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Ethereum to Implement ProgPoW ASIC-Resistance? No, It is Misunderstood!

Previously reported that Ethereum is expected to implement the controversial EIP 1057, ProgPow, in July, changing its mining algorithm in favor of GPU mining.

However, according to A Jian, the editor in chief of Ethfans, the EIP-1057 protocol involving ProgPow was not without dispute at the Ethereum core developers conference held on February 21, 2020, that means not all the people at the conference agree. That is to say, the previous report which has been widely spread is a misunderstanding of the conference conclusion by the media.

“The so-called ProgPoW, an update for making Ether mining more ASIC resistant is the misunderstanding of the words of James Hancock, a strong supporter, who has discussed whether to release it synchronously with EIP-1962, which does not mean that the conference participants have agreed to discuss when to launch the ProgPoW.”

Said A Jian, whether and when ProgPow will be launched will not be known until at least the next core developer conference. In fact, even the EIP-1962 protocol is not without controversy as the developers of Geth and Parity think that the EIP is too large to be added at one time. Therefore, it is not accurate to say that Ethereum will achieve a complete Asic-resistance when it to fork in July.

The full name of ProgPow is ‘programmatic proof of work’, which has a long history and was proposed as early as April 2018. In short, it can be understood as the upgraded version of Ethash, Ethereum consensus algorithm, which is roughly modified to improve the mining efficiency of GPU.

Once Ethereum is upgraded to ProgPow and its ASIC miner appears, the mining efficiency of the miner will not be greatly improved compared with that of GPU. This further suppressed the development of Asic miner in Ethereum.

Around the issue of whether is worth upgraded to ProgPow, Ethereum community has experienced a discussion for about 2 years. The reason why there has been no final conclusion is that there are many differences behind it, including whether ProgPow is safe, whether Asic miner will be born with ProgPow, whether Asic will result in centralization of computing power, and whether Ethereum needs to resist Asic miners.

The issue of whether to upgrade to ProgPow or not involves many stakeholders, such as the development team, Dapp developers, miners, coin holders, miners, and even NVIDIA and other GPU chip manufacturers. Therefore, this is undoubtedly a gaming process of mass parties.

Ethereum was born in 2014, but it was not until April 2018 that Bitmain launched the Asic miner — Antminer E3. Up to now, Ethereum has only two kinds of Asic miner, in addition to Antminer E3, there are also Innosilicon A10, but the mining efficiency of these two kinds of miners is not high.

Ethereum’s algorithm is Ethash, which is a memory-hard work proof algorithm. It is difficult to design ASIC miner on this algorithm. Ethereum’s algorithm needs to write a file into video memory, so GPU with video memory particles has more advantages. ASIC miners can also stack video memory, but the cost is higher. In addition, if Ethereum wants to transfer to POS algorithm, ASIC miner makers will be cautious in designing Ethereum miner.

The problem of ProgPow algorithm does affect the attitude of some Chinese ASIC miner makers to engage in Ethereum miners, which makes the design of ASIC in a dilemma.

About ASIC-resistance, the Ethereum community may consider more about fair mining, and the computing power should not be in the hands of some institutions, but in fact, ASIC has greatly increased the computing power of bitcoin. Besides miner manufacturers won’t monopolize computing power, they have to sell miners as they cannot afford asset operation. In addition, if Ethereum continues to resist ASIC, it may give opportunities to other powerful emerging public chains.

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