Ethereum Community Comes out Against Controversial ProgPoW

Opposition continues to grow against implementation of the controversial Programmatic Proof-of-Work (ProgPoW) proposal in the Ethereum community.

ProgPoW is an ASIC-resistant PoW algorithm meant to replace ETHhash, the current hashing algorithm for the platform. First mooted two years ago, it suddenly reemerged as a concrete plan set for the middle of this year following a call of core developers on February 21.

Leading stakeholders filed a petition on Github on Feb. 26 to register their disapproval with the decision.

Authored by ETHBoston Organizer Justin Leroux, the petition claims the change lacks community support:

"Because Ethereum is a global platform with a large and diverse group of stakeholders, it is critical that major changes to the protocol have a clear purpose and broad support. EIP-1057 clearly lacks that support, yet activation is still being considered."

Uniswap, DARMA Capital sign up

The petition is signed by more than 70 people including Hayden Adams, CEO and founder of Uniswap, Andrew Keys, co-founder of DARMA Capital, and Tim Coulter, CEO of Truffle Suite.

“Changing the Eth1 hashing algorithm at this point in Ethereum’s evolution sows community division and introduces technical risk at a time when efforts and attention should be focused elsewhere.”

What is the ProgPoW proposal

ProgPoW is a version of the proof-of-work (PoW) algorithm, which is supposed to smooth the transition of the Ethereum network to proof-of-stake (PoS). It’s designed to eliminate the gap in efficiency between Ethereum ASIC miners and graphics processing units (GPU) to protect the Ethereum network against a monopoly of ASIC hardware manufacturers.

Supporters of ProgPow believe the change could help prevent a miner-led fork in the months leading up to Proof of Stake. However, opponents argue the exact opposite could occur. The petition reads:

"A stated goal of ProgPoW is to avoid contentious forks while transitioning to proof-of-stake, yet it is at odds with its own aims if activation increases the likelihood of that undesired outcome."

Ethereum plans to transition away from proof-of-work consensus towards proof-of-stake later with the launch of the first phase of ETH 2.0 in mid-2020.