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AntPool mines 7 consecutive blocks, ‘centralization trend’ continues

AntPool, the second-largest Bitcoin (BTC) mining pool, mined seven consecutive blocks on May 17, sparking worries within the cryptocurrency community about network security.

This series of blocks confirmed 20,686 transactions, resulting in over 23 BTC, valued at approximately $1.54 million in revenue.

The mining spree occurred between block heights 843,898 and 843,904, lasting one hour and 38 minutes.

Large mining pools #AntPool and Foundry #USA now control over 50% of Bitcoin’s hash rate, raising concerns about potential #centralization and 51% attacks.

This centralization trend, driven by economies of scale, allows these pools to censor transactions, as seen with #F2Pool’s… pic.twitter.com/xHQj4TzlcX

— TOBTC (@_TOBTC) May 17, 2024

Data sourced from mempool.space reveals that AntPool accrued 1.283 BTC in fees in addition to 21.875 BTC from the block subsidy.

What adds intrigue to this development is the involvement of Foundry USA, the largest Bitcoin mining pool, which mined the block preceding this sequence and the following two blocks.

AntPool has mined 25.48% of all blocks in the last seven days, trailing behind Foundry USA, which holds 31.12% of the network’s hashrate.

Together, both companies maintain a 56.6% mining dominance. In October 2023, Antpool briefly challenged Foundry’s leadership for three days.

This event underscores the inherent risks linked with centralized mining pools, notably the susceptibility to attacks such as double-spending and transaction censorship.

Observers noted that AntPool and Foundry now control over 50% of Bitcoin’s hash rate, raising concerns about potential centralization and transaction censorship.

“Such power concentration poses an existential threat to Bitcoin’s decentralized nature and its foundational principle of trustlessness,” TOBTC Trading LLC posted on social media.

How many blocks in a row until you do something about it Anon? pic.twitter.com/H8FAZ1Stp9

— Public Pool (@Public_Pool_BTC) May 17, 2024

You might also like: Biden’s budget revives 30% tax on crypto mining to broaden digital asset tax base

AntPool was founded in 2013 by Bitmain Technologies, a prominent manufacturer of mining hardware.

It’s based in Beijing.

National security concerns over crypto mining

The U.S. government has instructed a Chinese-backed cryptocurrency mining company to halt the construction of a mine in Wyoming.

According to a May 13 order signed by President Joe Biden, MineOne Cloud Computing Investment and its partners are mandated to sell off the property adjacent to the Francis E. Warren Air Force Base in Cheyenne, Wyoming.

MineOne Partners Ltd. is a Chinese-backed cryptocurrency mining company that planned to acquire land near the Francis E. Warren Air Force Base in Cheyenne, Wyoming

The order, issued in collaboration with the U.S. Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), aims to address concerns surrounding potential risks associated with foreign ownership of land adjacent to sensitive military installations, particularly in proximity to a nuclear missile base like Warren AFB.

The executive order mandates the divestment of MineOne’s crypto mining facility and the removal of Chinese-owned equipment from the site within specific timelines to ensure compliance and mitigate risks.

In other reports, regulators in Norway have proposed new legislation aimed at tightening regulations on cryptocurrency mining activities conducted by data centers operating within the country.

The new law, aimed at regulating data centers, is poised to become a pioneering framework in Europe, requiring comprehensive registration of data center operators and disclosure of services offered.

The Norwegian government, led by Digitalization Minister Karianne Tung and Energy Minister Terje Aasland, emphasizes the need to curb projects deemed undesirable, particularly singling out cryptocurrency mining due to its substantial greenhouse gas emissions.

Energy Minister Terje Aasland explicitly stated that Norway does not welcome businesses seeking to exploit the country’s energy resources cheaply, aligning with the nation’s environmental goals.

Read more: US Senators cite security concerns over Iran’s crypto mining sector

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