Siacoin Takes 8.8% Hit as Devs Fight Over Bitmain-Less Hard Fork

Siacoin (SIA) sunk 8.8% over the course of August 21st as growing conflict escalated between the blockchain’s core developers concerning a possible upcoming hard fork. The Siacoin founder David Vorick represents one half of the Siacoin community which wants to hardfork the blockchain to exclude Bitmain miners.

If you value decentralization then you might consider that a noble goal, but the issue becomes muddied by the fact that Siacoin have still left the door open for their coin to be mined by one particular piece of mining kit – the one that Vorick’s company manufactures and sells.

The situation becomes even more fraught when you factor in the sum of $22 million raised by the company, Obelisk, which hasn’t produced the mining rigs it was supposed to.

Siacoin Price Plunges 8.8%

Amid this chaos Siacoin fluctuated throughout the day, losing 8.8% of its value at one point as the SIA coin price fell from the daily high of $0.005860 to the four-day low of $0.005341. That price hadn’t been since since August 17th, and between that date and now SIA has fluctuated by double-digit percentage figures. An eventual recovery was initiated which saw the price rise back up to the $0.0055 range at the time of writing (18:45 UTC).

Volumes are down 85% over the course of the month, although haven’t quite bottomed today at $2.3 million. Interestingly, the highest concentration of SIA’s trades have come against Chinese Yuan (CNY) today on the QBTC exchange. Interesting because Chinese investors could be the ones to take the worst hit if the proposed hardfork goes through.

Fork Bitmain

The hardfork would see Bitmain mining rigs rendered useless by an alteration of the Siacoin code. The only remaining equipment capable of mining Siacoin would be dedicated machines sold by Obelisk, Siacoin creator David Vorick’s own company.

When Obelisk missed the July deadline for the delivery of the mining rigs, chaos ensued. Claims made by Vorick that buyers would be refunded turned out to be somewhat less than true. Shortly afterwards the main developer for all of Siacoin’s online presence quit the firm, stating in a lengthy Reddit post that the company knew very well that they wouldn’t reach the proposed deadline.

As the pseudonymous RBZL stated in the Reddit post:

“Sorry, guys. I can’t do this anymore. I can’t support this project. The mismanagement and hypocrisy is overwhelming.”

What’s Next?

Vorick has already conceded that relevant legal action relating to the missing Siacoin miners would be enough to sink his Obelisk firm, with knock-on effects for Siacoin. As RBZL told Coindesk:

“I have no interest in seeing the sia project go under, but they’ve done a good job of setting themselves up for that possibility.”

Siacoin is ranked around the market cap top-forty, and sets itself up as a decentralized, distributed storage platform. But another of RBZL’s assertions may be more damning than the hardfork furore, stating one of his prime reasons for leaving as:

“The typical community member is largely not interested in the storage product, only the eventual price and some form of ROI.”

Greg Thomson is a freelance writer who contributes to leading cryptocurrency and blockchain publications like CCN, Hacked, and others.