Verus Community Discovers Secret FPGA Miners on the Network — You Won’t Believe What Happens Next!
Number 8 == Mind Blown!
The Discovery of Secret Miners
Just a few short weeks ago, the CPU and GPU miners of Verus Coin confronted the emerging model of secret FPGA mining, a trend that threatens many proof of work crypto communities. Fortunately, Verus Coin’s proof of power consensus algorithm, a hybrid of proof of work and proof of stake, had just been proven immune to 51% hash attacks, leaving the project more protected than most blockchains in such a scenario.
At the same time, with the significant economic advantage that owners of FPGA systems had over CPUs and GPUs for mining, Verus Coin’s hash power quickly centralized to mainly FPGA miners…and die-hard community members who remained dedicated to the ideals of the Verus Project and trusted that the Verus community devs would solve this problem, as they had so many in the past.
Rather than fork to yet another random selection of hash algorithms or the hardest of memory hard solutions to reduce the types of FPGAs that could even run a hash, the Verus Coin community and developers decided to take a completely new approach.
Now, since we know you’re DYING to find out the mind-blowing answer to number 8, we’ll get right to the point, skip numbers 1 through 7 and go straight to 8!
Number 8 (aka What Happened Next!)
As soon as FPGAs were confirmed, an immediate and intense effort by community devs and others on everything from the wallet to the pools, to Electrum servers, and exchanges resulted in a brand new and very different hardware equalization algorithm that somehow, the Verus Community managed to activate, in what could possibly be described as a “perfect fork”, only weeks from when FPGA miners were confirmed.
Unlike past efforts to equalize hardware hash-rates across different hardware types, VerusHash 2.0 explicitly enables CPUs to gain even more power relative to GPUs and FPGAs, enabling the most decentralizing hardware, CPUs (due to their virtually complete market penetration), to stay relevant as miners for the indefinite future.
And how appropriate that the numbers on the newly released GPU miner came in, demonstrating successful hardware equalization on Jan 3, the 10th anniversary of Bitcoin itself. To our knowledge, VerusHash 2.0 is the first algorithm to fully equalize GPUs in a way that leaves them an option for mining, but not as fast or efficient as mid-to-high-end CPUs.
A Foundation of Decentralization
Bitcoin originally began as simply digital, peer-to-peer money, secured using a distributed proof of work consensus algorithm, with the work (mining) originally being designed to run on CPUs.
Why CPUs? What’s so special about them? Was it because more powerful hardware didn’t yet exist? At the time it could have been designed to be mined by more powerful devices, corporate budget-level computing, IBM mainframes.
Why did Satoshi point to CPUs as the original hardware for mining? And was it Satoshi’s intent to see his algorithm put out of reach of the masses with computers by companies making specialized hardware?
In Verus Coin, the community consensus was clear: focus on decentralization and have no fear when solving any problem presented. The community bet is that Satoshi would have preferred that mining be accessible to the broadest number of people, and that enabling CPUs to continue to mine, even alongside more specialized hardware, would be a holy grail of decentralization.
An FPGA is a specialized hardware device, similar to an ASIC in performance and design but, unlike an ASIC, is re-programmable. It requires advanced development of mining algorithms, which are released as “bitstreams”, used to flash the memory of the FPGA to the latest algorithm of the target coin(s).
Verus community member Seth David (aka Godballz on Discord) just published a very informative and interesting article discussing FPGAs and other specialized hardware in more depth. You can read his post here.
Verus lead developer Mike Toutonghi reached out to the company behind the FPGA bitstream and secret mining community, in an effort to work together for the betterment of open source FPGA mining software which could work well with the new VerusHash algorithm, which he was designing to bring equalization between hardware types.
Although the company did not come to an agreement with the Verus Coin community, Verus made the decision to fork to a newly developed algorithm. In under 3 weeks, the update was released, and the fork was set for December 28 at block height 310,000 on the Verus blockchain.
VerusHash 2.0 Design
While this new algorithm was only mineable by CPU hardware in the first week, with GPUs to soon follow, the lead developer of Verus Coin, Mike Toutonghi worked closely with the primary community GPU dev to help ensure that GPUs had the best chance possible to mine effectively on the new algorithm as well.
“I believe in progress. Progress of hardware, software, AND algorithms. We are doing this to create an algorithm that doesn’t favor one type of hardware over another, but helps ensure that proof of work measurement is economically comparable across as many types of hardware and with a total of the broadest distribution possible.” — Mike Toutonghi
Early, unoptimized reports, reveal a likely optimized GPU performance level that could range from the low to the middle-high range of CPU price/performance, landing solidly on the low end of the same order of magnitude.
The algorithm leverages the features of modern CPUs, leaving other hardware such as GPU or FPGA, already advantaged in other ways, to do the same work using whatever optimizations developers of such software and hardware are able to achieve. For example, modern CPUs have higher clock speeds than FPGAs, highly integrated internal ASICs, and on-chip memory, the fastest being it’s L1 Cache.
By designing VerusHash 2.0 such that it utilizes each of these advantages to run more efficiently, any device without them needs to find other ways to get those same efficiencies. Rather than explicitly attempting to block FPGAs or GPUs from functioning on the algorithm, the approach simply goes all out in leveraging efficiencies that CPUs can bring to the table, leaving FPGAs and GPUs to fend for themselves in other ways.
Bringing Mining into Balance
VerusHash 2.0 is a result of something much deeper at the roots of the Verus project and in the principles of the founders, developers and community of Verus itself. You guessed it, decentralization and understanding truly what it is, why it’s important, and how to implement it effectively. Decentralization is the principle that allows us to participate in consensus without the need for a trusted third or centralized party. It allows the people to have a voice that matters and makes a difference. It’s not just a technical term to toss around or stick on a project to get the ratings.
Within the Verus project, decentralization is a foundational principle upon which the project, its fair launch, the technology, and the Verus community is built. If some group comes along looking to centralize in order to gain an unfair advantage, then the entire Verus community, as proven with VerusHash 2.0, is going to work to counter that centralization effort, in order to continue supporting a state of balance that works for everyone and which continues to favor decentralization.
What Verus has achieved, with early numbers already in, is the creation of the first ever mining algorithm to fully equalize GPU performance with CPUs. There is still a great deal of optimization work in progress on GPUs in the community, but it is pretty clear that for VerusHash 2.0, GPUs will not dominate CPUs. The numbers on FPGAs are not in yet, as no one to my knowledge has completed an FPGA mining algorithm that works.
The results the community is seeing with GPUs, before optimization, strongly indicate that FPGAs, even if 20x more efficient than GPUs, will also not prevent CPUs from remaining viable miners on the Verus Coin network. Two FPGA companies have already expressed that they are working on implementation of the VerusHash 2.0 algorithm, so the great news is that VerusHash 2.0 is likely to also be the first ever field-proven solution to effective hardware equalization across current generations of today’s best mining solutions.
Mine Your Own Verus Today!
Want to start earning Verus with your PC? It’s easy and you can start in the next 5 minutes:
The bottom line of this article is whether you’re a casual miner or a pro, you can start earning Verus on your PC within minutes and with no more than a single CPU, just like the early days of Bitcoin!
Our community is one of the most active, helpful and inviting mining communities in crypto and we are excited to help you earn your own $VRSC.
If you run into any snags, join our Verus Discord at https://discord.gg/VRKMP2S