Bitmain, the largest manufacturer of ASICs, is getting close to 51% of Bitcoin’s network hashrate as its two subordinates reached close to 42% last week.
One thing that can get cryptocurrency advocates hyperventilating is the possibility of someone gaining control of a crypto’s network. Such an event occurs when an entity controls 51 percent of the network’s hashrate, the total power used to send and confirm transactions within that network. Now it appears that Bitmain is inching closer to that 51 percent for Bitcoin (BTC).
Owning the Top Two Spots
Right now, Bitmain has almost reached close to 42 percent of Bitcoin’s network hashrate through two separate operations. The manufacturing and mining giant owns both BTC.com and Antpool.
Antpool is a mining pool operated by the Beijing-based company, and it found 14.6 percent of all bitcoins last week. By comparison, BTC.com is supposedly independent (while still being owned by Bitmain) and found 27.2 percent of all bitcoins last week.
Room to Improve
What is interesting is that the company can actually increase its network hashrate share if it chooses to. The company also mines Bitcoin Cash (BCH) as well as it can use the same equipment that it does for Bitcoin, due to both coins sharing the same algorithm. Antpool currently stakes a 10.6 percent of the Bitcoin Cash network hashrate while BTC.com has 10.4 percent.
It should be noted that if Bitmain ceased mining for BCH in order to go after BTC, its network hashrate share will only go up a few percentage points. This is due to the fact that Bitcoin is harder to mine than Bitcoin Cash.
There are some worries that problems can arise if Bitmain gains a 51 percent share. One concern is that the number one cryptocurrency would lose decentralization. Another troubling thought is that someone could hack into Bitmain and take control, thus throwing the entire Bitcoin network into chaos.
However, the chances of this happening aren’t that great. Bitmain has a vested interest in keeping the Bitcoin network thriving and healthy. After all, the company earned between $3 to $4 billion last year. The company could also lower the price of their ASICs and sell them off to bump up the mining pools of competitors.
It’ll be interesting to see what happens. The costs of mining bitcoins continue to rise as the difficulty in mining them increases. It’s possible that some other corporation could create a revolutionary new ASIC and jump to the head of the pack.
Are you concerned about Bitmain getting closer to 51 percent of Bitcoin’s hashrate? Let us know in the comments below.
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