Ethereum Holds Off Mining Algorithm Change Amid Calls For An Independent Audit

The Ethereum community will not allow the recently proposed change to the mining algorithm to proceed, developers within the community elected not to pass the decision. Notably, the algorithm change would curtail the advantage that miners using ASIC equipment have over users of GPU.

Members of the Ethereum Foundation held a conference call with Ethereum developers late last week. In the call, developers and the management agreed that the ProgPow upgrade should await a third-party upgrade to ascertain its viability. Notably, this is a tentative decision that will allow time to identify the best way forward. Further, the developers agreed that the audits should be frequent and not that a one-time event.

Averting risk of a 51% attack

Particular, the need for the audits is to ascertain if the algorithm change has the capacity to deliver the primary end-point. According to the developers, users of application specific integrated circuits (ASICs) are unfairly ahead due to the effectiveness of the equipment. The ASICs use a chip that solves complex algorithms which makes them much faster. On the other hand, GPUs use graphic cards which might not be as effective as the mining chips.

According to the developers, the competitive advantage of ASICs tends to concentrate Ethereum miners in a particular region. As such, there is the danger of a 51% attack by bad actors since majority of the nodes on the network are in a single region. Therefore, the primary outcome of the algorithm changes to discourage miners from going for ASICs. Eventually, developers hope that the distribution of the mining nodes will even out.  

Ethereum Classic under attack

Interestingly, the impending algorithm change is already having undesirable effects on some other blockchain ecosystems. Notably, there are reports that of a possible double-spending of coins on Ethereum Classic blockchain ecosystem. Ethereum Classic broke from Ethereum and has been running independent operations. However, backers of the project claim that the impending algorithm change is enabling miners to undermine the platform. Interestingly, the algorithm change is fueling deep reorganizations leading to over $1.1million coins to be spent twice.

Unfortunately, this is evidence that the network could be under 51% attack, which Ethereum is trying to avoid. According to Coinbase Inc., a cryptocurrency exchange, this could go on further. Anthony Lusardi, U.S. director of the Ethereum Classic Cooperative said, “It did happen, everything Coinbase published is accurate.”