ProgPow Is Dead, Long Live ProgPow: Ethereum Developer Call Summary

The Ethereum (ETH) All Core Devs call to decide on the fate of ProgPow was held on March 6. Despite a tentative decision to reformulate the mining algorithm as “Ethash 2.0,” the call raised more questions than it answered.

The call lasted approximately three hours, two of which were entirely dedicated to ProgPow. Several representatives of both the pro and anti-ProgPow sides were invited. Supporters included Kristy Leigh-Minehan, one of ProgPow’s creators, and BitsBeTrippin, the founder of an educational channel on mining.

Anti-ProgPow representatives included Gnosis Co-founder Martin Köppelmann and Matt Luongo, founder at Ameen Soleimani, CEO of Spankchain, was also a vocal critic.

Benjamin DiFrancesco, who proposed a compromise that would see ProgPow implemented but not activated, was also present.

Few concerns about technology

The discussion initially centered around the technical viability of ProgPow, citing two vulnerabilities outlined by independent auditors and researchers.

Minehan pointed out that they are easy to fix and only exploitable under specialized scenarios. Core developers seemed to agree, with one of them praising the speed at which the ProgPow developers fixed the issue.

ProgPow’s opponents did not debate its technological merits, though they pointed out that the discovery of vulnerabilities — even after previous audits — highlights the inherent risks of changing the mining algorithm.

The participants also discussed the ramifications of a potential sudden drop in Ethereum hashrate as GPUs with 4 Gigabytes of RAM and Bitmain’s E3 miner will be unable to cope with Ethereum mining around April — regardless of which algorithm is active. A pre-print paper published by Minehan and others estimated that 40% of Ethereum’s hashrate is made of Bitmain ASICs.

No clear consensus emerged on how to deal with this issue, with both sides using it as an argument in their favor.

Luongo’s argument focused specifically on the possibility…

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