Bitmain, one of bitcoin’s biggest miners with a current hash-share of around 15% of the network, is to launch a new giant mining facility this December with 45 rooms, independent substations, offices and a total size of 140,000 kilowatts.
By some calculations, that translates to around 45% of the network hash-share, but it is not clear whether the new facilities are simply for a relocation or to accommodate additional mining power.
Regardless, Bitmain is a vast company and one of the few miners that provide full services for the entire mining cycle. They hire researches to discover new algorithms and efficiencies, they manufacture mining gear based on such optimizations, they sell such mining gear to the public, they mine with it and they run a mining pool.
Unlike, say, F2Pool, which hires a few employees, Bitmain has 100 or more, from high caliber researchers to factory workers, allowing them to flex their muscles when it comes to energy companies or local government officials.
Back in July, Bitmain organized an energy conference for the apparent purpose of persuading Chinese companies to offer them cheap or fully free electricity in return for their custom and provision of employment to local provinces.
Moreover, they recently wrote a letter of intent with John McAfee to open a western-based mining pool while rumors speculate that ViaBTC, a new mining pool that recently quickly gained around 10% of network hash power, is funded or closely related to Bitmain.
How Centralized is Bitcoin Mining?
After the Ghash debacle in 2014 when the pool gained more than 51% of mining power, causing a mini-panic and controversy, to only then become very much irrelevant and currently as good as fully insignificant, it is unlikely any miner would publicly reveal a 51% or higher hash-rate ownership.
They would find it far easier to split their hash rate under different mining pools, open new pools, or mine under unknown IP addresses. It is difficult, therefore, if at all possible, to know the real hash-rate of any miner.
As such, there have long been speculations that Bitmain and F2pool share hash-rate ownership due to apparent correlative moves in their hash-rate distribution, but without any evidence or admission, it remains just unverified and denied rumors.
Nonetheless, the network has clearly evolved as Nakamoto envisioned. Mining nodes are now very much in giant mining farms consuming more electricity than entire countries according to some studies, occupying huge swathes of land and employing hundreds.
There seems to be little, if any desire, to change or improve any of it, with proof of stake schemes, hybrid schemes, or even completely new methods, seemingly finding little public discussion in bitcoin communities as there appears to be a prevailing attitude of preserving the status quo and seeing how it all develops.
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