The Bitcoin Cash Community Debates Future Difficulty Adjustments
It has been three months since the Bitcoin Cash (BCH) network was introduced to the cryptocurrency community. So far, the BCH protocol is holding its own with continued infrastructure growth as well as capturing the fourth largest digital asset capitalization. However, the BCH community and the project’s developers are in the midst of a debate […]
It has been three months since the Bitcoin Cash (BCH) network was introduced to the cryptocurrency community. So far, the BCH protocol is holding its own with continued infrastructure growth as well as capturing the fourth largest digital asset capitalization. However, the BCH community and the project’s developers are in the midst of a debate regarding removing the Emergency Difficulty Adjustment (EDA), which initially helped keep the network going during its first few weeks.
The Bitcoin Cash Community Discusses the Network’s EDA Problems
Presently, the EDA implementation added to the Bitcoin Cash network is causing some people to believe the network is having issues. For instance, a half a day could go by, and there are barely any blocks found, and then some days BCH miners will process a multitude of blocks in a short period of time. Some people believe ‘dishonest’ miners are abusing the EDA and the safeguard is hurting the network. It’s speculated that miners can simply join forces to initiate a difficulty adjustment when BCH’s market price is meager, which could cause disastrous inflation. The conversation has got the BCH community discussing the situation heavily, and developers are talking about different solutions.
On August 25, Bitcoin ABC lead developer, Amaury Séchet (Deadalnix), revealed his idea for a difficulty algorithm change for the BCH network. Séchet says he was expecting “wild swings of hashrate” between both BCH and BTC chains. “This isn’t something we can completely prevent without both BTC and BCH hashrate adjusting in timeframes equivalent with the ones of price swing,” explains Séchet on the bitcoin-ml mailing list. However, the developer says they can make the situation better, but doesn’t think it’s an “urgent problem to solve.”
“There is a lot of uncertainty in the space, at least until November, so I’m not sure that changing the adjustment is a wise move before then,” explains Séchet. “Really, the whole thing is young and still settling down.”
Additionally, in the mailing list email Séchet proposes a solution which has been submitted for review, so that the rest of the Bitcoin ABC developers can discuss the idea. The algorithm is designed to “adjust the difficulty to hashrate to target a mean block interval of 600 seconds” – according to an individual called “Mengerian” who reviewed the idea with Séchet. Mengerian says other design features include avoiding drastic changes during times when the hashrate is flat, and adjusting difficulty when the hashrate changes fast. Séchet says he simulated the following scenarios with constant hashrate and swings between block intervals.
Bitcoin Classic Developer Thomas Zander Provides His Opinion and Solutions
On October 5, Bitcoin Classic lead developer, Thomas Zander, has also given his opinion of the current EDA situation. Zander details why he believes Satoshi chose a difficulty adjustment every two weeks.
“My personal conclusion is that the choice of 2 weeks is a balance,” explains Zander. “Making the period significantly shorter brings down the value of the coin because it becomes more risky to mine it. Making the period longer brings down the value of the coin because inflation rises.”
Zander has come up with a few solutions to the EDA problem facing the BCH network. One solution is completely removing the EDA and letting BCH deal with the legacy BTC adjustment period; which has worked for bitcoin throughout the years. Zander emphasizes, “the BTC chain is not really hurting from BCHs existence — The algorithm works, and eventually we should revert to that — It’s not broken, so why fix it?” However, the Bitcoin Classic developer understands that some people think the EDA is necessary and if that’s the case, Zander believes, “we need to fix it if we want to keep it — the current situation is very damaging.
Zander then describes a dual-EDA concept which patches the existing EDA and makes its so miners can’t abuse the algorithm by triggering a downward difficulty adjustment.
“The goal is to reverse incorrectly applied EDAs,” Zander explains. “We ensure that the difficulty never goes above the base which means that as long as there is no EDA triggered, the reverse EDA will do nothing.”
Overall the discussion is moving along progressively, and the BCH community seems to be working together to address the EDA issue. There is a bit of disagreement on how much of a priority fixing the EDA really is, but it hasn’t stopped the unrestrained discussion. Some individuals also dislike Thomas Zander’s dual EDA idea and have detailed their opposition towards the proposal. Moreover, there are other EDA fix proposals on the table as well which are being reviewed by the BCH development community.
What do you think about the Bitcoin Cash network’s current EDA issues? Do you think it is something that needs to be fixed right now or do you think it should wait until after November? Let us know what you think in the comments below.
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