AsicBoost Exploit Claims Put Bitmain in Hot Water

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Bitcoin gained $40 in two hours on Wednesday evening as news broke that a bug was allowing miners – specifically Bitmain – to unfairly economize on costs.

Through the use of so-called AsicBoost technology, Bitmain’s miners were able to exploit a loophole in Bitcoin’s proof-of-work system.

Jihan Wu, the company’s CEO, is a known staunch opponent of Segregated Witness as a solution to Bitcoin’s scaling problem, with sources now asserting that the AsicBoost benefits could lie at the heart of his position.

The vulnerability was first discovered and relayed to Core members by Blockstream’s Greg Maxwell.

Bitmain was not initially mentioned, with cryptocurrency journalist Kyle Torpey subsequently confirming its involvement.

“I hope that even those of us who would strongly prefer that ASICBOOST be blocked completely can come together to support a protective measure that separates concerns by inhibiting the covert use of it that potentially blocks protocol improvements,” he wrote.

Community commentators such as Tone Vays praised Maxwell’s detection and offer to resolve the problem, calling it a “huge confidence boost for [supporting SegWit].”

At the same time, Wu appeared to become embroiled in a scandal, facing accusations of tweeting about the AsicBoost issue then deleting the content several times.