Bitcoin Core contributor, Peter Todd, announced that a hard-fork had been proposed to negate attempts to patent the ASICBoost method.
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According to a message sent out by Peter, this proposed idea sprang from an agreement made at a Bitcoin-oriented round-table in February. The round-table was attended by a slew of representatives from the Bitcoin development and industry, and focused on a variety of different subjects.
The intent of this fork is to make ASIC boost optimisation useless, and ideally the change would be SPV compatible. However, according to Peter, if a change to SPV clients were needed, then that would also be acceptable. In addition, the change would also be compatible with existing mining hardware.
ASICBoost is a patent-pending method that will lower the total cost per bitcoin mined to approximately 20%. The patent has been a point of controversy because many in the Bitcoin community do not generally agree with patents. It is held that patents simply act to restrict competition on advancing a certain good by giving a legal monopoly on the provision of that good.
Patents thus slow down innovative processes, and would be especially detrimental to hardware and software industries. Software and hardware are always in state of change and the current life cycle of patents are simply unable to accommodate this change.
Additionally, some other points of agreement at the roundtable were the progression of SegWit as soft-fork and possible ways of improving it, running only Bitcoin Core-compatible consensus systems eventually containing both SegWit and the hard-fork, and committing to scaling technologies which use block space more efficiently.
The Hong Kong agreement was also signed by many leading figures in the Bitcoin community, including: Peter Todd, Valery Vavilov, Cory Fields, Johnson Lau, Luke Dashjr, and Matt Corallo among others.
What do you think of the proposed hard-fork, do you feel it will stifle innovation in Bitcoin? Let us know in the comments Below!
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Trevor is a writer at Bitcoinist. He is currently attending his first year at the University of Wisconsin-Fox Valley, with a selected major in Economics. Subscribes to the Austrian school of economics.
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