Programmatic Proof-of-Work [ProgPow] continues to be one of the most controversial topics in the Ethereum community, with a majority of the community supporting its implementation. Martin Holst Swende, a core developer at the Ethereum Foundation, recently released a statement listing why he was supporting ProgPow’s implementation.
According to a previous announcement, Least Authority was selected by Ethereum Cat Herders to audit ProgPow, primarily to check whether it stood true to its claims and benchmarking. This process entirely depended on the community’s funding. If the funding was not adequate, the team could go ahead without benchmarking or conducting the audit.
Martin Swende remarked that Ethash, the current Ethereum algorithm, was “pretty well-designed”. However, ASICs stepped into the games a few years ago because of manufacturers such as Innosilicon and Bitmain. He went on to state that “these were not dramatic improvements, compared to other ASIC-adaptations of POW mechanisms”.
Swende further stated that despite the algorithm being “pretty good”, it had a few flaws which could now be fixed by ProgPow. He added that ProgPow allowed ETHash to be “more GPU-friendly”.
Further, the developer believed that “no progpow asic would ever be produced”. On the contrary, if it is, then the “scale would be kept low enough to fly under the radar”. This was because large-scale production and mass use would increase “the risk of the hardware becoming bricked again”. He also stated that along with competing with PoW developments, ASIC producers would also keep at par with Intel and AMD standards as they would also be producing the next-gen GPU.
“Ethereum has historically been aimed to be ASIC-resistant […] I think we should keep this aim unless we have very good reasons to do so. A change in that policy should be an explicit decision based on rational discussion.”
In terms of decentralization, the developer explained that there were a few choices for miners and mining farms, if the final decision was to stay with Ethash. First, buy ASICs from producers such as Bitmain, Innosilicon and Linzhi, he said. He added adding that “if Linzhi develops and releases a next-generation asic miner, that means the miner needs to get their latest asic to stay in the game”.
He further stated,
“ That is an incredible monopoly to hold – can they possibly supply the entire mining ecosystem? Would they even want to – since that would undercut their own prices?  Could you import those into any country, with import/export regulations and taxes?”
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Priya is a full-time member of the reporting team at AMBCrypto. She is a finance major with one year of writing experience. She has not held any value in Bitcoin or other currencies.