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Vitalik Buterin Advises Against Declaring War on Ethash ASIC Miners
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Vitalik Buterin Advises Against Declaring War on Ethash ASIC Miners

by Raphael PutongApril 9, 2018

Ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin has voiced his opposition to a popular proposal intended to render Ethash ASIC miners incompatible with the second-largest cryptocurrency’s network.

Ethereum Improvement Proposal 958 (EIP 958), published by Ethereum developer Piper Merriam, was submitted to spark a discussion about the prudence of rendering Bitmain’s newly-announced Ethereum ASIC miners obsolete through an alteration of the cryptocurrency’s instance of the Ethash mining algorithm.

EIP 958 was included on the agenda for the latest meeting of Ethereum core developers, which was held on Friday and live streamed on YouTube.

The proposal is wildly popular in the Ethereum community. At present, it has 1,082 upvotes to just 46 downvotes on Github.

However, in the meeting, Ethereum’s core developers said that they were hesitant to adopt such a monumental and potentially chaotic change, particularly given that the cryptocurrency’s long-term roadmap already includes a transition away from mining and to a Proof-of-Stake (PoS) consensus algorithm.

Noting that the advertised specifications for Bitmain’s Antminer E3 — the first Ethash ASIC miner — represented an efficiency factor of approximately 250 percent over conventional GPU-based Ethereum mining, Vitalik Buterin said that the complexities involved with waging a war on ASICs are not currently justifiable.

“Getting everybody to upgrade is likely to be fairly chaotic and detract from more important things. So, at this point I personally lean quite significantly towards no action,” he said.

“Worst case scenario is basically like that Bitmain controls a very large portion of the Ethereum network for some period of time,” Buterin added. “This is not Bitcoin, right? Miners are not in control here. If there comes a day when they have majority hashpower and try to use it for evil, then it will basically just speed up Casper development.”

The developers noted that they could still pursue action against the development of Ethash ASIC miners if the community demanded it, but it is too soon to tell whether the prevailing sentiment will shift now that several of the core developers have made their views clear.

Featured image from Shutterstock.


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Raphael Putong