Ethereum News: First Ethereum Constantinople Hardfork, Now ProgPow Ethereum Mining Algorithm Change

On Friday, during a heated debate about the change in the Ethereum network mining consensus algorithm, Greg Colvin, a core developer, said that the team has finally agreed to the change. In his words:

“We’re going back to stuff we were tired of talking about months ago. We decided the only issue is whether there are errors in the algorithm [or] back doors in the algorithm.”

After the Ethereum Constantinople hard fork, the Ethereum core developers made another big change about Ethereum that they have changed the ProgPow Ethereum mining algorithm. The ProgPow Ethereum mining algorithm change is predicted to have a huge impact on the network.

The ProgPow, progressive proof-of-work consensus mechanism, is going to make ASIC mining devices less efficient and pave a way for GPU mining devices to thrive. It is going to level the playing field so to say. Ever since the development of both mining hardware, there has been a debate about which one is better for the Ethereum blockchain. One team claims that boosting the efficiency of GPU mining hardware will allow users to compete for mining rewards. Larger mining firms, however, insist that GPU miners should be removed from the network. Finally, the developers came to a conclusion. They decided to go ahead with the implementation of the ProgPow Ethereum mining algorithm change. Colvin continued:

“Nobody objected. Many agreed. Nobody blocked it. We had a consensus that we’re moving forward unless there were technical issues.”

The developers have agreed to implement the ProgPow Ethereum mining algorithm change. However, there are still some technical issues that the Ethereum core developers have been unable to fix. This is why they haven’t set a clear timeline for the implementation of ProgPow yet. Already, a third-party security auditing firm has been assigned to go through the ProgPow code. They have also agreed to assign some developers to oversee the audit and report on its findings.

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Another core developer, Hudson Jameson, said that things may not go according to the plan. In his words:

“We may not do the benchmarking [audit] at all, because that is the less important part of the two pieces of the audit.”

Another core Ethereum developer, Alexey Akhunov said:

“What is the goal [of ProgPoW]? What are the criteria of success? So far, I’ve not been able to extract this from people who are suggesting ProgPoW.”

As the debate regarding the best audit for ProgPoW continues, one thing is certain; it will be implemented. It may be included in the upcoming Istanbul or it may stand on its own. The timing isn’t set yet. Another core Ethereum developer concluded by saying that they would eventually pull it off. In Swende’s words:

“Any [Ethereum Improvement Proposal] that we accept for hard fork if it later turns out there’s something horribly wrong with it, yes, we’re going to pull it. It’s always going to be conditional acceptance.”

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Carolyn Coley is a blockchain reporter. She joined Smartereum after graduating from UC Berkeley in 2018.


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