BitFury logo.

BitFury logo.

Industrial bitcoin mining company BitFury announced today that it has moved 1.5 petahash from the GHash.io pool following widespread concerns of hashrate centralization and growing fears about the potential of a 51% attack. The company maintains two high-powered mining facilities in Iceland and Finland, taking advantage of those countries extremely low energy costs. Should the move not prove sufficient to bring GHash’s share of the hashing power down, BitFury says it will move additional petahashes away from the pool.

The move has been successful, with GHash now accounting for 39% of the total hashrate.

Speaking with CoinDesk, BitFury representative Marc Aafjes, said that public concern prompted the move.

“The high level of combined hash power in the Ghash pool is concerning to many participants in the system. As a leader and trusted partner in the bitcoin system, BitFury has decided to transfer some of its hashing power away from Ghash to help reduce these concerns. … We will continue to monitor this situation and if the pool comes too close again to 51% we will move more of our capacity.”

GHash and BitFury are very closely connected, with dedicated BitFury hardware making up around half of the pool’s hashrate. As such, the total mining power under GHash control hasn’t changed at all. It has been suggested by Bitcoin Foundation Chief Scientist Gavin Andresen that GHash may actually control around 60% of the total bitcoin network hashing power.

The move to point their hardware at other pools could be seen as an attempt by GHash/BitFury to prevent miner flight from the pool, as well as to avoid a panic sell off should the market react badly. Bitcoin prices have fallen significantly in the last few days, although it’s not clear that the hashrate situation is to blame.