While using PoW, should the Ethereum network be secured primarily by GPU miners?

This is a fundamental question behind the ProgPow debate.

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I’ve created a Burn Signal poll for this discussion, here:

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I’d like to note a potential bias to watch out for here:

Many of those who have been outspoken against ProgPow feel like it was already killed and are pretty tired of talking about or thinking about it.

Unless someone has a financial interest in the decision, the whole thing is very exhausting at this point. Polls about this where people have to go out of their way to expend effort (like burning ETH) are going to bias toward those who have the strongest incentive to lobby for a given outcome.

If we are going to try to gauge community sentiment, I think the best way is to randomly sample a subset of the community and then try very hard to get responses from as many from that sample as possible.

As one of the more vocal ProgPoW proponents, I’d like to state for the record that I have no financial incentive to fight for it.

It shouldn’t need to be said, but at this point it may be beneficial if the core developers that have been involved with this EIP from the start to state whether they were lobbied, pressured or otherwise influenced outside of the EIP proposal itself. I’m certain that there has been no lobby for ProgPoW and cannot say the same for against ProgPoW.

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@elliot_olds I’m not too concerned about the poll results as samples. I’m just starting a conversation.

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Aren’t you a GPU miner? Are you just saying your mining operation is so small that it doesn’t influence you?

I am not a GPU miner and do not have a mining operation.

I have three GPUs in a NYC suburb where the 22cent power costs more than any block rewards. I have them for fun and learning. Also have an ASIC, a couple of FPGA’s, several machines running staking nodes and other hobby stuff, a badass Triumph Rocket TFC motorcycle and a pet Great Dane named Queen Boudicea.

Oh, I setup a pool too, had two people mining on it last I looked. Again all learning for me.

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Wait how is it you can question gcolvin about him being a miner. What is your interest here. Are you with DAPP, Defi, ASIC miners? What is yoir motive for being against removing ASICs. This is the discussion, not ProgPOW

I quoted Greerso, so was clearly asking him about being a miner, not Greg. I had remembered Greerso mentioning his GPUs before so I wanted clarification about his financial incentives. I don’t know anything about Greg’s conflict of interest situation but I hope if you had any he’d disclose them.

I’m an app developer and have never mined and have no financial incentive either for or against ProgPow, except to the extent that I’m an ETH holder and believe that good governance decisions will make ETH more valuable. My main interest in ProgPow is that I’m worried that the existing governance system is too easy to capture by special interests.

So which DAPP do you work for? Are you paid or is this a hobby?

Secondly you keep saying you are against ProgPow. This is not the topic of the OP. Are you against securing Ethereum using GPUs?

I’m one of two founders of atstake.net. It’s a full time thing but we don’t make money since it’s an early stage startup.

The original post says that the title question is the fundamental issue behind the ProgPow debate.

IMO the network is more secure with ASICs.

Well thank you for your honesty, of your background. I see your project is only a little over a year old. So let me tell you my background. I have been mining Ethereum for almost 4 years now. I have invested $$$ of dollars into supporting Ethereum security using GPUs. Like you I care deeply about the project and am looking forward to POS. Like you my company is accountable for paying salaries and ensuring we stay profitable. However unlike you, I have been at a business disadvantage for the last two years.

You see I started this business years ago with a well defined business model based on the Ethereum yellow paper that claimed it would be ASIC resistant. Coming from Bitcoin I understood how ASICs can affect GPU business models. However I was willing to invest a huge amount of money and trust that Ethereum would do everything in its power to ensure it stayed ASIC free in accordance with it’s yellow paper.

I was mining Ethereum 3 years before your company even existed. For the past two years my business has been going through major challenges as we have been struggling to stay profitable. It was not always like this. We prefer to HODL every coin we mine to build for the future. However due to the inability to compete with ASICs we have been selling the majority of coins we have mined just to cover expenses.

Miners like me who have been loyal to Ethereum and have been here since the beginning are beginning to think the Johnny come latelies DAPS are trying to force the old timers into letting go of our holdings in Ethereum at what we all know are extremely low prices. It is pretty simple, ASIC miners dont have the long term holdings we have. Like you they have only been in Ethereum a relatively short time. Squeezing the GPU miners like this the last two years has resulted in us having to sell deeply locked up coins.

What is the hardest part about all of this is the development community that we have trusted the last 4 years does not see this as urgent as we do. While the DAPS are busy squeezing the miners ASICs are taking control of Ethereum security. Understand these ASIC farms are 95% in China. Understand these ASICs are pro Bitcoin and not Ethereum. Forcing the old time miners to liquidate their holdings just to survive could prove to be a double edged sword if you get our coins but the network is unable to function as it gets closer to POS.

