Ideally, it should be quick, clear, and decisive. There’s talk of a long protracted hash-war, and I wanted to illustrate the circumstances in which such a thing can happen and what it would mean for the eco-system.

Dragging this out is in nobody’s interest. But the reality is that there indeed is a chance of this occurring. It may not be likely, but the possibility is there.

There are two ways I see this playing out.

The first scenario is straight forward. Both camps put all their resources up-front and forward, and we wait out to see the winning competing chain. The real trouble with this measure is that there is no definitive block count that settles a winner. But this scenario does make the assumption that whoever takes the lead early, will continue with this mining power and therefore maintain the lead.

The outcome would then look similar to the graph below:

Will this be a protracted hash-war?

The x axis is intentionally omitted here since the time-line on determinations is rather subjective. But suffice to say that the longer the period, the clearer the winning team of the longest chain becomes.

The possibility of the second scenario, complicates the first however. There have been rumours for example, stating that Bitmain may employ intermittent hash bursts, borrowed or rented from elsewhere (ie. A BTC pool) to ensure their chain stays ahead. I’m not here to comment on the validity of these rumours. They are at this stage, rumours, and until the hashwar is underway, we probably won’t know with certainty. But they do present a dilemma in calculating the victor.

The outcome would look something more like this:

Will this be a protracted hash-war?

Camp 1 in the above diagram employs an early mining effort with borrowed hash to get ahead and attempt to declare an early victory. The borrowed hash effort ends, and if Camp 2 truly has more dedicated hash, then it would begin to claw its way back to a longer chain. As Camp 2 threatens, it would re-employ the same strategy to remain in front.

This can oscillate indefinitely, and it would be a scenario that nobody would want. For many the oscillating lead would be insufficient in declaring a clear winner, and further, it has the potential to not only affect the wait time on exchanges halting withdrawals, but also, create more uncertainty for merchants, and as well as even more inconsistent block confirmations.

Coingeek is hoping that dedicated hash is used alone to settle the score. To find a victor early on and then move forward with building BCH to be a global currency. It is in part one of the reasons why Calvin Ayre referred to this possibility as market manipulation.

My personal position on this hash battle is that the longest chain should settle things once and for all. We have so much to gain, and ironically, so much to lose. I asked Calvin on his position should ABC win the hash battle, and he responded “If ABC win, then I will follow and constantly work on striving to make future changes for the better.”

I felt this was a very level headed response. If we keep saying BCH is Bitcoin, then hash power decides. The argument that hash power decides BTC is technically Bitcoin is mute simply for the fact that BTC is not even cash. It is a Frankenstein project now designed to be something else entirely different. Roger had the perfect tweet in response to this:

At Coingeek we maintain that BCH is Bitcoin, and we will continue to fight for it to remain Bitcoin.

Eli Afram
@justicemate

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