The theory for everything that is happening is that Antpool is sabotaging the system…
Antpool isn’t confirming a lot of peoples transactions, causing transactions to take a long time to go through and costing people more in transaction fees.
Normally miners will confirm as many transactions as they can, because when they confirm one they earn the transaction fees from that transaction. Antpool has given up $100,000+ in transaction fees in the last 24 hours alone by not confirming as many transactions as they can.
Why would they do this? Many suspect it is the use of covert ASICBOOST, which is a mining shortcut that was confirmed to be implemented in hardware on Bitmain’s (AntPool’s) ASIC chips and gives them a huge advantage.
When confronted, Bitmain claimed not to use this functionality because it is bad for Bitcoin (their words). Because it is covert it is difficult to tell if it’s happening or not, but some side-effects of it include empty blocks or blocks with very few transactions, like what we are seeing now.
Even though Segwit2x was just released nothing about Bitcoin has actually changed, the underlying system is exactly the same. This is why the FUD around Segwit pissed me off so much, if you don’t like it don’t use it.
ASICBOOST isn’t possible on blocks that contain segwit transactions, however, miners do not have to include segwit transactions.
The activation of segwit does 2 things: it makes it much more obvious who is using ASICBOOST as those miners will never mine segwit transactions.
Segwit also allows for a lot more transactions, when use of it grows it is possible that the extra revenue miners make by using ASICBOOST will be less than the fee revenue they would get by mining segwit transactions so they would have to turn off ASICBOOST to make maximum profit.