OCEAN Mining has released an update to its pooling software allowing miners to individually choose between a range of different block templates to mine. Miners can choose between these three templates at the moment:
- The default OCEAN Knots template, which filters any logging transaction, as well as placing an additional 42-byte maximum OP_RETURN restriction on transactions with OP_RETURN.
- Bitcoin Core was patched with the Ordisrespector update, which resulted in the filtering of registry transactions.
- The default Bitcoin Core template that does not apply any additional transaction filters at all.
This new option is a stepping stone towards their ultimate goal of enabling Stratum v2 in order to allow any miner using the pool to build any block template they desire while mining with the pool. There is a catch however. For any miners using the default Knots template, or the Bitcoin Core + Ordisrepsector OCEAN patch, they will continue to honor the 0% promotional fee from launch. However, for any miners who choose to use the default Bitcoin Core block, a 2% pool fee will be attached to their contributions to the pool.
OCEAN's decision to implement transaction filtering was not a popular choice, as evidenced by the significant backlash following its belated announcement of this policy after the pool was officially launched. This new template selection option is a response to this backlash, but they are not turning around and abandoning their position that patterns and other transaction classes are harmful to the Bitcoin network. They apply a 2% fee to Core-generated templates to act as a disincentive for users to select that template, which in their view creates a negative impact on the network as a whole.
Ultimately, what comes of this is up to OCEAN users. The economically rational thing would be for everyone mining with OCEAN to choose the default die for Bitcoin Core, as this will be the die that produces the maximum revenue generated from block production. However, on the other hand, the 2% fee applied to this template and not the other templates should be taken into consideration. If the fee charged by OCEAN for using the basic templates is greater than the difference in profitability between the basic template and the other templates, then the answer to which one is more economically profitable is not cut and dry.
Ultimately, the miners themselves will be the ultimate decision-makers according to their economic and ideological incentives, which is what OCEAN ultimately set out to do: put decision-making back in the hands of the miners themselves.