Developers of Ethereum (ETH), the world’s largest platform for creating decentralized applications (dApps), have reportedly decided to move forward with their plans to implement programmatic proof-of-work (ProgPoW).
As described on its official Github page, ProgPoW is being developed to “close the efficiency gap available to specialized ASICs.” In order to allow all miners a (near) equal opportunity to mine ETH, ProgPoW is being designed in a manner that is “pre-tuned for the most common hardware utilized” on the Ethereum blockchain.
Owners Of Expensive Hardware Should Not Have An Advantage
As noted in the technical documentation related to ProgPoW, there have been many different variations of Bitcoin’s (BTC) proof-of-work (PoW) which have been developed and implemented on various crypto networks. Many of these PoW variants are designed to be “ASIC-resistant,” meaning that the owners of expensive and highly powerful computing hardware may not have a significant advantage over other miners who may be using less powerful hardware to validate transactions on the same blockchain network.
In a bi-weekly meeting conducted by some of Ethereum’s main developers (on March 15th), it was decided (by the majority) that ProgPoW should be activated as part of the Ethereum network’s consensus protocol.
Ethereum’s Community Had Also Decided Previously To Activate ProgPoW
During the meeting, the leading smart contract platform’s developers discussed whether ProgPoW would actually be effective at making ether mining more ASIC resistant. Greg Colvin, a developer and advisor for the Ethereum project, confirmed that the blockchain network’s community has had doubts regarding whether to integrate ProgPoW.
Colvin also revealed:
We’re going back to stuff we were tired of talking about months ago. We decided that the only issue is whether there were errors in the algorithm, backdoors in the algorithm, anything like that. […] Not arguments between the GPU people and the ASIC people. That will unroll over time.
Prominent Crypto Investor Argues ProgPoW Will Be Ineffective
In January 2019, Ethereum’s developers had reportedly reached consensus that they would implement ProgPoW on Ethereum’s mainnet. However, the exact date, or timeframe, for when ProgPoW would be activated has not yet been announced. In order to reduce the chances of potential vulnerabilities (or software glitches) when adding ProgPoW’s scripts to Ethereum’s codebase, the platform’s community had decided to have the new consensus algorithm audited by a third-party security company.
Notably, Ethereum’s investors have almost unanimously voted in favor of integrating ProgPoW on the world’s most dominant dApp development platform.
On March 11th, Dovey Wan, a founding partner at Primitive Ventures (a VC firm that has invested in Dfinity (“the world computer”), zcash (ZEC), and various other projects, had published a blog post in which she had argued that ProgPoW would be ineffective at (ultimately) achieving a greater level of decentralization on the Ethereum network. According to Wan’s post, several Ethereum developers had acknowledged that the ProgPoW algorithm might need to be modified further in order to function as intended.