Will Ethereum (ETH) Adopt ProgPoW Mining Algorithm?

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After Ethereum (ETH) developers showed support for ProgPoW in January this year, the Ethereum (ETH) community raised concerns that the highly anticipated upgrade may also cause the same problem it was actually intended to tackle. Now ProgPoW’s future is been questioned.

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The ProgPoW (Programmatic Proof of Work) upgrade would extend the already existing Ethereum (ETH) PoW (Proof of Work) model, slightly changing the structure of problems that mining nodes have been tasked with solving. The odds of GPU over ASIC is set to improve after the change.

Ethereum’s (ETH) Pledge of ASIC Resistance

ASIC is the acronym for “application specific integrated circuit.” Based on the context of Ethereum (ETH), it is a highly specialized computer which is designed to be produced massively for the purpose of mining Ethereum (ETH). However, this issue has already existed long before Ethereum (ETH). The original Ethereum (ETH) white paper drew attention to the proliferation of the ASICs in the mining of Bitcoin (BTC).

ASICs built for Ethereum (ETH) have a two to the four-fold upside over GPU miners. Multiple Ethereum (ETH) ASICs entered the market in 2018 with the Antminer E3 from Bitmain the mining hardware giant at the top end of the performance carriage. The ProgPoW update is specifically engineered to slightly alter the issue that miners are told to solve in such a way that will allow for the reduction or elimination of the advantage the ASICs have over the GPU miners.

Why the Ethereum (ETH) Community Prefers GPU Mining

The Ethereum (ETH) community is in general agreement with the ASIC resistance, believing that the GPU mining results in a more distributed network. The more distributed the network becomes, the better it performs. While the massive manufacturing of ASIC miners offers a cost-saving benefit per hash, these miners are typically purchased in large quantities to complete mass-scale mining operations which consolidate the ownership of the network. Additionally, centralizing the network, the homogeneity from running the same mining hardware in scale puts the network at risk.


Alternatively, the GPU miners are typically custom-built entirely from the personal computing hardware available in the consumer market. The machines utilize computer chip architecture that is common in animation rendering and deep learning which combines a variety of 3D video cards with top-end GPU chipsets inside one machine.

ProgPoW is Progressing Without Clarity

Despite the fact that testing has commenced, it is too soon to determine when, how, or if ProgPoW will actually be released. ProgPoW patch continues to move forward as planned. As demonstrated by the recent Ethereum (ETH) ‘hard fork delay, it is safe to say that development schedules are subject to change at any time.

The Ethereum Core Developers February meeting explored concerns over test coverage and specification readability. Some of the Ethereum developers felt it was time make a decision regarding implementation.

Meanwhile, other developers insinuate that the decision to upgrade might rest with the community. The team put plenty of emphasis on doing what is right for the mining community. Without the complete details of how the patch will move forward, the team decided to arrange a third-party audit to confirm the fairness of the ProgPoW algorithm while development continues as planned.

Brian Lubin is a Crypto News Reporter for Smartereum. He's well-known for his reports on the crypto markets.


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