Last November the Bitcoin Cash (BCH) community witnessed a hash war that resulted in a bifurcation of the main chain. The spat saw one of the first examples of the alpha miner strategy and an attempt to truly test Nakamoto consensus. About a week before the fork, a new mining operation was announced called Shark Pool aimed at explicitly attacking weaker chains. However, a new type of mining organization revealed itself on Feb. 15 called Orca Pool which seeks to protect altcoins and forks from being attacked by malicious miners.
Also Read: Bitcoin’s Social Contract Must Be Resilient to the Whims of Future Generations
Blockchains Beware: Sharks in the Water
Just before the BCH hard fork and blockchain split which saw the birth of BSV, a new mining pool announced its plan to attack smaller cryptocurrency networks in order to cause disruption to the coin’s ecosystem. The operation Shark Pool explained during the first week of November 2018 that the mining organization would exclusively mine blocks on low proof-of-work chains and create a series of orphaned blocks. Furthermore, Shark Pool would also sell profits from mining these other coins in order to acquire BSV. Shark Pool was founded by Cashpay Solutions cofounder Ari Kuqi who is also known for the project Cryptonize.it.
“All altcoins, including forks and splits, are acts of war against Bitcoin and are going to be treated as such,” explained Shark Pool when they launched.
Even after the BCH fork, the Shark Pool organization had continued to announce threats toward certain coins they planned on ambushing. Three days after the split, Shark Pool warned community members of projects like Bitcoin gold (BTG), Bitcoin interest (BCI), Bitcoin diamond (BCD) and Bitcoin private (BTCP). Some people also accused Shark Pool of attacking the BCH testnet at this time as well. Just before the new year, the pool explained that 2019 would be the “Year of the Shark” and the organization emphasized that it still had its sights set on BTCP’s mainnet. “Exchanges will require 1,500+ confirms for BTCP, devastating for a cryptocurrency,” Shark Pool detailed on Dec. 23, 2018.
The Orca, Predator of the Shark
Since then, Shark Pool has continued to try and recruit more miners to join the mining operation. For instance, on Jan. 5, the well known BSV supporter Kevin Pham explained to his Twitter followers that “real Bitcoin maximalists” are like Shark Pool and “you’d want to destroy shitcoins like litecoin, not support them.” Not everyone agrees with the BSV community’s mentality though and on Feb. 15 a new pool was born in order to retaliate against miners like Shark Pool. On Friday afternoon a newly created Twitter handle stated:
Sign up for Orca Pool, a mining pool that counters attacks by Shark Pool and sells the rewards for Bitcoin.
Orca Pool’s tweet leads to a website which explains that miners can sign up for early registration to join the pool’s resources. The website details that the Orca, otherwise known as the killer whale, is a predator of the shark. The mining organization’s website Orcapool.cash says the group believes miners should defend blockchain censorship and the site explains in detail why they started the group.
“All Altcoins, including forks and splits, should compete in the free market — Predatory pools have emerged that wish to interfere with this process by illegally attacking blockchains with hashpower,” it reads. “Orca Pool miners will exclusively mine chains needing defense from attackers, and sell the rewards for Bitcoin.”
Once again, the cryptocurrency mining ecosystem and its players have shown how the industry is swift to adapt to new ideas. The concept of miners mining other chains so they can acquire their favorite coin is nothing new, but maliciously orphaning blocks and causing chaos for exchanges has been a relatively new threat since last November’s hash wars. Small chains with very low amounts of hashrate like Bitcoin gold and vertcoin have been attacked recently which indicates that some miners think it’s open season and have been on the hunt for these chains. Lastly, there’s also been a lot of mining pools hiding their identities recently and a resurgence of “unknown miners” has been seen on both the BCH and BTC networks.
What do you think about mining operations like Shark Pool and Orca Pool? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.
Image credits: Shutterstock, Pixabay, Twitter, Shark Pool, and Orca Pool logos.
Want to create your own secure cold storage paper wallet? Check our tools section.