On the progpow audit

progpow
audit
ethcatherders
#21

I agree with all positions expressed above. Nevertheless let me point out some facts.

  1. The whole point of ProgPoW on Eth is to slow down incoming wave of ASICs and to prepare a more levelled field for any mining device;
  2. All this delays only give room to ASIC manufactures to organize a counteroffensive move and prepare for a contentious hf;
  3. ProgPoW specs are publicly available since a year now
  4. Heavy lifting has already been done implementing both verification on major nodes (geth and parity) and an open-source miner;
  5. If anyone is thinking that audit/testnet/implementations can go ahead without proper funding … then better we dismiss the whole project.
3 Likes
#22

This is probably the biggest risk. “ASIC resistance” ultimately relies on information asymmetry, which inherently gives any solution a shelf life. Ask the Monero folks, the community can’t move as fast as a well-organized hardware company.

2 Likes
#23

One benefit of ProgPoW is effectively giving a set of knobs to twist on Ethash. Every time you twist the knobs, the ASICs have to go back to the drawing board. Obviously this requires a fork each time, but this could be integrated into the ~6 month normal fork release cycle of ETH. It would be pretty hard (financially) to get ahead of that.

But all of this effort is moot if some funding can’t be found soon. Andrea and the rest will move onto other things and it isn’t fair to them to ask them to work on this further, without some sort of financing from the ETH community.

1 Like
#24

Hey all! Wanted to quickly clarify where the cat herders are with the audit.

There are multiple things going on and some of them are directly initiated by the cat herders and some are “supported” as in “we support what they decided to do”.
So as far as the audit goes there are 2 components: benchmarking and examination of how long/efficient a ProgPoW ASIC would be. Benchmarking is done to make sure that there isn’t discrepancy between AMD and Nvidia cards performance. The other examination is to make sure it is even worth it to implement progpow or if ASICs can be made super quickly (like less than 9 months) and with more speed increase.
Whiteblock wants to do the benchmarking part, but idk who will pay for it. They are equipped to do that piece of the audit imo. They have both a Bounties Network and Gitcoin bounty for their work.
The more difficult part is the 2nd part which deals with figuring out the details of how an asic would be built, how long, and the effeciency increases compared to GPUs.
I very recently got in touch with another group that isn’t Whiteblock who wants to do the 2nd part of the audit.
Once they have a solid proposal we will likely try to help them set up a Gitcoin or find sources of funding if they are legit.

2 Likes
#25

I’m trying to understand what’s the roadmap for completing ProgPoW consideration process by The Ethereum Cat Herders.
I.e., something like:

miners, pools, community should help with founding next bounties
#1 - we need $xxx for something by xx/xx/2019

#2 - we need $xxx for something by xx/xx/2019

#3 - we need $xxx for something by xx/xx/2019

If everything goes well with bounties funding and with results, The Ethereum Cat Herders will recommend ProgPoW to Core Devs as a possible way of reducing ASICs at Ethereum Network.

Right now it’s not clear at all.

The Ethereum Cat Herders announced yesterday that crucial step for ProgPow is to fund those bounties:

Bounty #1


Where ProgPow not even mentioned in the description.

Bounty #2
https://explorer.bounties.network/bounty/2424
Here is something that looks like audit, but the total required amount not mentioned.

So if you calling for community funding, can we have clear communication on this?
image

1 Like
#26

@souptacular @lrettig @ethcatherders

I believe I can help with the audit, at least on the benchmarking side. How can I apply for this grant for this audit? I’ve already benchmarked a few GPUs and if you’re interested to see my work(I posted it around quite a bit already). Obviously, I can expand on it with a full range of GPUs, AMD/Nvidia and provide a more thorough and in-depth review, assumptions, and things I found. I hope I can help in this regard. I am testing 0.9.3 spec right now. I’m more than happy to provide myself for an interview.

Let me know what you think.

Article I wrote as an example of my work.

2 Likes
#27

I believe this is irrelevant (for audit). ProgPoW never claimed that it is ASIC resistant and ASICs cannot be built so it does not matter if they are going to be built on day 0 or never. The only claim was ASICs are not going to be more than 20% more efficient than GPUs.

2 Likes
#28

From the github page:

The design goal of ProgPoW is to have the algorithm’s requirements match what is available on commodity GPUs: If the algorithm were to be implemented on a custom ASIC there should be little opportunity for efficiency gains compared to a commodity GPU.

While the goal of “ASIC resistance” is valuable, the entire concept of “ASIC resistance” is a bit of a fallacy. CPUs and GPUs are themselves ASICs. Any algorithm that can run on a commodity ASIC (a CPU or GPU) by definition can have a customized ASIC created for it with slightly less functionality. Some algorithms are intentionally made to be “ASIC friendly” - where an ASIC implementation is drastically more efficient than the same algorithm running on general purpose hardware. The protection that this offers when the coin is unknown also makes it an attractive target for a dedicate mining ASIC company as soon as it becomes useful.

Therefore, ASIC resistance is: the efficiency difference of specilized hardware versus hardware that has a wider adoption and applicability. A smaller efficiency difference between custom vs general hardware mean higher resistance and a better algorithm. This efficiency difference is the proper metric to use when comparing the quality of PoW algorithms. Efficiency could mean absolute performance, performance per watt, or performance per dollar - they are all highly correlated. If a single entity creates and controls an ASIC that is drastically more efficient, they can gain 51% of the network hashrate and possibly stage an attack.

1 Like
#29

I’ve been closely following everything ProgPoW for months now. I am in almost every chat room and discussion out there. I just wrote this up to hopefully help clarify a few things as I see them about ProgPoW. Just thinking that this group (or if you came here from another link) might be interested… https://medium.com/@lookfirst/13-questions-about-ethereums-movement-to-progpow-e17e0a6d88b8

3 Likes
Motion to NOT include ProgPow without audit
#30

Update from @souptacular

3 Likes
#31

@boris Yes, my post was a comment appended to the bottom of that one. I have questions on it. Sorry, the medium interface is a bit wonky in that respect.

#32

I’m just highlighting relevant links for people to suck in the content to try and bring material together in one place on here.

1 Like