Programmable Proof of Work (ProgPow): is this the ultimate weapon against ASICs?

Deepit AG
Deepit AG
Sep 24, 2018 · 3 min read

Located at block #542524, Bitcoin Interest (BCI), the coin born in January 2018 from a Bitcoin fork, has operated a new hard-fork introducing the “ProgPow” mining algorithm, which was specifically designed to counter the advancement of ASICs in the field that’s prerogative of GPU-mining (Ethash, Equihash, Cryptonight).

This algorithm, which stems from Keccak f800, has been fine-tuned to make all parts of the GPU work, thereby reducing the percentage of improvement that can be achieved through the design and production of specific ASICs. In other words, for an ASIC to achieve the same performance as a GPU in the mining of the ProgPow algorithm, this ASIC should be built… Like a GPU.

In the mining of other algorithms, ASICs can achieve performance from 2 times (Ethash) up to 50 times (Cryptonight) higher than GPUs, while in the case of ProgPow the percentage of improvement drops to a mere 1.2 times — making it unjustifiable to invest in the production of specific ASICs, and in fact making ProgPow an “ASIC-resistant” algorithm.

BCI’s experiment is interesting not only because it is the first coin to use this new algorithm (acting as a “workshop” for future applications on more important currencies, first and foremost Z-Cash and Ethereum) but also because of the further new features introduced in the 2.0 version of the coin, known as “Equinox”.

Bitcoin Interest is currently a coin based on Proof of Work for the purpose of creating consensus, however it has implemented a “staking” system with which BCI owners are paid when they decide to deposit quantities of BCIs for fixed periods of time.

The interest paid to the stakers is taken from a fund fed by the 8% of the production of new coins.

Currently no verification activity is required from the stakers, and therefore BCI’s blockchain remains based on PoW. With Equinox, the halving foreseen in two years’ time (i.e. a 50% reduction in the miners’ reward for the production of each block) has been eliminated and it has been decided that for the next 5.5 years the reward will remain at 12.5 BCI/block.

Going back to staking, some changes have been introduced creating three “Pools” to split the stakers according to the amount of coins stored and therefore avoiding that the large investors can penalize the minor ones in the distribution of interests.

In addition, Proof of Ownership has been introduced, which will allow, after registering the address on which the BCIs are deposited, to keep the stakes in their availability without having to transfer them to the aforementioned Pools.

Author: Mauro Baeli, COO @Deepit AG

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