Ethereum’s Istanbul Upgrade May Include the ProgPoW Mining Change


Ethereum’s whitepaper originally outlined multiple upgrades that would take place over time, with the most recent update being Constantinople. The next upgrade will be Istanbul, and a discussion between project managers on Tuesday suggested that the controversial ProgPoW mining algorithm is implemented with it. The new mining algorithm is supposed to offer broader network participation.

The Ethereum Improvement Proposal (EIP) 1057, which is the Progressive Proof-of-Work (ProgPoW), has been debated for quite a while. Individuals in favor of it think that the larger miners will no longer be able to dominate the multi-million-dollar annual market in Ether issuance. However, its opponents have expressed that they do not think the EIP is broad enough, and that access will not be leveled out as predicted.

After the hard fork was implemented last month, the discussion on the implementation of ProgPoW has returned. In the call on Tuesday, Time Beiko stated that this debate will become an official item on the agenda for the upcoming developers’ call on Friday. The individuals from the call on Tuesday, however, plan to encourage the implementation of EIP 10557, as long as there are no technical issues that would ultimately delay it.

Beiko added that, if there is a “huge red flag” in the two third-party audits, there’s plenty of time to pull the EIP before the implementation of Istanbul. If everything goes as it should, the work is complete. All the audit would be at that point is confirmation that the EIP is ready to be launched. Lane Rettig, one of Ethereum’s developers, said that the final approval deadline for any code changes on the next upgrade would be in May. Rettig added that it would need to come up on the next call amongst core developers.

Right now, the only factor that everyone seems to be waiting on is the results of the audit. In a developer chatroom, community relations manager of the Ethereum Foundation Hudson Jameson stated that two “components” factor into the audit –

“benchmarking and examination of how long/efficient a ProgPoW ASIC would be.”

The security audit would effectively reveal if the implementation of ProgPoW would be worth the effort, in the event that ASICs could be produced quickly and if they could maintain higher speeds, says Jameson. These comments bring up the worries that investors like Dovey Wan and Martina Long have voiced, who say that it should be a “non-issue” to have a growing number of ASICs on the blockchain.

The community members that support ProgPoW see these delays as both frustrating and needless, considering that the issue already has the support of much of the community. One user on the Ethereum Magicians forum, specifically dealing with the ProgPoW audit, believes that the only reason for the EIP is to slow down the ASICs that are being added to the platform.

The user adds that the delays only give time for the manufacturers of ASIC to develop a “counter-offensive move,” suggesting that the delays benefit the very companies that would no longer be working on the blockchain.

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