Overall, we are sad that things have come to the point where we need to take action to reject an existing ASIC monopoly. We hope that in the future, the mining ecosystem is more self regulating and that this is the only mining hardfork required for Sia. However, we believe that we have set this hardfork up to be as decentralized as possible, and we believe that any substantial dissent from the users can be accommodated fully and gracefully through a Nebulous supported network split.
We will be structuring the Sia hardfork code to enable a group of dissenters to easily split off and be on a separate blockchain where the hardfork was never implemented. The hardfork will be released as its own release, v1.3.6, where the only code updated is a handful …
So long as the new manufacturer is contributing to the health of the Sia mining ecosystem and avoiding abusive practices, the seat of power will be passed along gracefully. However, the Sia community is not afraid to take action a second time to break a parasitic or abusive ASIC monopoly. In the event that we need to brick another manufacturer in the short term, Obelisk has a chip desig…
Sia is forking today to reprimand the current ASIC monopoly for the damage it did to the Sia community, to make whole the supporters of Sia’s community ASIC project, and to send a clear message to all future Sia ASIC manufacturers: we will not tolerate an abusive ASIC monopoly.
…ions to cool, for level heads to prevail, and for a second community fork proposal to come forward. Unlike the first fork proposal by the community, this second proposal experienced widespread support and virtually no opposition at all from regular members of the community.
For the Sia network, an important line was crossed when secret ASIC projects superseded a public project that had substantial community investment. Though the Obelisk project got a few things wrong, largely Obelisk went about ASIC development and manufacturing in the right way. Obelisk was focused on adding value to Sia, to the Sia community, and to the cryptocurrency community as a whole, which is what we expect from a service provider.
Finally, a healthy mining system has failsafes. In the case of Sia, Obelisk built a tiny, secret extra circuit into the mining chip that would allow the Sia developers to perform a hard fork that breaks manufacturers without that extra circuit, but does not break the Obelisk machines. There is a nearly infinite number of ways to add such a circuit to a chip, and a flexible ASIC would not be able to cover all of those opportunities without paying a substantial performance and efficiency penalty. We encourage all manufacturers to add secret extra circuits that can act as failsafes.
… are also made available broadly. We like to see manufacturers with wide distribution channels, and we would like an ecosystem where anyone can enter the mining space competitively without needing pre-existing relationships with suppliers and manufacturers.