Ethereum Drops ASIC Miners in Constantinople Hardfork?
Main page Analytics, Mining, Ethereum, Hard Fork

Ethereum ASIC miner developed by Bitmain – a leading company specializing in producing the equipment for mining Bitcoin, Litecoin, and Bitcoin Cash, has appeared in the market in April. According to the statement, shipping for all orders was expected to begin after 16 July 2018 and before 31 July 2018.

However, the discussion among the ethereum community anticipating the future release of EThash ASIC miner has shown that so far not everyone expects the device with enthusiasm.

The poll conducted on Twitter by one of the ETH developers Vlad Zamfir at the end of March has shown that ETH users support adopting a hardfork that would allow the cryptocurrency’s Proof-of-Work (PoW) Ethash mining algorithm to resist ASIC miners. Back then Zamfir has clarified that his poll was not in regard to a specific proposal, rather that he was just curious about the community sentiment.

In the Middle of September Linzhi, a manufacturer of ASIC miners, has reported their plans to produce their own equipment for EThash mining, promising it to be more efficient than Antminer by Bitmain. According to the company, Linzhi’s ASIC miners will consume eight times less energy than the popular Antminer E3. At the same time, the hashing speed will be much higher than Bitmain’s development rate: 1400 MH/s against 190. The developer added that at the current price of the Ethereum and the network's features, the miner will be able to earn $20 per day, while the rival miner can only get $3. It will go on sale in April 2019, the initial cost is not reported.

At the meeting for Ethereum developers held last Friday of September, Ethereum head of the Security Foundation Martin Holst Swende supported an idea to amend the PoW-algorithm designed to block the work of ASIC-mining in the network. Among the ETH developers there are opinions that the use of ASIC-miners can increase centralization in the network. Ethash — which is also used by Ethereum Classic and a variety of other coins — has been ASIC-resistant, which allowed the algorithm to be mined profitably using GPU chips. Currently, the GPU miners are discussing alternative scenarios as mining ethereum is not profitable for them anymore.

At the meeting, Swende noted that a change to the software called ProgPoW should be implemented in “parallel” with the Constantinople update coming this month, "if the technical underpinnings are there."

Ethereum Tests Constantinople Hardfork

ProgPoW algorithm will make it impossible to use existing ASIC-miners and will prevent the development of such equipment in the future. Even if the manufacturers will decide to create ASIC miners working with ProgPow algorithm, the rewards will be still counted as GPU mining. This will make such devices unprofitable.

"I think it's a very good change and I am for including it as soon as possible", Swende said.

In a comment to CoinDesk, he also added that the testing his proposal can be implemented in "a totally separate testbed" in parallel with the current testing process that is being conducted to prepare Ethereum for the upcoming hardfork.

On the eve of the meeting for developers, Swende has also proposed the introduction of ProgPoW in a "separate hardfork which is decoupled from Constantinople."

"If we eventually decide to set both [upgrades] to the same [block] number, then fine, but that's not a necessity," the developer noted.

The hash rate of the Ethereum network for the last month decreased from 294 TH/s to 246 TH/s, returning to February levels. This is the sharpest decline for the indicator, not only this year but also since the launch of the blockchain in 2015.

Among the recent forecasts regarding the price of the second crypto Thomas Lee, famous cryptocurrency enthusiast and the head of blockchain research at Fundstrat Global Advisors, said that in the foreseeable future Ethereum is going to rebound.

Lee expects the token to reach $1,900 by the end of 2018. Earlier he also noted that the year price target for the bitcoin is $25,000.

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