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What Bitcoin Did


Nov 21, 2021

Location: London
Date: Friday 19th November
Project: Compass Mining
Role: Founder & CEO

Proof of Work is the bedrock of Bitcoin. It provides the network security but is not immune to attack. One attack vector is a collusion of miners who gain a significant amount of the hashrate could theoretically block transactions and reorganise the blockchain. This is known as a 51% attack.

While this is known as a 51% attack, it would likely require significantly more than 51% of hashpower to pull off this attack. However, in 2014 GHash.io were able to attain 55% of the hashrate, but fortunately, they were willing to assist the community in overcoming this potential weakness. 

For a number of years, China housed a large amount of the hashpower, but their seemingly reckless geopolitical decision to willingly allow for ‘the great mining migration’ to occur earlier this year, saved the community from another dangerous consolidation of mining power.

Compass Mining recognised this fragility, but also a business opportunity in being able to become a recognised and trusted facilitator of retail mining, with the mission to “support the decentralised growth of hashrate and strengthen network security by helping more people, learn, explore and mine bitcoin.” To that end, they provide and support retail access to mining infrastructure while hardware ownership remains in the hands of individuals. 

In this interview, I talk to the Founder and CEO of Compass Mining, Whit Gibbs, about their rapid success, the associated growing pains they’re overcoming, and the technical details of connecting retail mining with physical hardware and power markets.