Least Authority has published their audit of the controversial Ethereum development proposal ProgPoW which aims to change the Ethereum mining algorithm to diminish the efficiency gains available to ASICs.
- Computer security firm Least Authority has published their audit of controversial Ethereum development proposal ProgPoW
- The proposal is noted to likely achieve its design goals but there may be longer-term concerns regarding the techniques used to achieve these goals
- Least Authority proposes a network mined mostly by GPU’s increases security but other analysts hold opposing outlooks
Computer security firm Least Authority have published their audit on the controversial Ethereum development proposal ProgPoW. ProgPoW seeks to diminish the efficiency gains available to ASIC miners by changing the Ethereum mining algorithm Ethash to a new algorithm which adjusts every 12.5 minutes.
ProgPoW Audit Outcome
The ProgPow audit proposed that ProgPoW would likely achieve its design goals but longer-term concerns were raised over the techniques used to achieve these design goals. The techniques were noted to have “not yet been fully proven for the longer term” and warrant “additional review time”.
Despite the longer-term concerns, Least Authority noted that “the ProgPoW algorithm provides better overall security against [mining centralization] and, accordingly, a better defence against a 51% attack, which is largely based on more optimal utilization of the overall features of a GPU.”
No GPU Monopoly
The premise of such a statement is based on the idea that a mining environment comprised of GPU’s results in a more secure network. An analysis of transaction finality in decentralized payment networks by Nic Carter of CoinMetrics puts forward an opposing outlook. Carter proposes that a network’s mining environment being comprised of hardware specific to its mining algorithm (i.e. ASICs) is important for its security.
Furthermore, the network would need to hold a monopoly of the hash power of such hardware or otherwise would be at risk of miners on other larger networks redirecting their hash rate to launch an attack on their chain. For example, Bitcoin currently holds the dominant share of the hash rate for hardware specific for the SHA-256 mining algorithm. Given the large number of GPU’s in existence, Carter highlights this as a security concern.
“GPU-mined coins cannot ever be monopolists on their hardware because there are so many GPUs in the world”Nic Carter, CoinMetrics