ProgPow: Ethereum Developers Agree in Principle to Brick ASICs


Ethereum developers have reached a tentative agreement to proceed with a code which will restrict specialized rigs known as ASICs from the ethereum network. The agreement was made in the bi-weekly meeting of the ethereum open-source development community which held on Friday via a conference call.

Hudson Jameson, communications officer at Ethereum Foundation declared that the consensus on the decision was reached after contributions were made concerning the subject.

 “Sounds like we have come to agreement that we are tentatively going ahead with ProgPoW, which means we are going ahead unless there is a major problem found with the testing or things of that nature. We will be going forward with ProgPoW,” Jameson said.

ASICs—Application Specific Integrated Circuits—developed by Bitmain and other chip makers has a bad rap for dominating blockchain networks due its superior efficiency compared to the general purpose miners (GPUs).

The cryptocurrency community was abuzz with the news of a special ethereum ASIC miner Antminer E3 Ethash released by Bitmain in April last year. The mining giants described it as the “world’s most powerful and efficient EtHash ASIC miner” at the time. As Smartereum reported, the release rivalled established chip makers AMD and NVIDIA.

But Ethereum proponents prides themselves in its high level of decentralization and it was only a matter of time until the community agreed to oust ASICs. ASICs are seen as a threat to decentralization because they can be used to form mining pools than may dominate a blockchain network. When implemented, the proposal known as ProgProw would block these ASICs allowing only GPUs to participate the mining process to earn mining rewards.

Martin Holst Swende, security lead at the Ethereum Foundation was one of the major contributors in support of the proposed code during Frias developers call. A merit of the ProgProw, according to Swende is that it will help ensure the safety of the network until they do away with Proof of Work consensus algorithm altogether.

He explained:

“We know today that Ethhash has flaws which are currently being targeted. So, that’s why I would like to switch as soon as possible to give us time to move to proof-of-stake”

Planned Ethereum Upgrade Constantinople on Track

As Smartereum reported, the next planned hardfork of the ethereum network termed Constantinople is set to take place later this month after well-documented delays. The upgrade amongst other changes will set the tone for a transition from the current PoW algorithm to the proposed Proof of Stake. It will also reduce block rewards to 2 ETH from 3 ETH.

Though the ProgProw improvement proposal did not make it to the January 16 upgrade, the developers’ discussion indicate that it will be implemented before the next major planned hardfork as a standalone system-wide upgrade within the next two to four months.

It appears the timing for the ProgProw implementation will be discussed in two weeks’ time after Constantinople should have gone live on the network. “Let’s do some homework until the next core dev call and see how people can implement [ProgPoW] into their frameworks and maybe we can talk about timing in two weeks,” Swende beckoned.

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