- Ethereum Core has gained consensus on the implementation of the ProgPoW update.
- There has been noticeable controversy in the Ethereum community behind core developers and ether miners at the proposal of ProgPoW.
- Ethereum Hardfork Co-ordinator, James Hancock opposing ProgPoW, stating that out of all EIPs in the queue, this one is the most “ready to go.”
Ethereum Core has gained consensus on the implementation of the ProgPoW update to make the network more resilient to the use of application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs) for mining. At the same time, Proof-of-Work (PoW) is still the validation mechanism. The hard fork to Ethereum is scheduled for July 2020, almost three weeks after the Ethereum Improvement Protocol (EIP)-1962, which adds cryptographic functions to the network.
There has been noticeable controversy in the Ethereum community behind core developers and ether miners at the proposal of ProgPoW. There is a good chance of splitting the Ethereum chain due to the lack of agreement from miners, whom this update will affect the most due to lost revenue from more difficult mining.
Ethereum miners primarily use ASICs to mine Ethereum, and this update will decrease the efficiency of ASICs, making mining more difficult and decreasing rewards. There is also the chances that exchanges might run both chains of Ethereum. Before the hard fork and after, to increase their profits resulting in a split in the community.
Ethereum Core Developer objecting ProgPoW
Ethereum Hardfork Co-ordinator, James Hancock, has a somewhat opposing view on ProgPoW, stating that out of all EIPs in the queue, this one is the most “ready to go.” He believes that there very little likeliness of Ethereum forking under ProgPoW, and as much as there is controversy surrounding the update, the community will surely not be interesting in forking the chain. Hancock is so sure that this update will go smoothly as he even puts his job on the line, stating he will resign his position as hard fork co-ordinator in the situation of a fork to the chain.
Although Ethereum is set to transition into a Proof-of-Stake (PoS) consensus eventually with Ethereum 2.0, the difficulty of mining Ethereum is only set to slowly increase to the point where mining becomes technically infeasible, but possible nonetheless until the very last day of the transition. This update increases that difficulty dramatically all of a sudden, making a huge dent in the incomes that miners earn from validating transactions on the Ethereum network.
Ethereum Mining ASIC resistance
ASIC resistance was one of the core goals when Ethereum came about as the developers wanted to make the cryptocurrency more accessible to be mined on everyday hardware, rather than having the hardware more expensive and hard-to-acquire for a general node on the network. This would result in more impartial decentralization and better community involvement for the protocol. But this changed soon as ASIC companies began working around Ethereum’s ASIC resistance and actually building more and more efficient ASICs to mine the cryptocurrency.
At the time, Ethereum’s developers had too much on their plates to build more ASIC resistance to desist companies from making ASICs for Ether mining. Now that the transition to PoS is getting closer to Ethereum 2.0, it becomes more and more necessary to have increase mining intensity on Ethereum to promote the transition to the new consensus mechanism.
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