Ethereum is currently underway for its next upgrade, Istanbul, which is scheduled for the next coming months. The Testnet dates of the upgrade were recently announced by the developers, with the first Testnet scheduled for October 2nd on Ropsten and the last in December on Kovan. While Istanbul Gorli Testnet is set to occur on October 30 and Rinkeby for November.
Amid this, the community has been engulfed in the debate of whether to implement ProgPoW or not in the next hard fork, Berlin, which is scheduled for early 2020. The implementation of this protocol was one of the topics of discussions in the 71st Ethereum Core Devs meeting, with the team discussing the recent audit reports and the concerns surrounding ProgPoW.
ProgPoW aka Programmatic Proof-of-Work, a protocol proposed by IfDefElse, would be a GPU-extension of the current Ethash, the PoW algorithm of Ethereum. The protocol essentially aims to reduce the control of ASIC mining on the network by making graphic card mining more competitive.
This protocol was initially set to be implemented in the Istanbul hard fork but was pushed forth for the next one due to the delay in the audit. The software part of the audit was assigned to Least Authority, while the hardware part of the audit was assigned to Bob Roa, a semiconductor technologist. The final audit report for both software and hardware was released earlier this year.
One of the suggestions made in the software audit was “Scrutinize the custom Keccak Function”. This was brought up during the meeting by Danno Ferrin, Blockchain Protocol Engineer at Pegasys. Ferrin stated that he had raised concerns pertaining to this on a social media platform, which was addressed by IfDefElse on Gitter.