ProgPoW Audit Delay Issue

As a long time ethereum miner, supporter and general educator on mining in the space since 2013 for nearly every major network out there, teaching 10’s of thousands how to participate in POW mining, by far the longest running YouTube and Twitch channel on this planet around the subject matter and my exposure to thousands daily of ‘at home’ miners through various social feeds.

The majority do NOT CARE about the algorithm used. Period. They do care if they get to participate on GPU mining or not on a particular algorithm. This entire argument, audit and investigation should be purely on the open source option presented. Does it function as it says, what are the potential attack vectors (could someone attack/take advantage of the series of events within the operations); if that can’t get answered, then switch to SHA3 and/or some other variant.

The general consensus from the folks that support GPU mining is pretty linear. Can they participate yes or no. If they can, they will continue to mine and provide a vibrant community of support and content creation around the proof of work collaborative and onboarding ecosystem, a community that helped, many in grassroot ways to be part and parcel of the growth of ethereum in their own way (getting friends, family and many as contributors to the total net hash through hundreds of millions of capex investment across the world, 4+ million GPUs)

The position of anyone here is to simply ask the basic question, agnostic to the algorithm, is this something Ethereum Development community going to address (ASIC resistance) or not, cause yes, there are many that actually care.

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Hi Sonia!

Your obsession with me is kind of creepy, still. Yes, I speak at conferences. Yes, my thoughts and opinions change based upon my experiences (good lord, what a shocking revelation!). Yes, for years, specialized infrastructure has been at war with the home miner. This is because specialized infrastructure generally has much larger economies of scale and pushes home miners out of the space. This is why infrastructure providers will slowly become service providers - the home miner will ‘join them’ and leverage their economies of scale and engineering effort, in the same way one leverages AWS or GCP.

It still disappoints me that after half a year, you’re still acting like an emotional individual rather than as a company. Multiple people in this thread - including some that are highly respected in the fields of ASIC development - have gone out of their way to engage with you respectfully. You proceed to attack them, no rhyme or reason. You do nothing to cultivate trust in your company or product for foreign markets. Taking statements out of context or attacking an individual relentlessly doesn’t do a single thing to assist you. In fact, all it does is reflect poorly on yourself and your company. Your continued behaviour echos true of the statement IfDefElse made two years ago - single-purpose hardware manufacturers will go out of their way to protect their investments, whatever the cost.

Everytime you attack myself, you strengthen ProgPoW and its merits - because if the best criticism that can come from it is my involvement, this will be a fairly easy audit.

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I agree with you that simply pointing out a CoI is not a substitute for discussing an issue – it’s just one factor out of many.

One area where I think CoIs are especially relevant is in measuring community sentiment. As a reminder, I got into the thread again because someone claimed that it was not clear that the community supported ProgPow.

The fact that GPU miners have a CoI is extremely relevant to how seriously we should take the fact that for instance 77% of haspower voted for ProgPow. That’s hardly a convincing argument for broad community support when miners should be expected to be especially enthusiastic about ProgPow due to it directly benefiting them.

I have yet to see any good metrics showing broad community support whose results can’t be explained by there being a group of passionate miners pushing for ProgPow.

In her Medium article, Kristy focuses a lot on decentralization but doesn’t really engage with the issue of how the cost for an external actor to attack the network is higher with ASICs. She mentions it only in passing before moving on to say that what’s even more important is protecting against attacks from ASIC miners rather than external actors.

There are a lot of arguments that we never engaged in. I mentioned this before when ProgPoW was scheduled for inclusion in Istanbul - we did a bad job of producing educational material. This is no one’s fault by our own. IfDefElse was a small team of enthusiasts with full-time jobs, and our jobs got in the way of helping to educate the space. We never intended ProgPoW to take on the life that it did - we simply put it out there with all the enthusiasm an engineer usually has over sharing their work, because it solved a problem we were passionate about.

I’ve generally stayed quiet because of the amount of attack on both my personal and professional life. If this space had engaged in professional discourse, I would have been more willing to engage in education. C’est la vie.

This is a big point of disagreement: what are we more worried about, people from outside the ecosystem attacking Ethereum or mining companies attacking it?

