Veteran Bitcoin educator and commentator Andreas Antonopoulos has said AsicBoost technology is a “serious impediment to protocol enhancements.”
Speaking during a Q&A session at the Silicon Valley Bitcoin meetup earlier this month, Antonopoulos said that running the technology in a covert manner is a “threat” to the network.
“We can no longer add modifications to the header because any modifications will be resisted by anyone who’s running covert ASICBOOST it will reduce their profitability,” he summarized.
Recent allegations that mining hardware manufacturer Bitmain had incorporated the feature into its products and was using it to save on mining costs and impede SegWit activation caused considerable speculation throughout the Bitcoin community.
Distinguishing between the covert and open use of AsicBoost, Antonopoulos said that if Bitmain’s rebuttal stating that it had only deployed it on the Bitcoin testnet and not mainnet were true, the company would not resist its disablement.
“If you do believe [Bitmain], I have a simple answer to that, which is: ‘In that case, if you didn’t use it and you won’t use it, you won’t mind if the entire network disables it,’” he continued.
Later in the same response, Antonopoulos appeared to issue more of a challenge to Bitmain to disable AsicBoost.
“If you’re going to do it, do it with the overt version; that way, everyone can see you’re doing it and adjust their business plan accordingly. The covert version damages the market, damages the protocol development and since nobody’s using it, let’s turn it off.”
The profit margins made possible by AsicBoost are considerable, the commentator added, with the less than one percent regular figure increasing around 20 times, allowing for an easy monopoly to be established.
“That is unacceptable,” he said.