On 21st February, Ethereum released updates for the developer community. The Ethereum core devs were running the live announcement when they also spilled out that they are moving forward with Ethereum 2.0 ProgPoW.
ProgPow [Programatic Proof-of-Work] will bring an update for making Ether mining more ASIC resistant, it will add more cryptographic functions to Ethereum for which a hard fork will be scheduled sometime in July.
Ethereum’s consensus mechanism switch has been in talks amongst the developer community for a while. With Ethereum 2.0’s launch this year a lot was cooking as the core devs had to finalize the appropriate consensus mechanism for their future vision.
Meanwhile, the world was pretty sure PoS was the go-to approach it has been quite surprising to see the team move forward with ProgPoW.
To give some background on ProgPoW, it’s an alternative PoW architecture that increases decentralization by making it difficult for ASIC chip based miners to mine in favor of more affordable GPUs.
But why ProgPoW over PoS?
Proof-of-Stake has its pros over Proof-of-Work in terms of energy efficiency; mainly low computational power and less electricity consumption. Although concerns of security have grown as the community has started addressing issues with the PoS.
Under PoS, Profit centric, capitalists in the ASIC farms would progressively centralize the network to gain ownership of Ether for a close-knitted small group of parties, conceivably undermining the decentralization of Ethereum 2.0.
Whereas in ProgPow, the algorithm has been architectured to put bars on the efficiency of ASICs mining; ETH not more than 20% of the efficiency of the GPU can be mined. Making it profitable for small miners to scale and large rigs to limit their authority.
What does this mean?
Small miners or individual miners need not worry. If anything at all the update helps them leverage their current resources to get better mining opportunities. When it comes to mining giants such as Bitmain, Genesis, Canaan and more, their chances of exploiting the network vulnerability have decreased significantly. Opening doors for better security and decentralization.
Devs recognize that ProgPoW hardfork would be “contentious” due to its unconventional approach. Speculators have even raised their concerns regarding exchanges being in the position to run two Ethereum versions to create a chain split and new hardfork of Ethereum in order to increase their fee profitability on the platform. Although Ethereum core devs believe that’s highly unlikely.
Additionally, along with the update the core devs released details, such as:
- Prysm Testnet is now working with 41, 686 validators and more than 300,000 system slots.
- Anticipated public release of the next version of the massive Lighthouse testnet will happen soon.
- Concepts derived from the ideas of Ethereum’s ‘operating system’ by Vitalik Buterin.
- “Execution environments” intended to pass balances across shards in sharding.
- Beacon Chain will highly likely occur by mid-2020