Ethereum security lead supports the ousting of ASIC miners

October 01, 2018
Chris Wheal

One of Ethereum’s (ETH) lead developers had lent his support to a growing movement that seeks a code change to block the network to application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) miners.

Ethereum's Martin Holst Swende

Ethereum’s Martin Holst Swende

Martin Holst Swende’s anti-ASIC position aligns him with other developers who support a modified mining algorithm. Swende’s main task is to ensure that changes to Ethereum do not introduce security issues. He supports calls to take action against the ASIC miners of the Ethereum platform and is working to ensure that code changes are not able to disrupt the way that Ethereum works.

Swende advocates implementing ProgPOW, an ASIC-resistant mining algorithm, in tandem with an upcoming hard fork. “I really think this change could be implemented in parallel with Constantinople,” he commented. “[If] people who are in the know deem this to be ASIC resistant then I’m for including it as soon as possible.”

ASIC miners opposed

Opposition to ASIC miners rests largely on concerns they could centralise the decision on the network too much. Swende agrees with those developers who believe people should act to block ASIC mining chips and revert to mostly graphic processing unit (GPU)-based mining as it was originally intended.

The main issue is that many developers believe ASIC chips could reduce the number of participants in the network as it will become unprofitable to mine ETH. The ProgPoW software would be used to block the chips and make the ASIC miners unusable, which could potentially prevent the development of this type of hardware going forward.

Swende has also noted that, unlike other proposals for software upgrades, ProgPow would not affect any smart contract or the Ethereum Virtual Machine, making it a relatively minor change for the most important aspects of the network.

Consequently, he has defended the idea that this new change could be tested on a separate testbed – particularly as the Ethereum will hard fork soon with the Constantinople upgrade, which has been in development for several months and is scheduled to happen on October 9.

This option would enable it to be tested for as long as necessary before deciding whether to continue with it. Also, the devs have stated that the upgrade could reduce the cost of privacy on the Ethereum network.



Post written by Chris Wheal
Chris Wheal is editor of OpenLedger's news and features service. An award-wining business journalists himself, he runs a team of freelance journalists from across the UK and north America.

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