Asicboost and empty blocks


#1

as some of you know, some bitmain miners are using asicboost technology gaming POW system. basically, there are two ways to simplify/quicken the process of generating blocks, one of which is mining empty blocks. mining empty blocks has a lost opportunity price in bitcoin and it’s forks that give out fees to the miner, however peercoin burns fees, making mining empty blocks much more attractive to these cheaters.

here’s an example of one suspicious miner:

https://explorer.peercoin.net/address/PKtAghhyy1qrDsfPjLpu7Z5v95Tf3HfAsv

there is abnormally high percentage of empty blocks this miner does, for example have a look at height 332349:
blocks around it have plenty of transactions, but this one is conveniently empty.

what should we do about this? can we do anything?


#2

gmaxwell suggested https://lists.linuxfoundation.org/pipermail/bitcoin-dev/2017-April/013996.html

some discussions here
https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=1866550
https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=1858324

there are also stories about backdoors in antminers http://www.antbleed.com/

one user said he had problems mining with his S9 on ecoining , i dont know why exactly, maybe bitmain is blocking it, not sure about that tho

here someone shows how to activate it


#3

There is nothing wrong with optimising mining.
Gaming PoW is what it is designed for.

In Peercoin, PoW miners have no responsibility and no voting power.
The only thing we want miners to do is to add entropy to the chain and we pay them for that.
There is no issue like their is in Bitcoin where miners can gain unfair advantage in voting power on the chain.

Mining optimisations are of all times. ASICs ensure miners cannot optimise much, what is it, 20%?
When you look at the so called “ASIC resistant” algorithms, you can gain 1000% or even 10000% with secret optimisations. Even worse they are often controlled by botnets. (I’m writing an article about that).

Long story short, we should not care about empty PoW blocks. PoW blocks have virtually no chain weight. Confirmations in a PoW block have barely any value anyway. If we should do something at all, we should require PoW blocks to be empty.


#4

As long as it is not possible to see who are using ASICBoost, patent law can not be enforced. Therefore I see no problem with the current situation. Mining will always be competitive and that’s the way we want it to be. Enabling state sanctioned monopolies through patent law is the last thing we want. That’s why going from Covert ASICBoost to Overt ASICBoost, like Greg Maxwell is advocating, makes no sense to me. I think it mostly was meant as a way to shame miners into activating Segwit.