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ETH · 22w

The ProgPoW Team Admits They're Working With Nvidia and AMD

After we detailed accusations of corporate favoritism by a team behind a proposed ethereum Proof of Work (PoW) change, the semi-anonymous ProgPow team has now effectively admitted they’re working with both Nvidia and AMD. Someone called “IfDefElse” says:

“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.”

They do not state what the feedback was from the Ethereum Foundation or “core devs.” Nor do they say who those core devs were. Of AMD, they say:

“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 ASIC for ProgPoW, but they would need GPU-specific knowledge, specifically around memory controllers.”

A miner called Linzhi claims they “can accelerate ProgPOW by 3x to 8x.” That’s disputed by Kristy-Leigh Minehan, the only known person from the ProgPoW team. While AMD is stating you can develop a ProgPoW asics, but you’d need specialized GPU knowledge. Alexander Levin Jr, president of gpuShack and founder of ethosdistro, says:

“In the past, using algorithms specifically for ‘ASIC-resistance’ has created unfair competitive advantages for first-movers because it increases the requirement for Research&Development. In the case of ProgPoW, the author is the first mover.”

ProgPow has been in development since circa the second half of 2018. It appears this was done in collaboration with Nvidia and AMD as far as feedback is concerned.

Soon after a very small group of eth devs tentatively gave the go ahead to ProgPoW, Minehan’s employer Core Scientific ...

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