An effort to keep the $200 million siacoin blockchain free from corporate interests is devolving into chaos amid accusations against the companies at the center of the effort. At issue is the conduct of the protocol’s coders, and the motivations behind their push to alter the rules of the blockchain they maintain. With a proposal, introduced last week, developers including siacoin creator David Vorick have floated changes that would keep some mining equipment operators from earning value by securing the distributed storage protocol.
Simply put, the code would fork siacoin so that products offered by Bitmain, the China-based firm on the verge of an initial public offering, and its competitor Innosilicon, would be disabled.
But while such efforts have been met with enthusiasm on other blockchains, satisfying concerns about how such changes could impact the balance of power on their networks, there’s just one problem – in the case of siacoin, the equipment that would still work is being sold by a company operated by siacoin’s developers.
Indeed, the mining company in question, Obelisk, was founded by Vorick in 2017. In June this year, Vorick later announced a service named named “Launchpad,” through which Obelisk would create mining equipment for a wider range of blockchains.
But while this was praised as a novel model for blockchain management, it did little to change the competitive environment for the company. Obelisk’s SC1 miner had already been beaten to market by a competing offering from Bitmain in January. The stage set for competition by June, the mood in the community was tense, if optimistic, that is until Obelisk missed a July deadline.
Having amassed $22 million from siacoin users for the production of mining machines, the situation has now degraded into a tangle of legal threats and proposals to fork the blockchain. The situation is so fraught, even Vorick said he doesn’t quite know “how things will play out.”