The Antminer s9 devices just got a brand new software update. What’s interesting about this upgrade, is that it uses a code, which is deemed by many as “controversial.” This code essentially allows the Antminer s9 devices to mine bitcoins more efficiently. On October 22nd, Bitmain announced that this freshly-released firmware will support the “overt AsicBoost” functionality. The reasoning stated is that the boost will grant a huge mining speed enhancement to the miners.
Things get interesting when it’s apparent that Bitmain is only just now enabling the mining devices to use the AsicBoost. It was already known that the chips were able to support the function on a hardware level.
In yesterday’s announcement, Bitmain states that the move will ensure their machines keep their mining efficiency for Bitcoin. At the same time, the hash rate of the bitcoin network will be increased, which will result in a reduced energy footprint.
The AsicBoost has Bitmain’s full support
Bitmain also clarified their decision of releasing software supporting the AsicBoost method. They stated that the decision was made due to security concerns for the software patents. In the end, the company’s legal department made their decision that at the current time, there is no specific patent claim over the software.
According to the company’s announcement:
“We are very pleased to give Antminer users whose miners possess the capability to support this function a choice to use this advantage without a negative impact on the Bitcoin protocol. This variant of the “overt AsicBoost” uses different version bits. It’s equally transparent because of its ability to be seen in the blockreader of boosted blocks.”
The company also intends to release additional firmware supporting the very same functionality for other Antminer models. Those models will include: R4, S9i, T9, S9j, and T9+. The release is expected in two weeks.
The reason why the AsicBoost is controversial is because of Bitcoin Core developer claims. Many of them claimed that miners who used this method, were exploiting a flaw. The flaw is in bitcoin’s PoW algorithm and it allows the miners to mine with a 20% efficiency bonus.
Bitmain has of course denied such accusations. Needless to say, all eyes will be on this update and the Bitcoin Core developers will keep extra attention in case things begin to go over the top.
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