The problem a lot of ProgPoW opponents fail to address is how scarce ASIC equipment is. Look at the current state of the Bitcoin mining network. It is near impossible for a U.S. miner to get new equipment without going through a broker, in any sort of volume. Most of the equipment is three to four months out. If you are a Chinese miner, you can get equipment with a snap of your fingers - there are natural favourtisms and buyer preference at play. But this is far more pronounced in the Bitcoin ecosystem than it is in the GPU system. Case in point: the RTX silicon was launched at the same time (give or take a month) for every region around the world. But the M21s was pre-sold in large batches before any consumer units were distributed.

MicroBT and Canaan both advertise that they are moving towards the made-to-order model, rather than the made-to-stock model of GPU manufacturers. This is a key reason for my favouritism of GPUs. The inability to get new equipment punishes new entrants to the ecosystem and rewards veteran participants.

With the recent impact of the trade war in the United States, it’s now even more punishing to new miners in the ecosystem. Sure, I’m biased here - I live in the US and work for a US-based company. But every single day I have new, enthusiastic entrants to mining hit me up on Twitter, asking where they can buy units now and get started in the community now. With ASICs, I have to point them towards a) a broker, of which most are unregulated and simply flip equipment for another middleman, or b) the manufacturer, who will not sell units of 1 or 2 to a loan individual. Most of the equipment has been out of stock on manufacturer’s websites, or is available for purchase in bulk alone.

Contrast this with a GPU. GPUs are stocked, at large, the world over. Yes, there was a shortage, because enthusiasts brought them off the shelves. But I can buy a GPU in the US, in Ukraine, in Russia, in South Africa…all over, there are miners entering the ecosystem, because of the readily available hardware. You don’t need to be an expert in this - you just need to understand that the economics are there. And yes, some of them do leave the network, but so do ASIC miners - by selling off their current equipment and buying new equipment.

You can’t use the ‘skin in the game’ argument, because there is always a way to get out of your ‘contract’ with a network. But this is healthy for a network when done properly - it forces coins to compete on product, community, and quality, rather than just on pure profit alone. Miners are either nomadic or tribalistic. If you capture on the tribalistic miners, they will stay with your network for its lifetime.

I think “the incentives at play” is the part of this that people disagree about the most. Even if people agree with the ProgPow advocates on everything else, disagreement about this can determine where people stand on the issue. It is this that I don’t see ProgPow advocates having any more expertise than opponents on. Does Kristy have a more expert opinion about this than Phil Daian? If so, why?

There aren’t a lot of people that have been in mining since the beginning. Most have left the space, or went off to work in other verticals in blockchain. I am not saying I am authority, but I don’t think a single person in this thread can’t agree with this statement: mining is inherently tribalistic right now. Too much knowledge in this space is kept in secret. That is because it is a nascent industry (just like blockchain), and communication is hoarded.

Phil might understand the theory (and I value his opinions and insight), but the reality is quite different. I am not saying I am the authority, but I am saying that all I can do is share my experiences and explain why I value ProgPoW - because how can I champion something if I don’t believe in it?

I have yet to see any good metrics showing broad community support whose results can’t be explained by there being a group of passionate miners pushing for ProgPow.

Most of them will not speak up. There are two reasons for this. One is that many people have seen the result of what happens when you go against a special interests party - @greerso himself was dox’d, and quite a few non-Ethereum miners have signalled support but will not speak because their association with Ethereum would ‘muddy’ their image. The second is that, unless you are a part of the Ethereum ‘core community’, you don’t know where to voice your opinions. For instance, where does the broader Chinese community engage or speak? It’s not taking place on forums such as this one, or even on Twitter. We’ve failed to capture the QQ, WeChat and LINE communities, all of which have thriving ecosystems that passionately debate this topic every single day.

But, more to the point - why is it such a bad thing that miners speak about a mining related topic? Just like a developer topic would be rallied for by developers who understand the complexities and how the change will effect them, why is it seen as such a vulgar act when a change that will effect a user is met with passion for, or against it?

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I think instead of having a conflict of interest the Miners have a vested interest. They are the people who will actually do the mining so their opinion on the matter should have greater weight than bag holders as long as the core deliverable of “security” is still provided.

When it is said that “broad community support exists” that support exists in the area of the community where the impact will be felt the most: mining. As long as blocks keep getting produced and the chain doesn’t fork the dApp developers and DEX customers don’t need to worry if it’s Ethash, ProgPOW, Casper, or Beacon ensuring consensus is reached.

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all GPU as well has a lot of patents for power, phase priority, matrix vectors, video DVI/HDMI, memory patent - you should feeding them as well - just to run math operations for PoW.
This making GPU not only less power efficient, but also increasing capex/opex expenses.

