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Chinese Miners Split on Alternatives as Ethereum’s PoS Merge Approaches

With Ethereum’s Merge to Proof-of-Stake (PoS) drawing nearer – projections put it between September and November – miners are starting to look for an alternative.

While some reports say there is nearly $5 billion worth of graphics card mining machines and ASIC Ethereum mining machines that would have to be repurposed once Ethereum switches to POS, where they will all end up is now being discussed.

China’s ASIC technology edge over others and ASIC-friendly mining algorithm somewhat relying on Chinese technology have reportedly been advantageous to ASIC manufacturers and Chinese miners in terms of making profits and owning many of these machines respectively. This basis supports talks of miners returning to Ethereum’s original chain which is maintained as Ethereum Classic (ETC). Ethereum’s Vitalik Buterin’s recent statement that those who like proof-of-work (PoW) could use ETC as a fine chain might be another factor.

Top global crypto mining equipment manufacturer, Bitmain, has been showing support for ETC. Its mining pool, AntPool, recently supported the ETC ecosystem with a $10 million investment for the development and exploration of applications of the ETC mainnet and to promote the overall performance of the network.
They plan to continue investing more, Antpool’s CEO, Lv Lei, said at Bitmain’s World Digital Mining Summit last week.

Another indication of throwing its weight behind the Ethereum-offshoot as an alternative that will continue to mine using PoW is Bitmain also announcing at the Summit that it will be accepting payments in ETC for all of its Antminer models.

Aside from Bitmain, another mining machine manufacturer Innosilicon said it has released ETC firmware for A10pro 500M and A10pro 720M, which can be used for ETC mining while the firmware for the A11 is currently under development.

The ETC buzz has been gaining momentum though. Between July 28 and 29, Coinwarz historical chart for ETC shows that its hashrate spiked to over 27 TH/s – a 56% increase to the start of the month – while some reports claim the number of active ETC addresses has increased as well as the number of daily transactions.

On the other hand is the option of a fork of the PoW Ethereum being peddled by proponents like Chandler Guo who has been identified with the initial split of the Ethereum network. Guo said he forked Ethereum once, and he’ll do it again and later tweeted that the ETHPOW is coming soon.

While yet to be realized, Guo’s pitched fork has been getting some support. Justin Sun’s Poloniex exchange has announced it will support the ETH POW fork (ETHW) proposed by Guo and Chinese miners in September. Sun says they plan to donate ETHW to build the ecosystem – if the fork succeeds – from their more than 1 million ETH.

“As the world’s first exchange supporting Ethereum and Ethereum Classic, Poloniex will give full support to ETH’s upgrade and its potential hard fork,” the exchange said in a statement. “If successful, the Merge could create two parallel blockchains after the upgrade. All Ethereum (ETH) holders on Poloniex will receive the forked assets at a 1:1 ratio when the upgrade is completed.”

The platform adds that it will list the two “potential forked” ETH tokens – ETHS for the new PoS chain and ETHW for the PoW chain – and the associated markets to mitigate the risks from market volatility during the hard fork and safeguard users. If ETH 2.0 upgrade is completed without a fork (Ethereum only switches from PoW to PoS), the ETH symbol will be retained and ETHS, ETHW, and their associated markets will be suspended and delisted.

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