Ethereum developers “bless” controversial ProgPoW EIP

ProgPow, an EIP (Ethereum Improvement Proposal) was “blessed” in this week’s Ethereum Core Developer meeting. The improvement would change the way Ethereum is mined to take better advantage of consumer GPUs instead of ASICs which are GPU-like, but specialized for mining.

The contentious decision

ProgPoW has been a tentatively accepted EIP for a while, pending an audit. Both audits conducted on the update passed with very little criticism. The problems people have with ProgPoW are more political than technical.

“I don’t think that there’s anything technically about it that should have been a big distraction.” – Greg Colvin

Martin Köppelmann, the founder of GNOSIS, had a popular complaint which was that the change isn’t essential threat and it ends up favoring one type of miner instead of balancing power.

Another concern over ProgPoW is that it would cause a split in the network. Ethereum updates are always optional, if enough users want to stay in the previous version, they can. One developer suggested that in order to avoid a split, they could implement ProgPow along with a group of EIPs rather than on its own. This way people who didn’t like ProgPoW would still have an incentive to adopt the update

ProgPoW being “blessed” doesn’t give it an official date of implementation, but as long as it is proven to be ready, it is approved. From the tone of the meeting, it seems like developers aren’t all happy about ProgPoW, but they are ready to accept it and move forward.

“We still don’t have a way to reconcile non technical concerns very well” – Hudson Jameson

New EIP implementation format

Along with ProgPoWs furtherance, Ethereum devs were talking about a new method of introducing and blessing EIPs. Currently, EIPs are listed in each major fork. This can give the impression developers are planning to implement EIPs listed on the fork that they are listed on.

In reality, they have nothing to do with the update they are listed on. The primary factor in an EIP being implemented is it’s community acceptance and proven functionality. Devs are planning on creating an “blessed EIP” list separate from fork information in order to stop confusion.