ECIP 1043 Revisited

  • DAG has failed at ASIC Resistance and now serves as deterrent to broader investment in ASICs
  • increasing DAG has negative impact on security and acts as anti-competitive bug preventing investment in mining
  • increasing DAG will eventually reach limit of GPU bus speed
  • smaller DAG allows more GPUs to mine while lowering entry cost
  • if(blkNumber > forkblock) DAG epoch = 0
  • 2019–03–17 4% GPU 3GB
  • 2020–11–30 10% Bitmain E3 4GB
  • 2020–11–30 36% GPU 4GB
  • 2024–04–30 36% GPU 6GB
  • 2027–09–29 9% GPU 8GB
  • 2030+ 5% GPU 10GB and up
  • Predictability
    Predictability is connected to fairness, competition, stability and even recyling, and looks like the most important consideration to us. Predictability creates fairness. Shocks and nonlinear benefits should be minimized.
  • Cost Advantages
    Decentralization is the result of three goals mainly — to have a system that is trustless, permissionless and resilient.
    From a hardware perspective, avoiding centralization means avoiding persistant cost advantages. Thorough cost analysis must be standard practice.
    What works against this is that you are never sure there is not some unknown way to be faster or cheaper. Calculations are based on one’s own assumptions and may not apply to others. We can calculate the limitations of things we know, but we cannot prove that there cannot be something better we don’t know.
  • Competition
    There are currently 4 vendors for Ethash (Nvidia, AMD, Bitmain, Innosilicon), a 5th one announced (Linzhi). There may be other startups preparing for solutions in the future, but the current economics make investment difficult for everyone.
  • Recycling
    We think existing miners should not be bricked frivolously. PoW changes should consider input from chip designers in how the resulting chips can be more useful to scale crypto applications beyond just PoW. Usefulness and security are not mutually exclusive.
  • Immutability
    Every hardfork, and every feature in a hardfork, threatens the promise of immutability and should go through a rigorous process — ECIP.
  • seed -> cache -> DAG
  • cache is DAG/64
  • current DAG is ‘relatively’ dynamic, the entire 3GB changes every epoch (4–5 days), and grows by approx. 8 MB/epoch
  • DAG growth approx. 50 MB/month, 600MB/year
  • ROM is 3x cheaper than RAM
  • constant data encourages over-specialized development that is technologically a dead-end
  • SRAM and eDRAM need to be considered
  • maximum chip size is, generally, 26mm x 33mm
  • we assume it would be easy for Bitmain to come out with a 6GB E3
  • we assume it would be easy for Innosilicon to come out with an 8GB A10
  • We think allowing the DAG to grow at the current approx. 8 MB / epoch (50 MB / month) rates high on predictability, and thus stability, fairness and security. This includes obsolescence of 4 GB GPUs (and Bitmain E3) in December 2020.
  • If people believe DAG growth should be limited, we propose 3 GB because that is proven to be stable right now. We also think it’s important that the data itself remains dynamic (changes with every epoch), and does not become one large constant. ROM is 3x cheaper than RAM.
  • To increase predictability and fairness, we propose a significant interval of one year between hardfork and activation of DAG fixing:
    if(blkNumber > forkblock + 2200000) DAG epoch = 250

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