A new code was issued that would make the mining hardware designed by chipmaker Bitmain for the decentralized siacoin storage protocol obsolete.
Revealed in an email obtained from CoinDesk, Obelisk, a startup that aims to offer alternatives to mining protocol equipment, proposed the code would give those running the software the option of excluding Bitmain ASICs modifying the rules so that the machines are no longer compatible.
"This will give the community both the opportunity to fork and could invalidate all non-Obelisk ASIC miners on the forked chain," writes the company.
The news is notable as it shows how the cryptocurrency communities are responding to the expanding business interests of Bitmain, the China-based mining giant CoinDesk revealed last week is trying to increase one of the largest initial public offers (IPO).
As detailed in the documents for investors, part of the Bitmain field is the extensibility of its skills and acumen in the design of bitcoin hardware to other protocols, including siacoin. Established as a hardware manufacturer exclusively for bitcoins, Bitmain now supports alternative bitcoin cash cryptocurrencies, litecoin, dash and ether.
However, while siacoin, valued at $ 170 million, is the smallest addition to the company's portfolio, it is also proving one of the most problematic due to the fact that users are not enthusiastic about the idea that they would actually need to purchase Bitmain products, or equally powerful equivalents, in order to protect the protocol and compete for its rewards.
Also of note are the credentials of those opposition supporters who share this sentiment.
Led by the leading developer of siacoin David Vorick, Obelisk is a community-funded ASIC producer who was beaten on the market by Bitmain – an event that caused conflicts within the siacoin community. In fact, the Obelisk code was designed with the ability to remove competing ASICs from the network, however, it was not activated due to the fear that it could cause a blockchain division.
Having said that, with the broader spectrum of corporate interests on the horizon, the basic sentiment seems to be changing, at least according to Vorick.
"To date, all nebulas (the company that employs core developers of both) and Obelisk employees support a fork," concludes the email.  The code will be available in the "next weeks", according to the message. Furthermore, the mining hardware is "almost complete" and the company "expects [s] to start shipping units this week."
If bothcoin were to succeed, it would not be alone in its efforts to limit the expansion of Bitmain. One of the largest cryptocurrencies in the world, the privacy-oriented monero, has implemented the code to remove Bitmain ASICs at the start of this year.
For his part, Obelisk is trying to position itself as a more adaptable alternative to developers at Bitmain, as it could allow developers to improve the security of their blockchain without worrying about the motivations of hardware manufacturers.
As specified by CoinDesk, Obelisk intends to provide ASICs for a wider range of cryptocurrencies – to be secretly built and subsequently released for use by members of those cryptocurrency communities.
Read the full email below:
Dear Obelisk Customers,
Production is progressing, the firmware is almost complete and we expect to start shipping units this week . We now have approval from our team, board of directors and consultant to share our plan.
First, we will offset the Batch 1 customers with the expected data mining revenue. Since we have lost the estimated shipping date for lot 1, we will reimburse all Batch 1 customers for the mining revenue you would receive between 30 June and the day your order is shipped. To date, this is about $ 90 for each SC1 unit and $ 250 for each DCR1 unit. If we miss the estimated shipping dates for 2-5 lots, this policy will also apply.
We will send this compensation to customers sometimes after Batch 5 is shipped. The obelisk will calculate the expected mining revenue based on a hashro of 800 GH / s for SC1 and 1500 GH / s for DCR1. The compensation will be in USD, and will assume that you have traded your USD mines on a daily basis and that your electricity cost is $ 0.
In the coming weeks, we will put together a more complete guide to receive this compensation and publish our official calculations so that they can be reviewed by the community. Depending on the financial position of the Obelisk after the delivery of the Batch 5, it may take several months or more to compensate all customers.
Second, we will publish the alternative Blade2b SC1 algorithm in the coming weeks. This will give the community of Sia a chance to fork and could void all Noncoel Obelisk ASIC miners on the forked chain.
Sia Sia's developers are considering the FaustianAGI proposal from community members and will soon publish an official response. To date, all nebulas (the company that employs Sia's main developers) and Obelisk employees support a fork.
There are still many details to be consolidated, but we are committed to providing further information in the coming weeks. We are working tirelessly to deliver your orders and we will continue to update you with our progress.
– Team Obelisk
David Vorick image through the CoinDesk archives