What is Ethereum’s ProgPoW and how is it impacting miners?

The Ethereum ProgPoW could split the Ethereum community down the middle and have significant consequences on the network’s evolution. The new …

The Ethereum ProgPoW could split the Ethereum community down the middle and have significant consequences on the network’s evolution. The new Programmatic Proof-of-Work mining algorithm was agreed on by Ethereum miners and coin owners through an online processing vote. However, now that it is entering an “audit” phase, many parties are debating the wisdom of their decision.

Could the Ethereum ProgPoW force another hard fork in 2019? It’s still too early to make predictions. However, more and more voices are talking about a split – whether the developers implement the new algorithm or not.

What is the Ethereum ProgPoW?

Programmatic Proof-of-Work is nothing more than an extension of the Ethereum algorithm Ethash. The upgrade is meant to help graphics cards become more competitive against ASICs. This way, miners can fight back against centralisation on the blockchain.

Sole miners who don’t have the resources to invest in expensive equipment can still have a chance of making profits from mining.

Why is the Ethereum ProgPoW important?

Since Ethereum was designed as a decentralised network, miners could use their GPUs to validate transactions and add new blocks to the chain.

But when tech companies started producing ASICs (which are more powerful than graphics cards and consume less energy), making profits using GPUs became a lot harder.

An ASIC (Application Specific Integrated Circuit) is specially designed to do one thing only – solve hashing problems and generate new coins.

The new equipment left GPU miners substantially out of pocket. Many of them, in fact, are still struggling to recover their initial investment.

This situation is leading to a loss of interest in maintaining network operations for Ethereum. Miners are moving to other blockchains where they have higher chances of getting rewards.

The domination of ASICs leads to a concentration of power in the hands of a limited number of users who own the right equipment. Decentralisation is therefore at risk. A handful of people could potentially gain control of 51% of the network. That would be enough to manipulate the entire blockchain.

The Ethereum ProgPoW consensus algorithm doesn’t eliminate ASICs. Instead, it brings some balance back to the equation by making them less effective than GPUs. The ProgPoW also aims to prevent a monopoly among equipment manufacturers by reducing the influence of ASIC users on the blockchain.

The principle behind this extension is quite simple. The algorithm uses all components of GPUs to their full extent while changing the problem in mining regularly.

By creating these random sequences of problems, the network requires more flexibility – a characteristic that ASICs don’t have for now. GPUs adapt faster to changes, making them more competitive against ASICs.

An unnecessary diversion from the Proof-of-Stake move?

The problem with ASICs’ domination is not new. The crypto community is split between people who see ASICs as a threat to decentralisation and those who have the resources to invest in expensive equipment to gain higher rewards.

Ethereum is already an “ASIC-resistant” network. And it’s not the first blockchain that would see a hard fork occur as an attempt to render ASICs unprofitable.

However, the adoption of the Proof-of-Stake consensus algorithm is the most effective way of countering ASICs’ domination once and for all. This is why Ethereum developers have been planning a switch to Proof-of-Stake for almost four years.

In this light, the Ethereum ProgPoW seems like an unnecessary diversion since it won’t have significant long-term effects on the network anyway. It’s just a matter of time before tech companies develop new ASICs for mining with Ethereum’s ProgPoW.

What about the audit?

The audit for the Ethereum ProgPoW has raised more controversy in the crypto ecosystem. Miners and coin owners who have already voted for the Programmatic Proof-of-Work algorithm are feeling undermined.

The audit performed by Least Authority (an independent German security consultant) is supposed to buy more time before integrating the extension.

However, there is increasing pressure from influential community members that have spoken against ProgPoW more than once. The audit of the code seems to be just one way in which developers are trying to deal with the criticism.

How the Ethereum ProgPoW could impact miners

Miners are essential for maintaining the blockchain, but loyalty alone doesn’t pay the bills. So, unless mining on Ethereum brings in a profit, many miners will look for more advantageous blockchains.

According to developers, the ProgPoW should balance forces on the network and encourage decentralisation. Miners will have more chances of making profits regardless of their equipment. This should be enough to motivate them to maintain network operations.

On the other hand, ASICs have their benefits, as they have higher hash power per unit of electricity and are more secure. Moreover, many community members don’t see this equipment as a real threat to decentralisation. It would likely take hundreds (or even thousands of ASICs) to control 51% of the Ethereum blockchain.

So how will things end up for Ethereum and its controversial ProgPoW? Will we have another major hard fork in 2019? It’s still too early to make predictions, but like anything in crypto, all bets are off.

The post What is Ethereum’s ProgPoW and how is it impacting miners? appeared first on Coin Rivet.

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The Journey Towards Proof of Stake: Ethereum 2.0 Phase 0 Testnet Released

Prysmatic Labs, an Ethereum development team focused on implementing Ethereum 2.0, including full proof-of-stake and sharding, has launched a …

Prysmatic Labs, an Ethereum development team focused on implementing Ethereum 2.0, including full proof-of-stake and sharding, has launched a public testnet for phase 0 of it.

