By Josiah Wilmoth
Ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin has come out against a proposal that would alter the second-largest cryptocurrency’s mining algorithm to prevent it from being mined with specialized hardware.
Buterin, who made these comments on Friday at an Ethereum core developer meeting, was responding to a proposal from fellow developer Piper Merriam which intended to make sure that Ethereum mining remains decentralized.
Earlier this week, mining hardware manufacturer Bitmain began accepting preorders for the first Application Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC) miners compatible with Ethash, a Proof-of-Work (Pow) consensus algorithm used by Ethereum and a basket of other cryptocurrencies.
As Strategic Coin reported, ASIC miners – though more efficient – promise to fundamentally alter the nature of Ethereum mining, which is currently done primarily with general-purpose GPU chips and not specialized equipment that can only be obtained from a few manufacturers.
“Getting everybody to upgrade is likely to be fairly chaotic and detract from more important things. So, at this point I personally lean quite significantly towards no action,” CoinDesk cites Buterin as saying during the meeting.
Buterin noted that Ethereum already plans to phase out mining with a future move to a Proof-of-Stake (PoS) consensus algorithm, and he expressed concern that devoting resources on maintaining ASIC resistance in the present could prolong the time it takes to complete this long-awaited transition.
Merriam’s proposal – which is admittedly a short-term solution that may require similar measures in the future – appears to have broad community support, though the reaction among other developers has been decidedly more complex.
“If the community truly wants this to happen and has a good enough reason we can definitely do that, but for right now it sounds like consensus of the core devs to not do anything at this time,” community manager Hudson Jameson said at the end of the discussion.
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