Ahead of Ethereum Constantinople Update, Community Eyes ProgPoW

Ahead of Ethereum Constantinople Update, Community Eyes ProgPoW

In the 52nd Ethereum Core developer meeting, the blockchain’s builders agreed to begin tests on shifting Ethereum’s proof-of-work algorithm from Ethash to ProgPoW, an ASIC-resistant algorithm. That development comes just days ahead of  Ethereum’s long-awaited Constantinople update, set for January 16th.  

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Ethereum Looks to ProgPoW to Level the Playing Field for GPU Miners Until PoS Arrives

In a Jan. 4th “All Core Devs” call, Ethereum developers decided to “[go] forward with ProgPoW” if tests of the algorithm shift prove successful.

ProgPoW, or programmatic proof-of-work, is an ASIC-resistant PoW algorithm based on Ethereum’s current Ethash algorithm. As such, ProgPoW would mitigate the efficiency advantage that ASIC miners have compared to GPU miners when solving blocks.

Concerns of ASICs driving the centralization of Ethereum’s mining peaked last spring when Bitmain released its first ETH ASIC, the Antminer E3.

In the developers call, proponents of the shift won out in arguing that a switch to ProgPoW would help defend the integrity of Ethereum as it moves toward its eventual Serenity update, which will entail the blockchain’s transition from PoW consenus to proof-of-stake consensus.

If ProgPoW actualizes, GPU miners will have renewed sway in Ethereum.

“I would like to switch as soon as possible to give us time to move to proof-of-stake,” Martin Holst-Swende, Ethereum Foundation’s Security Lead, said during the call.

Of course, skeptics will, and already have, cast the move as top-down protocol censorship. Bitsonline will continue to track the community’s potential embrace of ProgPoW as the situation develops.

Constantinople Update Right Around the Corner

On Jan. 16th, Ethereum will undergo its Constantinople upgrade, a scheduled hard fork that will implement five EIP updates into the blockchain.

Since the fork is being conducted for performance optimization, it is unlikely to be contentious as the vast majority of clients will switch over to the new chain.

The five updates to be implemented are as follows:

  • EIP-1234: Difficulty bomb delay and block reward adjustment
  • EIP-1052: EXTCODEHASH opcode introduction
  • EIP-1014: CREATE2 opcode for state channels
  • EIP-1283: Gas metering introduction
  • EIP-145: Bitwise shift operations introduction

In the meantime, client teams and exchanges will be prepare for the technical necessities of the shift, and everyday Ethereum users can track Constantinople’s progress on GitHub.

What’s your take? Do you think a shift to ProgPow for Ethereum is prudent or a bad idea? Let us know in the comments section below. 

Images via Pixabay

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