The bitcoin community was rattled recently when it became known that GHash, a mining pool, had crossed the 51 percent mark, indicating that it was powering more than half of the computing heft that undergirds the cryptocurrency’s foundation.
At issue is the general consensus that any party that controls 51 percent or more of that computational power can do unkind things with bitcoin at will, like double spending, and denying the transactions of others.
GHash responded to a request for comment from TechCrunch by providing us with an advance copy of a forthcoming press release. The release indicates that the group understands market jitters, promises to never execute a 51 percent attack, and states that it hopes to convene a “round table” of bitcoin stakeholders to address concerns.
We do fully recognise the concerns and possible threat posed by an entity with malicious intent taking control of enough mining power to exploit the 51% scenario, but we also have conﬁdence and agree with the views expressed by the Bitcoin Foundation that any such exploitation or attack “would be obvious it was happening, and pretty easy to defend against.”
[W]e are in the process of arranging contact to the leading mining pools and Bitcoin Foundation to propose a “round table” meeting of the key players with the aim of discussing and negotiating collectively ways to address the decentralisation of mining as an industry. Our aim is to do this quickly with a possible date coinciding with the CoinSummit Conference in London.
The group, however, isn’t sorry for the situation, stating that it is being “punished for [its] success.” That’s true to an extent. If GHash were less popular, it wouldn’t have managed to accrete such market share to itself.
Bitcoin’s price was off sharply in recent days, slipping from around the $670 mark, to the $550 range. It has since recovered to nearly $600.