Zcoin developers today announced a new proof-of-work algorithm, which they promise will decentralize crypto mining through an application of the Merkle Tree Proof (MTP).
[Update: June 23, 2017]: This article has been updated to include a quote from Zcoin founder Poramin Insom.
Zcoin Develops New Proof-of-Work Model
According to the press release, the new PoW system will provide faster, lightweight transaction verification to create what Zcoin calls a “fairer” mining process — helping people with CPUs to keep up with more specialized devices.
This specific application of the MTP was created by Alex Biryukov and Dmitry Khovratovich, who also happen to be the same scientists who created Equihash, (the similarly-named) Zcash’s current PoW algorithm.
The developers have stated “egalitarian computing” as a reason for developing this new algorithm, which for crypto mining means preventing big mining pools from taking advantage of economies of scale.
This way, they argue, their algorithm can be seen as a solution to the disparity between “ordinary miners” and what they call power players –basically miners and mining pools with a lot of computing power.
MTP Proof-of-Work: the Developers’ Intentions
In their effort to promote egalitarian computing, MTP aims to establish similar computational costs across different devices/ processors.
Through this method, they can help prevent a single device, such as custom made ASICS from gaining a significant advantage for the same computational price.
They also say that both users and attackers have an equal price per performance ratio, which will stop automated large-scale attacks.
Hashing using the MTP PoW is memory intensive with Zcoin’s reference implementation using 2 GiB (closely related to the Gigabyte) of RAM. Also, any machines infected by trojans in botnets would experience noticeable performance degradation and alert the user of an attack.
In addition, MTP can keep verification times on par with Bitcoin without requiring a lot of memory once a solution is found. This makes the network more resistant to DoS attacks that target verifiers.
This fact also allows lightweight hardware such as smartphones to perform verification that they say is not currently possible with memory-hard algorithms.
According to Zcoin developers, MTP helps decentralize mining by making it costly to develop ASIC miners.
“First of all,” said Zcoin founder Poramin Insom, “computational work can be acceleratred by ASICS but memory bound functions are hard to optimize further.”
“Secondly, memory takes up significant phsyical space and therefore complicates efficient ASIC design and increases cost.”
Finally, Zcoin will also be organizing a miner bounty program open to the community for the development of efficient miners for MTP. The competition will award a total of $20,000 USD distributed among the best miners for CPU and GPU. For details more details you can visit Zcoin’s official site.
What do you think of Zcoin’s new PoW algorithm? What kind of benefits do you see in it? Let’s hear your thoughts below.
Images Via XBT.money, Zcoin