You can build ASIC even at lower price using smaller nm tech, 550nm,180nm,65nm…

  • if hash-algo is simple.
    Over complicated algo with high memory consumptions - make them very over complicated and low optimized.
    Same way as you optimizing your software to make it faster,
    same wat you can optimize your hardware to make it faster & cheaper at opex/capex.

All personal computers became reality at lower price, only because of some IC optimizations in ASICs -
The initial ASICs used gate array technology. An early successful commercial application was the gate array circuitry found in the low-end 8-bit [ZX81] and ZX Spectrum, introduced in 1981 and 1982. These were used by [Sinclair Research] (UK) essentially as a low-cost [I/O]solution aimed at handling the [computer’s graphics]. exactly usage of ASIC’s in PC, allow to decrease it price & increase efficiency.

it’s natural optimization. better unbeatable Irreversible blocks math lock at lower price.

Best definition.
and if we thinking about all blockchain infrastructure - and each infrastructure has opex & capex, ETH can just fall down as less optimal infrastructure with higher opex, becase of over-complicated algo + over-complicated/anti-optimized/anti-ASIC algo for any PoX*…

Cross-posting this here: https://medium.com/least-authority/https-medium-com-least-authority-kicking-off-our-review-of-progpow-be1368ae9a50

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As I recall the core devs discussions up to the January consensus were civilized, at least by the core devs. Then the some in the community when ballistic, the consensus broke down, and it’s been a mess ever since. So far as I’m concerned ProgPow should be going into Istanbul, but I’m just one voice.

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Thank you posting the crosslink @timbeiko

I was having a pleasant evening, thinking that the community would finally put an end to the ProgPOW debate with an open and transparent audit. But the audit seems to be cloaked in secrecy despite claims to the contrary. I’m hoping things will change and the process will be open as the article claims but time will tell.

Here’s my reply to the Least Authority ProgPOW audit update posted on Medium.

Liz Steininger, thanks for this update.

In the interest of transparency, will the hardware auditors release project proposal and methodology as Least Authority did on their github?

You stated in your post that:

“ … we believe that transparency is necessary, we will include names of the contributing team and details of any coordination with others in our final audit report.”

However, at the same time, did not disclose the name of the firm or people conducting the hardware audit.

“We’re also hoping to coordinate with others in the community, including the team that is conducting the review of ProgPoW from the hardware perspective — “

Yet you disclosed the names of the people in your company working on the software and security audit.

“The Least Authoritarians working on this audit are: Emery Rose Hall, Ramakrishnan Muthukrishnan, Mirco Richter, Dominic Tarr, Katharine Jarmuland Jan Winkelmann.”

Looking forward to your reply and potentially working with the hardware auditors to fill in the gaps. Perhaps start with the stated goals and methodology of the hardware auditor, so my company, ePIC Blockchain and others can provide input?
](https://medium.com/@epic.henry/liz-steininger-thanks-for-this-update-94221b6d869a)

Great link! @shemnon posted another one in gitter that is worthwhile reading: Zcash summary of the last 6 months making sense of ProgPoW - solardiz did an excellent job.

@gcolvin

Let’s take a moment. You commented publicly, several times, that Linzhi is “not to be believed because if what they say is true they would just go and do it and take the money”.

In the nicest words, that is a condescending argument.

Are you implying that everyone is like this? How do I know you are not being paid under the table? In our interesting crypto space, some people try to define “rational” as equal to “corruptible”. I totally disagree.

This kind of logic breaks all assumptions FOSS culture and crypto are built upon these last decades. I understand the difficulty of having a discourse over issues that are partially or largely intransparent, such as hardware.
We have a long list of people that are free to apologize for all the nasty things they said about us in recent months. Luckily we made lots of new friends also.
I fully expect you to take back the “if what they say is true they would just take the money” comment one day.

Kristy sent out her minions to offer us up to 75 mio USD to participate in her scheme, we slammed the door on them.
You would have done the same.

I stand by everything me and my friends have contributed to the ProgPoW discourse since January, 100%. Some of it is a painful read, because the underlying issue is painful. We are at the beginning, because the points we made, technical and economical/business (the attack vector), have a basis and will show their true face over time.

