Ethereum developers present audit results to ProgPoW

Juan Aponte by Juan Aponte - 01:10 AM Sep 11, 2019
Ethereum developers present audit results to ProgPoW

Hudson Jameson, a member of the Ethereum Foundation, published the results of the audits for ProgPoW (or Programmatic Work Test) on Tuesday, September 10. The audit process responded to concerns in the Ethereum community about the possible implementation of the proposed algorithm to combat ASIC miners in Ethereum.

In a Medium publication, the developer pointed out that, apart from the evaluation led by the Ethereum Cat Herders group of developers, the implementation of the mining algorithm will depend on the community's decision. They do hope that such an audit of the ProgPoW code "will help the community decide the best way forward," the text highlights.

"It is not the responsibility of Ethereum Cat Herders to decide if ProgPoW will be implemented. That decision is up to the community, including miners, dapps developers, primary developers, and those who run or use the Ethereum software.

Hudson Jameson, member of the Ethereum Foundation

The process consisted of a first stage, in which Ethereum Cat Herders evaluated the community's positions regarding ProgPoW. These results were presented last March. This investigation resulted in disagreements among Ethereum members. Some of the visions were not only to consider the inclusion of the new algorithm to the Ethereum blockchain code to be hasty but even unnecessary.

Results of the audits to ProgPoW

In this second stage, ProgPoW code and hardware audits were carried out. The cybersecurity consultant Least Authority audited the ProgPoW code. The team in charge of this audit left some proposals to improve the operation of the mining algorithm.

Among them is a solution to possible attacks. There is also the creation of new documentation to give details that are not clear in the current proposal documents. In this way, they claim from Least Authority, and it could be made "easier for other members of the community to understand how ProgPoW works."

The document includes another outstanding proposal: to create a team to evaluate the possible resistance levels of specialized ASIC mining equipment to the new algorithm. The goal of this team would be to be prepared to give stability to the operation of ProgPoW, "particularly if mining continues to be a growing industry," the document points out.

As for the evaluation of the behavior of the hardware devices concerning ProgPoW, the person in charge of making the audit was Bob Rao, a specialist in retired computer science of the company developer of chips processors, Intel.

In his audit, Rao determined that the algorithm "works well to mitigate conventional ASIC strategies that only address the acceleration" of memory algorithm computation. However, the computer scientist considered that there remains "an imminent threat to memory intensive algorithms in general.

These algorithms require ASIC miners to access large amounts of commercially unavailable memory, making the mining process difficult. The advancement of Moore's Law, Rao says, already allows chips to be made with massive amounts of memory, for example, of 100 million transistors per square millimeter.

Expectations for the future

Last August, the leading developers of Ethereum defined the changes that will include the next fork of Ethereum, Istanbul; the whose testing network will be launched in October this year.

That list did not include ProgPoW since the results of the audits published this Tuesday were still missing. Thus, the new algorithm has been relegated to a subsequent update, scheduled for some time in the first quarter of 2020. However, there is still no final decision on whether ProgPoW will finally be activated. The evaluation is a new step for the Ethereum development team to decide.

About The Author
Juan Aponte

Juan AponteI am an industrial engineer specializing in blockchain. Enthusiast of cryptocurrencies and writing the latest news regarding the Crypto world.