Zcash Foundation & ZEC Community Vote No ASIC Mining Resistance Prioritization
Zcach community members just voted not to prioritize ASIC resistance. The decision was taken by the governance panel led by the Zcash Foundation.
A change to the mining system would tweak Zcash’s proof-of-work algorithm, but by the time the company makes the changes, ASICs will likely possess a majority of the network. By changing the algorithm Zcash also risks damaging their security. The company doesn’t know how to feel about ASICs especially because it is hard to make a decision that satisfies the two divided camps within the community.
In a separate ballot, the governance panel voted 38-to-26 to research longer-term solutions, such as more “thermodynamically efficient” consensus algorithms, as well as studies into open-source hardware, according to the results.
Notably, the Zcash network is experiencing a massive influx of ASICs, with the dedicated mining rigs taking up a sizable chunk of the blockchain’s mining pool. As per Forklog, the figure presently stands at 40% of the entire network.
Even their President, Andrew Miller was surprised by the outcome, saying:
“I am personally surprised by this outcome, but this is a fairly strong signal of disagreement. My interpretation of this is that we're not going to make any hasty decisions like diverting all of the Zcash Foundation resources to promoting ASIC resistance.”
The Zcash Foundation is intending to decentralize the decision-making power on the network through the governance panel. Speaking at the conference, Miller said the governance panel is broadly intended to inform the foundation's priorities for the year.
However, the approach of not targeting ASIC miners enables a wider array of miners to participate, especially those who do not have the resources to purchase ASICs, which can cost thousands of dollars apiece compared to several hundred for a GPU. This approach, some would argue, makes for a more decentralized network of miners.