Bitcoin pool GHash.io announced on Wednesday that “it is not aiming to overcome 39.99 [percent] of the overall Bitcoin hashrate."
This marks a clear departure from the large pool’s recent flirtations with 51 percent. If that threshold is crossed for sustained periods of time, it concentrates power in ways that Bitcoin’s decentralized design normally does not allow.
For the first time in Bitcoin's five-year history, a single entity has repeatedly provided more than half of the total computational power required to mine new digital coins, in some cases for sustained periods of time. It's an event that, if it persists, signals the end of the crypto currency's decentralized structure.
A curious and probably accidental artefact has popped up in the Bitcoin blockchain, with a user reporting that it's identified as containing a virus by Microsoft's Security Essentials.
The reason El Reg is inclined to think it's accidental: in this discussion on a Microsoft discussion board, user edc678 says MSE is identifying the signature of the STONED virus in the blockchain.
Since STONED is a 27-year-old relic from the DOS days – all it did was pop up a boot message telling users “Your PC is now STONED”. It's believed to hail from New Zealand in 1987.
HashFast, an embattled Bitcoin mining startup, announced on Thursday that it has fired half of its employees as a way to save money.