Warring Bitcoin Cash factions—on one side, nChain’s Craig Wright, with his Bitcoin SV implementation, and on the other, Bitcoin ABC and Bitmain, with their own implementation—have begun mobilizing for full-scale conflict, or whatever the blockchain equivalent of trench warfare is.

Yesterday, Wright delivered a tweetstorm, urging miners in support of him to divert some of their hashing power to mine empty blocks on Bitcoin ABC’s chain, should the company emerge from this farce victorious.

Doing that, in theory, would disrupt transactions, rendering ABC’s fork more or less worthless. As he pointed out, there are no rules against this—this is the libertarian dream, after all—and it’s more just a dick move.

On the flip-side is mining giant Bitmain, which is reportedly convincing miners in coal-rich Xinxiang, in China, to buy all 90,000 of its new Bitcoin ABC-compatible Antminer S9 rigs. Bitmain is already the largest provider of ASICs in town. Deference to its mining client would all but shatter Mr. Wright’s precarious grasp on power.

Already, however, traders have basically rendered their verdict. An early simulation of trading on exchange Poloniex saw traders purchase Bitcoin SV tokens at $104 each, a mere 21 percent of the price of ABC’s tokens, which went for $505. (Trading volume on the SV test tokens stood, however, at $551; ABC’s volume barely scratched $200. Volume, however, does not necessarily a popular coin make.)

Regardless of what happens, one thing is certain. Nobody cares.

Daily Shrem-a-lem

Charlie Shrem—who, to reiterate, is being sued by Facebook inventors the Winklevii for allegedly stealing 5,000 bitcoins from them and blowing it on powerboats and Maseratis, and had $30 million of his assets frozen by a New York court—has had his assets unfrozen by the very same New York court. What a turnaround!

Though the benevolent judge gave the matter “careful consideration,” he hasn't yet been able to disclose the reason for lifting the freeze.

But let’s speculate.

  • Shrem said the judge could borrow one of his powerboats.
  • Shrem paid off the jury with the 5,000 bitcoins he (allegedly) stole.
  • Shrem looked sad, and the judge took pity on him.
  • Shrem found definitive proof the Winklevii didn’t invent Facebook, and they freaked.

Most likely? The judge found that the freeze was pointless—the exchange accounts frozen held roughly $4.85 of Shrem’s assets between them, and, moreover, it’s notoriously difficult for courts to freeze crypto-holdings.

Stay tuned for more on this case. It’s a thrilling spectacle: the immense state, with all its archaic, entrenched power, attempting to figure out how to make the blockchain do what it says. 

So far? Blockchain 1: The rule of law 0.

Cultural Differences

Remember IT at school? In China, it's a little different. 

Apparently, two principals at Puman Middle School in Hunan province were busted after they were discovered to have, not very surreptitiously, hidden nine computers in a dormitory to mine Ethereum, running up $2,163 in electricity.

The two were discovered when the school’s general manager grew suspicious to the abnormally high noise levels, noticeably slower IT network, doubly high electricity consumption, and the $2 million property in Florida the teachers had mysteriously acquired. (That last one’s a joke!)

Originally, the collaborators had stashed the machines in their home, but had been “dismayed” at the electricity costs. So, like any good teacher, they concluded the best option would be to fob that cost off onto their students.

At least, unlike with Mr. Wiggins at my high school, it was computers, not students, getting locked in that dormitory.

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