China’s Bitcoin Miners See Profit in a Bigger-Block Blockchain

It was not entirely an idle joke when one speaker at China’s first miner conference quipped that if the audience decided to launch a 51% attack against the bitcoin network, they would probably be able to pull it off.
Over a foggy weekend, around 250 people (the majority being miners gathered in Chengdu) filled a rather spacious conference hall to its capacity for an event called China’s Miners’ Conference, a mostly promotional event organized by major miner Bitmain. But, they came for more than the province’s famous spicy food.
As of late, Sichuan has acquired the reputation of being the center of bitcoin mining. Its hydroelectric power (which faces a serious oversupply issue) has attracted hordes of miners, there to set up data center-sized mining farms.
But miners are not the only people you were likely to meet at the event. Some were there to pass business cards and tell you that they have access to cheap power or can help you build large mining farms in more cost-efficient ways, eager to profit from the miners.
Others didn’t have products to sell. Rather, Huang Shiliang, the popular bitcoin writer, was here with an idea that holds the same promise, supposedly, to help miners increase their margins.
Onstage, Huang is an orator with a penchant to making extraordinary claims, and his comments on scaling the bitcoin blockchain would likely strike foreign listeners as unusual given the perception in the West that new technical solutions have quelled the debate.
In his talk, Huang spoke at length about how he first became interested in bitcoin. But, he returned to a common theme – profit.

This post was published at Coin Desk on November 6, 2016.

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