Ethereum
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ProgPoW FAQ

ProgPoW FAQ

Jan 10

After gaining some mainstream press, we’ve started to receive a number of questions about ProgPoW. We’d like to address a few of the most common.

Q. What’s your stance on Ethereum governance questions?

We don’t have one. We think it’s best left up to the community to answer questions like if, and when, ProgPoW should be adopted. We’ve proposed an algorithm and are happy to answer technical questions about it.

Q. Where did ProgPoW come from?

IfDefElse is a small team that analyzes and optimizes PoW algorithms. We have seen the community repeatedly ask for a PoW algorithm where specialized ASICs have a minimal advantage over commodity hardware available to everyone. It’s been frustrating to watch so many algorithms proposed that are clearly vulnerable to specialized ASICs. The community has been understandably upset each time a specialized ASIC is inevitably produced.

One day last spring we had an idea for how to modify Ethash to accomplish the goal for GPUs. After creating the basic algorithm all development and tuning has taken place on our public GitHub.

Q. Who has looked at ProgPoW?

Once the algorithm settled and received feedback from a close peer group, we were lucky enough to have an email review that included engineers from the Ethereum Foundation, Ethereum Core Devs, Nvidia and AMD. The Nvidia and AMD engineers gave the algorithm a generally positive review.

In addition two algorithm improvements were made thanks to community reviews from mbevand and SChernykh.

Q. What was AMD’s response?

AMD’s response addressed two major concerns:

If the Ethash PoW algorithm was replaced with ProgPoW, wouldn’t ASIC manufacturers be able to quickly look at the open source code, and create a specialized ASIC to mimic it? Would ProgPoW make it more difficult for GPU miners to mine on Ethereum?

An AMD engineer stated that, yes, in theory you could create an AS...

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