In the recent times, Antpool has been criticized of mining several empty blocks which have simply been dismissed as just a way to increase their mining efficiency but now it seems that it can cause a lot of problems to bitcoin original chain after the hard fork.
Why miners don’t mine empty blocks?
When a bitcoin miner mines a block, he gets 12.5 btc per block just for finding the block without validating any transactions. Each block added to the network secures the chain further. A miner can choose to include transactions in each block without any additional effort. These transactions allow them to redeem the fees attached with these transactions. Currently, on average, each block consists of around 1-2 btc of fees per block. Since there is no reason for miners to leave this additional income, they include transactions with every block.
Why miners will mine empty blocks?
After the bitcoin chain splits in two, as per the NYA agreement, miners have chosen to support the Segwit2x chain. As we can see from the bitfinex futures market, the price of original chain coins will be much higher after the chain split. This will force the miners to keep mining on the original chain but there is now an added incentive for the miners not to include the transaction in the blocks which is to destroy the original chain and force everyone to segwit2x chain which they support. Now that the number of unconfirmed transactions will keep piling up on the bitcoin original chain, this will force the people to move to the segwit2x chain or to abandon bitcoin completely. This was also addressed on the segwit2x mailing list but there was no further discussion about it.
The whole bitcoin ecosystem has turned into a complete mess. While we do support the increase of block size, we strongly condemn this takeover of the Bitcoin economy by a bunch of businesses supported by big bitcoin companies which resembles completely to the takeover of US economy by a bunch of big banks which was supported by the US government in 1913.