Ethereum (ETH) Developers Give Tentative Go Ahead To ASIC-Blocking Code

By January 6, 2019 Ethereum
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Members of the open source development community of Ethereum have tentatively agreed to implement a new algorithm, which would block ASICs or block specialized mining hardware pending further testing on a proposed code.

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Features of the code change

The code change is dubbed “ProgPoW,” and if it is accepted by the users that run the ETH software, it will block ASICs like those made by top mining firms such as Bitmain. The new software in its place would allow GPU or general-purpose hardware which is normally phased out by the ASICs to compete on the platform for rewards.

ASICs were first developed for Ethereum in April last year. According to the Bitmain press release, the Ethereum ASIC mines less than the conventional GPU miners at 180 million hashes per second. Still, some Ethereum users believe the numbers are flawed and wrote on Github that the number could have been fabricated.

Security lead, Holst Swende, spoke in the developer call today and said he prefers the switch because it will help ensure the safety of the digital currency’s eventual transition to proof of stake system. This system allows users to mine the cryptocurrency by setting aside the coins they hold rather than burning electricity.

Swende said,

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.”

Hudson Jameson, Ethereum foundation communications officer, concluded the conversation by categorizing consensus as having being achieved on this proposal.

Jameson said:

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.”

This implies that unless the developers experience unexpected issues with the update, ProgPow would be released as a standalone system-wide upgrade or hard fork in about two to four months. No other software changes will be a part of this upgrade aside from ProgPow.

Constantinople’s Upgrade is on the way

This news comes at a time when the fifth major update of the platform, Constantinople is nearing activation. The Parity release manager, Afri Schoedon, spoke on the call and said that according to the current block time, the upgrade is due for activation ten minutes after “12: oo UTC on Wednesday, [Jan.] 16th.”

The Constantinople upgrade was originally planned for November. It brings so many design changes which are aimed at streamlining the code of the platform. It seeks to delay the difficulty bomb. This is a code fix built to prompt subsequent upgrades for eighteen months while reducing ether mining reward from 3 to 2 ETH per block.

A further hard fork known as Istanbul is also planned for October by developers. This is coming after nine months. It was proposed by Afri Schoedon and would be a part of the periodic upgrade cycle that is planned to maintain the update’s regularity.

Also, the timing for ProgPow is still unclear, and it will deviate from the regular upgrade cycle. Swende continued,

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.”

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