This is a significant milestone as phase 0 testnet will allow users on the network to stake their ETH and become validators. The testnet is a single client Prysm-only network.

Phase Zero Ready for Testing

Ethereum’s co-founder, Vitalik Buterin, announced back in 2017 that the blockchain would be making a switch from its current Proof of Work (PoW) protocol to Proof of Stake (PoS). Ever since, developers have been working on building the new blockchain called Ethereum 2.0.

On Tuesday, May 7, Prysmatic Labs published a blog post announcing that it has released the phase 0 testnet, an essential milestone for the PoS network. The phase 0 functionality will allow users to stake cryptocurrencies and act as validators in the network while earning rewards in the process.

In the blog post, the team explained that users interested in becoming validators on the network will need to store 3.2 Ether from the Goerli testnet. Storing the coins and acting as validators in the new system would allow them to earn rewards via the staking consensus.

The developers explained that each validator would accrue returns and penalties on the network depending on their behavior. The PoS mechanism is one that promotes liveness, which makes sure that the blockchain can continue even if the majority of validators are offline. However, a validator that is offline for an extended period would cause deposits to be penalized and would see the affected individuals lose funds as a result.

Scalability remains one of the biggest challenges facing the Ethereum blockchain, and PoS would help to improve that. Ethereum 2.0 is being developed with the idea of shards, which are coordinated by the beacon chain. Since phase 0 and Ethereum 2.0 implements this beacon chain, it will have shards which allow horizontal scalability on the blockchain. Thus, transactions can be carried out on the new chain parallel to the current Ethereum PoW network.

Phase Zero Testnet Not Built for a Large Number of Validators

The developers discussed both the current abilities and the hindrances of phase 0. At the moment, Prysm is the only client for the testnet. However, upgrading it to a multi-client system is a critical step the developers would take in the future. Also, the team assured the Ethereum community that the testnet is not a simulation and is publicly accessible.

However, it also has some drawbacks such as the fact that the network is currently not optimized to handle a vast number of validators. Without the super-optimal LMD GHOST fork-choice rule, attestation aggregation, and a few other features, Ethereum 2.0 can only host a limited number of validators at the testnet stage.

The testnet doesn’t have smart contracts or EVM functions yet as those will come when phase 2 of Ethereum 2.0 is launched. The testnet also doesn’t include transfer and withdrawal services, which will come later on the beacon chain.

Vitalik Buterin has been a champion of Ethereum’s move to the PoS protocol. Last month, he proposed that the network should adopt a higher staking reward when the PoS protocol is implemented. According to his proposal, 2,097,152 ETH would be issued annually when 134,217,728 ETH coins are staked. This would ensure that stakers get an annual return of 1.56 percent.

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Ethereum Price Prediction: ETH Could Break The $175 Level As Bitcoin (BTC) Races Towards …

The first smart contract platform has been definitely showing its worth as it rose to the top in April, attracting over 263,000 visitors, and recording over …

We were recently reporting that Ethereum (ETH) was able to break two highs: the highest number of visitors and the highest transaction volume.

The first smart contract platform has been definitely showing its worth as it rose to the top in April, attracting over 263,000 visitors, and recording over $500 million in transactions.

Ethereum was the most popular smart contract platform in April, surpassing EOS not only in transaction volume, but also in the number of visitors.

Meanwhile, Cardano (ADA) was placed in the third place, having a low number of visitors that carried out high-value transactions.

Tron (TRX), on the other hand, had a high number of visitors who carried out low-value transactions.

These details suggest that the smart contract platforms are influenced only by the worth of transactions, and not the number of visitors.

ETH price forecast

Ethereum (ETH)’s price remains supported above the $164 level and it seems that the coin has recently managed to recover against the US Dollar.

NewsBTC notes that the digital asset is still struggling to clear the $172 and $173 resistance levels, despite the considerable gains of Bitcoin which managed to surpass the $6,200 level.

ETH may soon climb above $175

Ethereum is trading sideways with positive signs versus the US dollar but the coin declined further vs. Bitcoin.

NewsBTC offers an in-depth analysis of the price of ETH and they conclude by presenting a chart and noting that the price of ETH seems to be trading in arrange below the $172 resistance area.

A strong push towards the $185 level is likely

“There could be a couple of swing moves, but considering the recent rally in BTC, ETH could also start a decent upward move above $172 and $175,” the online magazine notes.

They continue and report that “A successful close above the $175 level is likely to open the gates for a strong push towards the $180 and $185 resistance levels.”

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Andreas Townsend

Andreas Townsend Author

I am a technical writer, author and blogger since 2005. An industry watcher that stays on top of the latest features, extremely passionate about finance news and everything related to crypto.