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Sia: ASIC wars, bricking the Bitmain and Innosilicon ASICs


Here goes another chapter of ASIC wars. This time, Sia is under attack and is striking back with the v1.3.6 hardfork. This hardfork will reset Sia’s Proof-of-Work function. This will make ASICs by Bitmain and Innosilicon useless.

The whole story started with the Bitmain that announced their ASIC miner for Sia network just 10 days before shipping. That was the announcement that almost caused the civil war in Sia community. Why?

In June 2017, we announced that Sia would be pursuing ASICs, and that Nebulous (parent company of Sia) would be spinning up a new subsidiary to manufacture ASICs for Sia. The project gained traction, and long time members of the Sia community collectively contributed millions of dollars to pursue ASICs.

So, it was clearly the attack of Obelisk by Bitmain.

By resetting the Proof-of-Work function, Sia developers won’t make the whole network ASIC resistant (as Monero did by implementing Lithium Luna fork). Obelisk machines will do just fine with mining Siacoin. Digging deeper, we can see that Sia is not against ASIC mining at all just for one reason – GPU mining makes the network even more vulnerable. Just because GPU miners can mine any coin they want and if mining Siacoin becomes less profitable than mining another coin, they can simply switch to it. ASICs are not designed for that, ASIC for bitcoin won’t mine Siacoin and vice versa.

The decision, made by Sia, aims only to support Obelisk hardware and keep decentralization of the network under somewhat that might be called control while removing strong competitors out of the network. But we all know that Bitmain and Innosilicon both have enough funds to survive after such a loss. Will these companies leave Sia network or try to enter it again? Time will show. For now, it seems that Sia solved the problem just for some time and it will appear again someday.

Are there other examples of solution of such problem? ASIC resistance is the path that was chosen by Monero. After implementing their fork, Monero network lost over 70% of hashpower. You can see that on this chart. This was quite a successful solution, welcomed by the community. And developers will keep implementing such forks until ASIC manufacturers stop trying to make a hardware for mining.

There’s another story in ASIC wars that happened recently. The main actor – Electroneum ETN. As Electroneum uses Monero code, developers decided to follow Monero in ASIC resistance, but later on, temporarily canceled this decision due to extremely low hashrate in the network. It looks like they didn’t want to do it this way, it’s more like they had to. All we see now is that ETN hashrate is constantly growing (and the price lately) so let’s hope that this temporary measure will be removed soon.

How will the story with Sia develop?

Will we see the Siacoin Classic or something like that, purely driven by Bitmain and Innosilicon miners, that were left outside the main network?

All we see now is that cryptocurrencies are still community – driven and developers do everything to keep the community support, no matter what. This is quite inspirational as this means that the main idea of cryptocurrencies is extremely important for both sides and has strong protection from invaders.

Great job, Sia!

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