Ethereum developers will conduct the ProgPoW fork, despite the negatives. ProgPoW opponents consider that this change will only benefit GPU miners.
The Programmatic Proof-of-Work (ProgPoW) is an algorithm aimed at benefiting mining with graphics processing units (GPU) over mining with application-specific integrated circuits (ASIC). It should be mentioned that the proposal was introduced in 2018 as a solution to keep Ethereum’s processing power decentralized.
Since ASICs concentrate large amounts of hash rate, some members of the Ethereum community consider them a threat to the proper functioning of the network. Such devices can be used for 51% of the attacks, where one or more miners concentrate a large processing power to manipulate transactions.
Their high performance also allows ASIC miners to concentrate on higher profits whilst reducing GPU mining profitability. For this reason, ProgPoW implies a design whose processing requirements are adapted to GPU miners. In this sense, ASIC mining loses profitability with minimal earnings, while GPU mining gains ground.
Changes Will Occur in July
Last February 20th, Ethereum developers agreed to implement the ProgPoW proposal to the blockchain code. They decided to conduct two hard forks between June and July 2020, according to the hard fork coordinator at Ethereum, James Hancock.
The first fork, Berlin, will perform technical upgrades on the network and prepare the community for deposits in the Ethereum 2.0 blockchain. On the other hand, the fork Standalone will be focused on changing the algorithm, thus introducing ProgPoW mining to Ethereum.
According to plan, Ethereum would start using the ProgPoW algorithm in late July, when the launch of Ethereum 2.0. was scheduled. This new network will use the Proof of Stake (PoS) to approve transactions and create new blocks.
Those Opposing ProgPoW
Among the Ethereum users against ProgPoW algorithm are personalities such as Ameen Soleimani and Eric Conner. The common argument among them is that ProgPoW is an outdated upgrade.
Marck Zeller, Aave researcher and founder of TheBlockCafe, said that the developers had not upgraded the algorithm at the right time. Also, Soleimani stated in March 2019 that this new algorithm is not a priority since Ethereum 2.0 is also a solution to the predominance of ASICs.
Eric Conner stated that he will leave his node working on a new Ethereum version without ProgPoW whilst expecting the launch of Ethereum 2.0. These types of statements make users fear that the change in the algorithm will lead to a non-consensual fork on the network.
Some Say Yes to ProgPoW
Despite the arguments against the ProgPoW, some Ethereum developers and holders insist that this new algorithm will help the network. According to James Hancock, the proposal should be implemented as it has already been audited and approved by the developers.
Likewise, he believes that the fact that Ethereum 2.0 is being developed in parallel is no excuse to stop the development of the current network. It should be considered that the next blockchain could be enabled later than expected due to some delays last year.
Engineer Jacob Wright also said that he would upgrade his node to ProgPoW. He believes that the new algorithm will improve the network and will allow smooth transactions to Ethereum 2.0.
Some users think that this upgrade will protect Ethereum from about 51% of the attacks that might occur during the months before the migration of the new blockchain is completed.
By Alexander Salazar