The Ethereum (ETH) Core Developers had a meeting on the 4th of January that discussed several developments on the network such as the upcoming Constantinople and Istanbul hard forks. Another EIP (Ethereum Improvement Proposal) that was discussed, was one meant to update the current hashing algorithm to reduce the incentive to mine Ethereum using ASICs (Application Specific Integrated Circuits).
Known simply as ‘ProgPoW’, the proposal is for an alternate proof-of-work algorithm that closes the efficiency gap available to specialized ASICs when compared to GPUs. One of the core developers, Hudson Jameson, believes that ProgPoW will be implemented unless there are any major problems found when testing it on the testnet. The proposal presents an algorithm that is tuned for commodity GPUs and reduces the advantages specialized ASICs have in mining on the Ethereum network.
Chip Manufacturers Racing to Create Efficient ASICs to Mine Etheruem
Motivation for the EIP to reduce the competitive advantage ASICs have over GPUs comes after it was observed that chip manufacturers such as Bitmain and Canann Creative, are constantly refining their ASICs to mine ETH more efficiently. Those supporting ProgPoW believe that implementing it will slow down this race to create the most efficient ASIC as well ass providing more even distribution of blocks for miners using GPUs. The proposal will also increase security on the ETH network as it moves to a Proof of Stake algorithm.
ProgPoW contributor, Mr. Else, explained to The Block how the EIP plans on reducing this advantage.
ETHhash ASICs on market can be about 2x better… the ones on the market right now that use DDR4 are [marginally better].. the DDR6 base ETHhash set to launch will be ~2x better than any [chips] existing…but ProgPoW takes that 2x down to 1.1x – 1.2x.
No Exact Timeline
The January 4th meeting ended without a clear timeline set in implementing ProgPoW on the network. Also to note is that upgrading the network to ProgPoW is not backward compatible. It will require a fork adoption.
Siacoin’s (SC) Similar Fork to Lock out ASICs
This move by the Etheruem community is not unique. Siacoin (SC) hard forked on the 31st of October last year to block Bitmain’s ASIC miners. This was after Bitmain released an ASIC miner to compete with those manufactured by Siacoin’s parent company of Nebulous. The move by Bitmain blind sided Nebulous leading the SC Community to decide to lock out Bitmain’s ASICs from the network.
What are your thoughts on the Ethereum core developers proposing an upgrade to reduce the advantage held by ASIC miners? Please let us know in the comment section below.
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