the difficulty bomb and redirect the proving keys to our new VULTR server. For the moment this update is only required by mining pools or those that are solo mining, if you have a non mining node there is no need to do anything. Details will be sent directly to pools very soon, for everyone else………another update is coming soon!
The algorithm change will activate in the next update that is expected in a matter of weeks. This does mean that BTCP will be ASIC mineable for a little longer than expected after which it becomes GPU open season! This grace period will allow time to update some of the other software items in preparation for the algorithm change such as the Electrum server and client to be compatible with the solution length change brought by the algo change. It will also afford the community a few weeks to shout about the update and create a little hype which will hopefully attract some GPU miners and pools. We already have a new pool working with us and they are currently running a testnet to iron out any last minute problems.
With a little bit of dev momentum, things are starting to move and other manageable tweaks and improvements are being discussed along with interest from external developers.
We would like to thank you for your continued support and patience as we rebuild for a brighter future!
The issue that has been identified concerning the difficulty is that switching from ASIC mining to GPU mining is likely to have a big impact on the difficulty. This was highlighted recently when ZCL performed a similar update and, with a massive hash rate reduction with no difficulty adjustment, it was seen that it took 2 days to mine 3 blocks. This is obviously not ideal, our current scheme sees a maximum of 32% reduction in difficulty every 17 blocks which would take a while if we suffer the same issue. With this in mind and in preparation for reduced hash power, a difficulty adjustment change is being discussed and implemented with an external developer.