Ethereum goes Istanbul: New algorithm ProgPoW will come

In the heated debate on the new mining algorithm ProgPoW at Ethereum, the developers have once again voted: The implementation will come. Between economic interests and technical improvements.

It goes very fast. Since Ethereum immersed itself in the development phase Metropolis in October 2017, more and more historical names of cities and kingdoms are going through the press: Byzantinum, Constantinople, St. Petersburg and Istanbul are the names for blockchain updates. Quick loses oneself in the arms race of the terms. After the recent update, consisting of the two parts Constantiople and St. Petersburg, was held at the end of February, now the next Hard Fork is in the center of attention: Istanbul. Within this planned improvement, there is a contentious issue regarding the mining algorithm. The Word of the Hour is Progressive Proof-of-Work Algorithm, or ProgPoW for short.

What speaks against a technical improvement?

The annual profit generated by Ethereum’s mining amounts to a whopping $ 655 million. The mining farms used to calculate the blocks using the Ethash algorithm, using either the dedicated ASIC Miner or conventional graphics card (GPU). The new algorithm ProgPoW is intended to reduce the previous advantage of ASIC miners over conventional GPUs. As we have already reported, a dispute arose between the Pro-ProgPoW and Anti-ProgPoW warehouses. Similarly, one could call the two camps as a pro-ASIC manufacturer and pro-GPU manufacturer. It is only understandable that the developers of Ethereum, so the actual makers, are tired of this competition for economic supremacy. Greg Colvin, one of the actors at Ethereum:

 “We got back into a debate that we were fortunate enough to get rid of months ago! At that time, we agreed that we would only look at the algorithm for flaws or backdoors and the like … The debate between the camps [ASIC vs. graphics cards (GPUs)] should not affect us from then on, which will resolve itself over time. “

We do that, BUT

Also owners of Ethereum voted almost unanimously per ProgPoW implementation. In the last vote of Ethereum’s Core Devs, a majority decision was made to implement it. Although the same decision was reached in January, the risks of possible errors in the code still did not allow the release of the new algorithm. First, independent inspections of the new protocol should be carried out, which were announced by the beginning of February but have not yet started. Questions would have to be clarified such as: How well do the different mining devices with the new algorithm? Can special hardware be made for the new algorithm, which in turn would be an advantage? Even for insiders it is difficult to judge what the independent inspections should actually bring to light, says the developer

Alexey Akhunov:

 “What is the goal of ProgPoW? When do we talk about success? So far I have not received a satisfactory answer from any advocate.”

That the implementation of ProgPoW will come is only a matter of time. Whether as part of the planned Hard Fork Istanbul or another upgrade – it’s best to look for cities.