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I’ve been an ETH holder and user since 2016 btw. I’m not new to Ethereum just because I started writing the app last year.

You raise an issue that I I’d like to see the community discuss more: is it appropriate to change PoW to reward long term miners for their service? Is the ETH community obligated to take active steps to limit ASICs because of the yellowpaper? Or should the only factor that we consider be what leads to the best security going forward?

There is a big difference in buying a coin using disposable income from a formal job to jumping both feet in and opening a business. So you had no real skin in the game until 2019 when you joined a DAAP project. We were here long before you were risking everything.

So did you read the yellow paper before you joined your DAAP team? I would expect you would. Why would you take on a project prepared to go against what was written in the founding document of Ethereum. This is like becoming a member of Christian church with intentions of converting the members to Muslim. It is immoral and wrong. Please go to another coin that does not state in their yellow paper that ASICs are a “plague”

Your company is benefitting from the yellowpaper far more than you understand. When Ethereum was created it looked to move past the oppressive nature of large ASIC mining companies controlling development work of Bitcoin. A lot of developers came to Ethereum for this alone. What you and the rest of the DAAPS opposing Etherum ASIC fork is doing is the same. You are trying to use your albeit limited power to control the dev team from implementing what was called for in its founding documentation.

Please move to a different coin instead of trying to change the one that you joined knowing full well what its core values were.

I tell you what. Let’s see how patient you are. What if the miners stipulated that for the next 2 years no development work would be done except that which sought to make Ethereum as ASIC proof as possible. What if this cost you 40% of your revenue. How long would your company survive and how patient would you be.

Ridiculous I know, but that is exactly what has happened in reverse the last 2 years for GPU miners. We have been waiting patiently for opportunities when the dev team reaches milestones to bring the ASIC issue up for discussion. Up until recently there was NO community objections to a fork to remove ASICs. It is now only with the new DAAP companies coming on board that they think their EIPs take precedence over ours. This is not the Ethereum community we have known the last 4 years. You and your inability to allow others in the community to survive are a cancer to the Ethereum community as a whole. It is not just all about you.

We have waited patiently for 2 years yet you refuse to wait 3 weeks after the next fork to remove ASICs.

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Finally you want to see an exmple of what happens to a coin that removes ASICs from their network? Watch Ravencoin over the next 30 days from 5/6/2020. RVN is taking the leadership trophy away from Ethereum and adopting KawPow (ProgPow) to remove ASICs. Watch and learn whst happens when you put a priority on GPU mining. I can tell you right now what will happen. RVN in 30 days will be 5x higher in BTC terms than now.

If you don’t understand even though Ethereum has the best technology and the best devs yet the BTC/ETH price continues to fall long term, then you clearly have no clue how ASICs destroy coin values.

Watch RVN by 6/6/2020 to be 5x higher in BTC values. Understand and admit then you are clueless how much vaue GPU miners bring to a coin and how so correct the yellow paper was…“ASICs are a plague.”

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I can understand and sympathize with everything you’ve said. An issue I’ve seen brought up is that if Ethereum plans on moving to PoS consensus sooner rather than later (even if that is 12-24 months down the line) why risk a potentially security impacting upgrade?

So the argument is do not worry about the recent ASIC 51% attack on ETC even as ASICs move past 40% on the Erhereum network. If you want an example of a dev team that takes network security serious take a look at Ravencoin. They have for the second time changed algos to kick ASICs off the network. They have adopted KawPOW (their version of ProgPOW) without any security issues two days ago.

For the life of me I cannot understand DAAPs like Defi not being worried about Ethereum security with ASICs rapidly approaching 51% on Ethereum. The real security risk is doing nothing. Why is it other coins understand this but you guys dont?

Because it’s technically not difficult – most of the work is done. And the work of maintaining and developing the mainchain is mostly independent of the work on PoS research.

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Hmm, yeah I can understand eth1.x is generally separate from PoS stuff and good upgrades shouldn’t be held back due to any PoS considerations. I’d even agree that Eth should be secured by GPUs and not ASICs. I guess I’m just wary since I heard that the original ProgPoW algorithm had flaws that could’ve impacted network security. How can those concerns be answered?

My understanding is ProgPoW flaws have already been fixed, even those discovered after the audit. ProgPoW is mostly Ethash but with updates. Currently, Ethash, the current PoW algorithm, has more security concerns than ProgPoW. Looking at the All Core Devs calls, I don’t believe the issue is that the proposal has technical vulnerabilities.