Despite Core Dev consensus, ‘Proposition ProgPow’ faces community concerns

Quick Take

  • Despite consensus among Core Devs, the ProgPow proposal, which aims to reinstate ASIC-resistance, has faced pushback from the wider Ethereum community
  • Concerns revolve around security, free market ideals, and the possibility of an avoidable chain split
  • Irrespective of the ultimate outcome, the ProgPow debate will provide significant insight into Ethereum’s informal governance process 

Last week’s Ethereum Core Dev Call concluded with renewed discussion of ProgPow, a proposed change to the Ethereum hashing algorithm, Ethash, which would narrow the performance gap between generalized and specialized hardware by as much as 90%.

The rationale behind the algorithm adjustment speaks to Ethereum’s egalitarian ethos: the improved efficiency of specialized versus generalized hardware provides material advantages to ASIC owners, destroying any notion of Satoshi’s ‘one CPU one vote’ and concentrating hashpower in the hands of those who can leverage economies of scale to afford more expensive machines.