The dominance of a single mining pool in the Zcash crypto hashrate

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Very alarming news for the Zcash crypto community: apparently the Viabtc mining pool controls 53.69% of the total Zcash hashrate. 

Viabtc controls 53.69% of Zcash’s total hashrate: crypto alarm

In the ever-changing cryptocurrency landscape, the Zcash network has recently found itself in the spotlight due to a worrisome development. 

As of 19 September 2023, the Viabtc mining pool came to control as much as 53.69% of the total Zcash hashrate, raising alarm in the cryptocurrency community. 

The article delves into the implications of this domination, the responses of industry players and the solution proposed by Electric Coin Co. highlighting the critical issue of “lack of purpose” in the world of blockchain proof-of-work.

Viabtc’s alarming dominance in the Zcash hashrate cannot be underestimated. At 4.2 giga solutions per second (GSol/s) out of a total hashrate of 7.84 GSol/s, Viabtc’s control of more than 53% poses a significant threat to decentralization and network security. 

This development has sent shockwaves through the cryptocurrency community, prompting discussions and responses from key players.

PSA on Coinbase security

Coinbase, a major cryptocurrency exchange, wasted no time in addressing this critical issue. 

In its “Security PSA,” it shed light on the risks associated with the concentrated distribution of mining pools in Zcash. To safeguard its customers’ assets, Coinbase took immediate measures, including moving the Zcash markets to a “limits-only state” and increasing the confirmation requirement to 110 blocks. 

This move aimed to reduce the risk of duplicate charges or fraudulent transactions, albeit at the expense of deposit time, which increased from about 40 minutes to about 2.5 hours.

Electric Coin Co. (ECC), the entity that oversees the code base of the Zcash project, acknowledged the seriousness of the situation and engaged with Coinbase, Viabtc, the Zcash security manager, and Zcash Community Grants. 

They emphasized the decentralized nature of Zcash, pointing out that it has no “main developer,” “issuer,” or monitoring organization. However, ECC identified the main cause of the problem: “lack of purpose.”

ECC’s explanation of the problem is in line with the broader challenges facing blockchain proof-of-work. The concept of “finality” refers to the irreversible confirmation of a transaction, ensuring its immutability in the blockchain. 

In the absence of finality, the network becomes vulnerable to potential attacks, including double spending.

ECC’s proposed solution: trailing finality layer (TFL)

In response to the lack of finality, Electric Coin Co. has proposed a solution known as the Trailing Finality Layer (TFL). 

This innovative approach aims to introduce finality into the Zcash network, mitigating the risks associated with a dominant mining pool. The TFL proposal is a significant step toward improving the security and decentralization of Zcash.

In addition, the ECC expressed its commitment to exploring a transition to proof-of-stake (PoS), ranking it as one of its “top four priorities.” 

By adopting a hybrid PoW-PoS approach, the Zcash network could achieve the ultimate goal more quickly than a full transition to PoS. ECC’s next step involves building a prototype TFL to evaluate its performance and feasibility.

The importance of the crypto community’s contribution in addressing the Zcash hashrate problem

In addressing the lack of finality and potential changes in consensus mechanisms, it is critical to emphasize the importance of community involvement. Zcash, like many cryptocurrencies, is based on decentralized and open-source ethics. 

As the ECC explores solutions and industry players respond, community input and consensus are critical.

Community members and stakeholders must actively participate in discussions about the future of Zcash. 

Decisions regarding network upgrades, consensus changes, and implementation of solutions such as TFL or moving to PoS must be made collectively, reflecting the diverse perspectives and interests within the Zcash ecosystem.

Future challenges and opportunities

The challenge posed by Viabtc’s dominance highlights the evolving nature of the cryptocurrency landscape. 

While it poses immediate concerns, it also opens the door to innovation and adaptation. Zcash’s journey toward resolving its lack of finality and improving its security is a testament to the resilience and creativity of the cryptocurrency community.

As Electric Coin Co. continues to work on the TFL prototype and explore the possibilities of PoS, there will undoubtedly be technical hurdles to overcome. Testing and refining these solutions will require collaborative efforts and rigorous analysis.

In addition, the entire cryptocurrency industry can learn valuable lessons from Zcash’s experience. The need for robust, decentralized networks is a common thread in all blockchain projects. 

The solutions developed for Zcash can inspire similar innovations in other cryptocurrencies, further advancing the industry as a whole.

Conclusion

Viabtc’s dominance in the Zcash hashrate underscored a critical problem in the cryptocurrency world: lack of purpose. 

Coinbase’s proactive response and Electric Coin Co’s proposed solution, the Trailing Finality Layer (TFL), demonstrate the industry’s commitment to addressing this challenge.

As discussions continue about the status of the Zcash network hashrate and the distribution of the mining pool, it is clear that the cryptocurrency community is keenly aware of the importance of maintaining decentralization and security. 

The coming months are likely to see further developments and innovations aimed at ensuring the robustness and longevity of the Zcash network in the face of such challenges.