Ideally, it should be quick, clear, and decisive. There’s talk of a long protracted hash-war, and I wanted to illustrate the circumstances in which such a thing can happen and what it would mean for the eco-system.
Dragging this out is in nobody’s interest. But the reality is that there indeed is a chance of this occurring. It may not be likely, but the possibility is there.
There are two ways I see this playing out.
The first scenario is straight forward. Both camps put all their resources up-front and forward, and we wait out to see the winning competing chain. The real trouble with this measure is that there is no definitive block count that settles a winner. But this scenario does make the assumption that whoever takes the lead early, will continue with this mining power and therefore maintain the lead.
The outcome would then look similar to the graph below:
The x axis is intentionally omitted here since the time-line on determinations is rather subjective. But suffice to say that the longer the period, the clearer the winning team of the longest chain becomes.
The possibility of the second scenario, complicates the first however. There have been rumours for example, stating that Bitmain may employ intermittent hash bursts, borrowed or rented from elsewhere (ie. A BTC pool) to ensure their chain stays ahead. I’m not here to comment on the validity of these rumours. They are at this stage, rumours, and until the hashwar is underway, we probably won’t know with certainty. But they do present a dilemma in calculating the victor.
The outcome would look something more like this:
Camp 1 in the above diagram employs an early mining effort with borrowed hash to get ahead and attempt to declare an early victory.