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Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Bitcoin's Scaling Debate: The View From China's Miners


At present, the bitcoin community is engaged in a voracious debate about how best to scale the network. But in such a context, it's sometimes all too easy to overlook the human figures involved in that debate.

Positioned on one side are the Bitcoin Core developers, (a term many wish to avoid reifying) but who nonetheless are recognizable as a cadre of sorts. On the other side of the debate, underrepresented and frequently misunderstood, are the China-based mining pools and hardware providers.

We reached out to three mining pools – AntPool, Bixin and BW – to get a varied perspective on how they feel about Western attitudes toward them, but also how the day-to-day operations of mining occur.

Bitcoin culture can, at times, be argumentative, and this is at least partially attributable to the communication gap between China and the English speaking world. Virgilio Lizardo Jr, head of international for Bitbank Group (owners of BW pool), describes the language barrier between China and the English-speaking world as "immense", leading to a dialogue blighted by miscommunication.

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