Ethereum's Developers Decide to Implement ProgPoW on the Platform's Blockchain

Developers of Ethereum (ETH), the world’s largest platform for creating decentralized applications (dApps), have reportedly decided to move forward with their plans to implement programmatic proof-of-work (ProgPoW).

As described on its official Github page, ProgPoW is being developed to “close the efficiency gap available to specialized ASICs.” In order to allow all miners a (near) equal opportunity to mine ETH, ProgPoW is being designed in a manner that is “pre-tuned for the most common hardware utilized” on the Ethereum blockchain.

Owners Of Expensive Hardware Should Not Have An Advantage 

As noted in the technical documentation related to ProgPoW, there have been many different variations of Bitcoin’s (BTC) proof-of-work (PoW) which have been developed and implemented on various crypto networks. Many of these PoW variants are designed to be “ASIC-resistant,” meaning that the owners of expensive and highly powerful computing hardware may not have a significant advantage over other miners who may be using less powerful hardware to validate transactions on the same blockchain network.

In a bi-weekly meeting conducted by some of Ethereum’s main developers (on March 15th), it was decided (by the majority) that ProgPoW should be activated as part of the Ethereum network’s consensus protocol.

Ethereum's Community Had Also Decided Previously To Activate ProgPoW

During the meeting, the leading smart contract platform’s developers discussed whether ProgPoW would actually be effective at making ether mining more ASIC resistant. Greg Colvin, a developer and advisor for the Ethereum project, confirmed that the blockchain network’s community has had doubts regarding whether to integrate ProgPoW.

Colvin also revealed: 

We’re going back to stuff we were tired of talking about months ago. We decided that the only issue is whether there were errors in the algorithm, backdoors in the algorithm, anything like that. [...] Not arguments between the GPU people and the ASIC people. That will unroll over time.

Prominent Crypto Investor Argues ProgPoW Will Be Ineffective

In January 2019, Ethereum’s developers had reportedly reached consensus that they would implement ProgPoW on Ethereum’s mainnet. However, the exact date, or timeframe, for when ProgPoW would be activated has not yet been announced. In order to reduce the chances of potential vulnerabilities (or software glitches) when adding ProgPoW’s scripts to Ethereum’s codebase, the platform’s community had decided to have the new consensus algorithm audited by a third-party security company.

Notably, Ethereum’s investors have almost unanimously voted in favor of integrating ProgPoW on the world’s most dominant dApp development platform.

On March 11th, Dovey Wan, a founding partner at Primitive Ventures (a VC firm that has invested in Dfinity (“the world computer”), zcash (ZEC), and various other projects, had published a blog post in which she had argued that ProgPoW would be ineffective at (ultimately) achieving a greater level of decentralization on the Ethereum network. According to Wan’s post, several Ethereum developers had acknowledged that the ProgPoW algorithm might need to be modified further in order to function as intended.

HTC Says Its Latest Cryptophone Puts 'A Metaphorical Swiss Bank in Your Pocket'

On Saturday (October 19), Taiwanese smartphone manufacturer HTC launched the Exodus 1s, which it says is "the first ever mobile device with Bitcoin Full Node support."

A Brief History of HTC's Experience With Building Crypto-Friendly Phones

On 15 May 2018, at the Consensus 2018 blockchain summit in New York City, Phil Chen, the "Decentralized Chief Officer" (DCO) for HTC announced the firm's plan to create HTC Exodus, "the world's first native blockchain phone."

The first Exodus model to launch was the Exodus 1, which went on sale in Europe and the U.S. late last year. It initially cost 0.15 BTC (though later, it became possible to buy it for $699). HTC's reason for calling this a "blockchain phone" was that it came with a built-in hardware wallet and a pre-installed Decentralized Apps (DApps) browser that was integrated with this hardware.

HTC says that its wallet app, Zion Vault, "uses the Trusted Execution Environment (TEE) to protect your private keys and sensitive data," and that it supports storing, sending, and receiving organize over 100 types of cryptocurrencies."

The HTC Exodus 1 is a dual-sim Android-powered phone with the following specs:

  • 6.0” Quad HD+ display with 18:9 aspect ratio
  • Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 845 processor
  • 3500mAh battery
  • Android Oreo (i.e. Android version 8.x)
  • 128GB of storage and 6GB of RAM

What happened next is that HTC used its experience with the Exodus 1 and feedback from developers and the market to build a more budget-friendly device: the Exodus 1s. This is the device that HTC introduced yesterday at the two-day Lightning Conference in Berlin. In fact, HTC started selling some of the first production units at this event, and was even accepting payments via Bitcoin's Lightning Network. Other cryptocurrencies that HTC accepts as means of payment are Ether (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), Binance Coin (BNB), and Bitcoin Cash.

The HTC Exodus 1s

So now know that HTC has two crypto-friendly phones, the Exodus 1 and the Exodus 1s. These days, HTC has a new term to describe its crypto-friendly Exodus phones; on the Exodus website, it says  "SMARTPHONE + HARDWARE WALLET = CRYPTOPHONE". This means that HTC is currently selling two cryptophones.

What is special about the HTC Exodus 1 is not just its lower price (EUR 210, which is approximately USD 235), but the fact that, according to HTC, it is the first mobile phone that supports running a Bitcoin full node (with the blockchain data to be stored on a 400GB microSD card that needs to be purchased separately).

HTC says that running a Bitcoin full node on your phone "not only grows the Bitcoin network, but also help secure it." HTC also believes that it is better not to "wait for others to verify your transactions", and that with this phone, you can "verify yourself, anytime, anywhere."

Here is Chen (HTC's DCO) explaining to Forbes the significance of running your Bitcoin full node:

It plays a really important role in the whole bitcoin ecosystem. It allows you to relay transactions, confirm transactions, validate transactions, and it’s basically one of the best ways for anybody to contribute to the whole security of the network.

According to Techcrunch, Chen believes that with the Exodus 1s, you can essentially have a "a metaphorical Swiss bank in your pocket":

We gave users the ability to own their own keys, and now we’ve gone one step further to allow users to run their own full Bitcoin node. We are providing the tools for access to universal basic finance; the tools to have a metaphorical Swiss bank in your pocket.

Chen also told Forbes that HTC is considering adding support for other major blockchains:

We’ll certainly learn a lot of how people will interact with bitcoin, what they do with a full node, and we want to apply those learnings to future other public blockchains.

 These are the specs for the HTC Exodus 1s:

  • 5.7” HD+ 18:9 display
  • Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 435 processor
  • 3000mAh battery
  • Android Oreo 8.1
  • 64GB of storage and 4GB of RAM

The HTC Exodus 1s will be initially available in Europe, Taiwan, Saudi Arabia and the UAE (but HTC plans to offer the phone at some future date in other countries).

In case you are wondering why HTC is so interested in crypto, this is what Chen told CNBC:

Initially considered a gimmick by some, crypto technology is the next frontier of smartphone innovation. For the smartphone category to grow again, we need more adoption of cryptophones.

HTC's CEO said in an interview with Techcrunch that although we don't yet have mainstream adoption of cryptophones, the Exodus 1s gives consumers "an inexpensive way to see what the technology provides today."


Featured Image Courtesy of HTC