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Ethereum and the Case for Programmatic Proof-of-Work

March 11, 2019

 

Unless you are a Proof-of-Work miner with a lot to lose if something changes, the chances are good that you know how wasteful Proof-of-Work networks can be. Since shortly after the creation of Bitcoin, numerous projects have arisen with the aim of trying to shift the industry away from its’ significant reliance on Proof-of-Work consensus algorithms.

 

The fact is, none of these proposed solutions seem to have made enough of a wave to bring about this sort of change. Related to this, the mining space is still dominated by ASICs, which logically discourages the usage of GPUs, since they have become largely unprofitable.

 

In an opinion piece for CoinDesk today, two partners from Primitive Ventures detailed a solution that just might end this centralization of crypto mining, for the better. Programmatic Proof-of-Work, as a consensus protocol, would basically be the same as its’ traditional PoW counterpart, although it would be tailored for GPUs instead of ASICs.

 

In other words, a ProgPoW protocol would favor the average computer owner over a wealthy corporation that throws a fortune into the research and development of a chip that is optimized for a specific crypto network.

 

ProgPoW has reportedly been proposed as something to be implemented on the Ethereum network. The key theoretical benefit from doing so would be that the movement away from ASICs would decentralize the network’s mining community and therefore, further decentralize the network itself.

 

The major caveat is, these writers as well as others, seem to think that espousing this idea would actually have the opposite effect. Today’s CoinDesk piece argues that using ProgPoW would mean centralizing the network in favor of GPU miners.

 

Perhaps, to dispel both this fear and the fear of what will happen if ASICS continue to rule, Ethereum developers should bundle ProgPoW together with a set of governance procedures that discourage centralization in response to this new optimization.

 

 

 

By: BGN Editorial Staff

 

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