Humans are not very good at dealing with high complexity. So our brain uses a trick: simplification.
Simplification happens unconsciously, one barely notices it. Simplification has one disadvantage: It doesn’t create a closed and consistent logical structure.
Then things become complicated again and the brain tries to disregard or treat things categorically, to reduce dissonance.
If you use simplification consciously and controlled, it’s abstraction.
This is the key ability that is lacking in the discussion, and most importantly the decision making process.
Everything is discussed momentarily. What’s lacking are deeper, long-term and strategic thoughts that are then upheld.

Secure, proof-of-work, public blockchains are, and will always be, under constant social attack.
https://etherplan.com/2019/05/17/ethereum-classic-and-the-permissionless-fallacy/7584/

Relevant:
https://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2019/07/25/1888023/0/en/Squire-Mining-Announces-Appointment-of-Kevin-Turner-to-Advisory-Board.html
Message me if you don’t understand how this relates to ProgPoW or Ethereum.

[edit, for people glancing over this thread: News says boss of EIP-1057 author Kristy now sits on a board of megaminer Squire Mining together with Dr. Craig Wright, who Vitalik called a fraud which Vitalik and others are now being sued for. :thinking:]

@OhGodAGirl relax, the truth will come out. Happy writing.
Wish everyone a relaxing Sunday.

I spoke in the context of whether to pay an audit of how ASIC-resistant ProgPow is–I believed that would just put the auditor into a conflict of interest. And in general I don’t believe any performance claims until I see measurements. Not even my own.

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This issue doesn’t seem that relevant to me. Our goal with mining is the security of the Ethereum network. Whether some miners are given an “unfair” advantage or not only matters to the extent that it affects security.

I’m somewhat skeptical that many GPU miners give up significant profits to mine on ETH just because they’re loyal to it. What’s the evidence for that?

But even if it were true, I don’t think ETH should rely on miners loyalty for its security.

It’s not bad that they speak about it. If miners bring up arguments relating to ETH’s security those arguments should be evaluated on their merits. But simply the fact that miners want ProgPow needs to be considered in light of their CoI.

Again, go back to my example of MacDonalds supporting a law that will transfer $2 from every American to their company. This law impacts MacDonalds much more than anyone else. You could even say it’s a “MacDonalds-related” law, and not much of a “Kristy-related law”. So when you object and say “Hey, this seems just like a pointless giveaway to MacDonalds” should they be able to claim their opinion has extra weight because they’re most affected by the law?

It seems completely irrelevant who will do the mining, except to the extent that it effects ETH’s security level.

I keep seeing a sentiment in the ETH community that it’s a goal of the network rules to keep miners happy. This seems like a bad goal, and I’d like to see people argue for it explicitly if they think it’s a valid goal.

The thing about security is that it’s not binary. We want to reduce the risk of any harmful attacks on Ethereum. If switching to ProgPow changes the risk of a sustained 51% attack against ETH from 1% per year to 2% per year, then we should definitely not do it. You can’t just look at the network and check “security provided” off your list.

I have been quietly following this thread since the beginning. Sonia, your constant attempt to spread fear, and spiteful conspiracy theories against other members is not welcomed here. As far as I’m concerned, your credibility has been zero ever since you first joined, attempted to spread false information (Jun 3), only to be immediately rebuked by timolson and epic.henry.

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[typical Kristy way of saying hi]

Good morning Kristy. @MrAndrewAu @OhGodAGirl @epic.henry

The kind of attack ProgPoW is pulling off is anticipated, and will repeat in the future. It’s too logical not to try. Make a list of possible motivations for a PoW change, and expect someone to start with the easiest and most profitable ones, the low hanging fruits.

We talk about ProgPoW - Programmatic Proof-of-Work.
Programmatic means ‘according to a program’. The rarely used ‘programmatic’ is then substituted by people for the more common ‘programmable’. Other confusing terms such as dynamic and random are mixed in.

How can a PoW algo be programmable when it always needs to be verifiable?
PoW is work that someone else can verify, so it cannot be programmable and will always fully derive from a seed, with a series of 100% predictable and repeatable steps. No matter which linguistic trickery someone may be trying to sell the story.

Real innovation in PoW would allow user defined programs to be passed to the PoW algorithm, which would then need to be stored alongside the PoW result, and clients would need to construct a zero-knowledge proof to check that the program was fully executed (limiting CPU time).

None of such real innovation is in ProgPoW, because all it is is superficial pseudo-technology trying to coverup a corporate scheme (follow the links, DYOR).
We can do better, and we will never loose our optimism.