A poll Ethereum developer Vlad Zamfir posted on Twitter shows that most Ethereum users would seemingly support a hard fork that would allow the cryptocurrency’s Proof-of-Work (PoW) Ethash mining algorithm to resist ASIC miners.
Zamfir’s poll asks users if they would support a hard fork that renders Ethereum ASIC miners obsolete. At press time, over 6,400 Twitter users responded, with 57 percent voting they would support said hard fork. Only 13 percent of users said they wouldn’t, while 10 percent voted “it’s complicated” seemingly showing they’re undecided. The remaining 20 percent just voted to see the results.
Would you support a hard fork that obsceletes ETH ASICs? (Just wondering, this is not a proposal)— Vlad Zamfir (@VladZamfir) March 28, 2018
The poll comes shortly after Wall Street firm Susquehanna claims to have confirmed Bitmain, a leading cryptocurrency mining hardware manufacturer, has developed an ASIC machine to mine Ethereum. Per the firm’s analyst Christopher Rolland, said machine will be rolled out in the second quarter of this year.
As covered, so far Ethereum’s hashing algorithm, Ethash, has been ASIC-resistant, allowing miners to make a profit using general purpose GPU chips. These, commonly used for gaming and looking for aliens, don’t stand a chance against ASIC chips, which are extremely efficient at mining, but useful for little else.
Zamfir noted that he wasn’t inquiring users for a specific proposal, but merely out of curiosity. Nevertheless, updating the cryptocurrency’s software to resist ASICs wouldn’t be unprecedented.
As covered, privacy-centric cryptocurrency Monero (XMR) recently went to “war” against ASICs through an emergency software update, which reportedly “slightly changes the proof-of-work algorithm to prevent DoS attacks by ASICs.”
Curiously, Monero’s move was prompted by the unveiling of a new ASIC miner capable of mining the cryptocurrency, the Antminer X3, by Bitmain. The cryptocurrency’s developers had in the past revealed they would stop any miner from using ASICs by changing their PoW.
Some in the cryptocurrency community question whether resisting ASICs is a good move. While they inevitably take out GPU miners, which in turn may help centralize the network, they also help secure it. Down the line, Ethereum plans to abandon PoW and move to Proof-of-Stake (PoS).