On April 17, Bitmain’s mining pool Antpool’s hashrate abruptly surged by around 20 percent in a period of few hours, from 200 to nearly 500 GH/S. Some members of the bitcoin community accused Bitmain of deliberately preventing the activation of Segregated WItness (Segwit) on Litecoin.
As Coinbase Director of Engineering and Litecoin founder Charlie Lee confirmed, on April 12, Segwit reached its 75 percent activation threshold on Litecoin. Following the successful signaling of Segwit, its activation period began on April 14, set to continue for two additional weeks.
For Segwit to be fully activated on Litecoin, it needs over 75 percent support from miners during that two week period. If it fails to maintain its support threshold for 14 days, even if the initial threshold of 75 percent was met, Segwit will not be activated on Litecoin.
Bitmain’s Antpool is suspected of increasing its hashrate allocation to Litecoin significantly with the intent of postponing the activation of Segwit. Two days ago, traders and analysts within the Litecoin community stated that if Antpool’s hashrate is sustained at the current level, there is a high probability of Segwit activation being terminated.
According to Litecoin Blockhalf, a platform developed to show the current Segwit activation process, Segwit is not active. It is at 72.37 percent, slightly below the 75 percent threshold required to be activated on Litecoin.
Although it could completely coincidental that Antpool’s Litecoin hashrate exponentially increased during the Segwit activation period, there are a few reasons why Bitmain would want to delay or even terminate the activation process of Segwit on Litecoin.
Some of the largest mining pools such as Bitfury and F2Pool, the second and third largest bitcoin mining pools, are in support for Segwit activation on bitcoin. The rest however is planning to consider the impact of Segwit on Litecoin’s on-chain and off-chain scaling and only show support for Segwit if it is successfully adopted by Litecoin.
Antpool is one of the few major mining pools to reject Segwit activation on both Litecoin and bitcoin. Since the mining pool understands that successful adoption of Segwit on Litecoin could likely lead to the activation of Segwit on bitcoin, Bitmain could be motivated to stop Segwit activation on Litecoin at all costs.
In the past few days, Antpool also demonstrated some strange behaviors which misled the bitcoin and mining communities. On April 17, bitcoin trader WhalePanda discovered that Antpool was signaling Segwit on Litecoin. He noted that Antpool could have been hacked by an undisclosed group of hackers who are motivated to activate Segwit on Litecoin.
Misunderstanding the situation, F2Pool owner Wang Chun urged the community to show appreciation to Antpool and Jihan Wu for signaling Segwit on Litecoin. After realizing that Antpool stopped signalling for Segwit, Chun wrote:
Antpool is big and has lots of mining servers. They must have got some temporary tech difficulties. I believe they’ll restart signaling soon.
Chun explained that Antpool will likely restart signaling Segwit on Litecoin. Whether if this is true or not will proven by Antpool’s future decisions.
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