Ethereum [ETH] ProgPow: ASIC resistance is a myth and a fallacy, says developer

Kristy-Leigh Minehan, a ProgPow developer, spoke about the purpose of ProgPow and what ASIC resistance was in the context of ProgPow, in an interview with BlockChannel.

The discussion began with Dr. Corey Petty, one of the hosts of BlockChannel, giving a brief introduction to ASIC resistance. On this, he stated that ASIC proof was a “misnomer”, adding that people could always build a specialized piece of hardware that ran a particular algorithm. He further stated that ASIC resistance with regard to cryptocurrency was to make an algorithm that was “difficult to create a highly efficient counter-part hardware that’s hard to get to”.

The host stated that in simple terms, people would not be able to build another machine that performs a particular algorithm that is faster and uses lesser power compared to the one that is available to the average consumer. He added that the goal of ProgPow was to make an algorithm that “matches almost perfectly to commodity hardware, i.e., GPUs, such that it’s not economically feasible to create ASICs”, but not entirely impossible.

This was followed by Minehan speaking about ASIC resistance in the context of ProgPow and its goal. She stated that ASIC resistance was, indeed, a “myth” and a “fallacy”, adding that Proof-of-Work [PoW] required “some form of ASIC to do the work”. The developer went on to state,

“[…] Proof of Work is inherently about having a mathematical proof of cost in both hardware and energy. Now, Ethash as an algorithm could not capture a big part of that hardware expense, the compute engine in the mathematic proof; instead, it only captured the memory interface […]”

She further stated that ProgPow referred to capturing “the entirety of hardware cost as best as it can”. She stated,

“This is why power consumption goes up because it starts using the GPU core, something that was inherently ignored by ETHash. Why? because it’s incredibly hard to balance the design across the AMD and Nvidia. It requires expertise in both GPU architecture down at the assembly level and down at the hardware level.”

This was followed by the developer stating that one of the biggest arguments surrounding ASICs was that it generates more hash rate, thereby making the network more secure. On the contrary, she stated that the hash rate does not really work that way, adding that it was the measure of energy cost.

“[…] as long as everyone is measured in the same way, the energy consumption per unit does not matter, a miner will continue to invest in as much energy or as much hash rate they can afford. The operating cost economics do no change because you switch the units of measurements from EtHash to ProgPow hash […] So, inherently that is what ProgPow aims to do. It aims to close this efficiency gap available to specialized ASICs”

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