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ProgPoW Audit: Goals & Expectations

Hudson Jameson
Mar 25, 2019 · 4 min read

Why are the Ethereum Cat Herders reviewing ProgPoW?

  • Due to the evolution of thinking that resulted in the delay in Ethereum’s move from Proof of Work to Proof of Stake there grew a belief among some groups in the community that the current Ethereum Proof of Work algorithm Ethash could be gamed by ASIC manufacturers. Therefore resulting in ASIC miners starting to monopolize the network hash rate leading to threats of centralization.
  • A small community group called IfDefElse proposed a new algorithm called ProgPoW. Built on top of Ethash it is suggested that it would reduce the hash rate benefit future ASICs would enjoy over GPUs to a maximum of 20%.
  • NOTE: ProgPoW aims to decrease the economic incentive to build an ASIC, not to prevent the ability to build one.
  • The community behind ProgPoW has been promoting ProgPoW, which has subsequently become EIP-1057, for several months within the Ethereum Community and in the Ethereum Core Developer Calls.
  • The Ethereum Core Developers on the 4 January 2019 tentatively approved the implementation of ProgPoW in Meeting 52 and it was then decided that this tentative decision would be subject to a review/audit in Meeting 54 on February 1, 2019 to be managed by the Ethereum Cat Herders (see this Reddit post for more details).
  • The Ethereum Cat Herders have identified two main tasks around this review/audit of ProgPoW:
  • Gauge community sentiment and general consensus towards ProgPoW
  • Perform a technical audit of ProgPoW

How was sentiment gauged?

Surveys/Interviews

Coin vote

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Coin vote showing 94% Yes and 6% No

As of this post the results are overwhelmingly in favor of ProgPoW.

Miner vote

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Miner vote showing 100% Yes and 0% No

As of this post, the miner vote is overwhelmingly in favor of ProgPoW.

Why is a technical audit of ProgPoW required?

What is the technical ProgPoW audit examining?

Note: This list is not exhaustive and these or new items may or may not be included in the final audit dependent on finding an auditor with the skills to perform these evaluations and procuring the funding for the audit.

  1. The expected effects of ProgPoW on the security of Ethereum vis-a-vis: Security of the algorithm, attack surface, cost of 51% attack, and other security risks that may result from a change from Ethash to ProgPoW.
  2. ProgPoW meeting the goal of ASIC resistance: Known methods to speed up the calculation of the hash function, length of time it would it take to create a ProgPoW ASIC (if R&D begins immediately), and expected efficiency gains from the first generation of said ASICs.
  3. Identify any potential advantages or disadvantages that ProgPoW would present in comparison to Ethash in terms of changes to the network, “fair mining” and evaluate any potential uneven distribution

Who is performing the audit and what is the timeline for the audit?

How will the audit be funded?

Conclusion

Ethereum Cat Herders

Ethereum community-led project management

Hudson Jameson

Written by

Ethereum Foundation. Co-Founder at Oaken Innovations. I enjoy cats, my wife, ice cream, tabletop RPG, and analog to digital media conversion. He/Him.

Ethereum Cat Herders

Ethereum community-led project management

Hudson Jameson

Written by

Ethereum Foundation. Co-Founder at Oaken Innovations. I enjoy cats, my wife, ice cream, tabletop RPG, and analog to digital media conversion. He/Him.

Ethereum Cat Herders

Ethereum community-led project management

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