Let's ditch proof of work mining!

roz303roz303 Member Posts: 66
I don't think PoW mining for ether makes any sense for generating ether. PoW was developed to consume resources for calculations to support their network. Ethereum is much more than a currency - so why are we going to use a system that consumes resources to generate ether, rather than reward people for giving their resources to Ethereum to support the more general purpose design? I'd like to propose the idea of following MaidSafe with their proof of resource system. It makes sense, don't you think?

I also like the idea of etherboxes - small, dedicated ASICs that do nothing but run contracts. Maybe a proof of work system could be developed based on running contracts rather than mining ethereum directly?

These are just some ideas I've had. I'd love to see what the community thinks! :)


  • roz303roz303 Member Posts: 66

    I believe the plan is start with POW then switch over to POS. I'll leave it to other members to explain this, as they would do a much better job than I could. Here are some blog posts by Vitalik on the subject. Cheers!

    Vitalik on POS:

    Vitalik on POW:

    Ah, see, Vitalik was on to something suggesting PoW involving contract processing!

    I don't see why Ethereum ASICs are such a bad thing. What if they were EVM implementations? The network would process contracts a hell of a lot faster, and more effeciently. My problem is that PoW wastes resources. Considering Ethereum is general purpose, not just focusing on a single computational task like bitcoin, it seems to me that mining ethereum rather than being rewarded with ethereum for resource contribution would be a waste.
  • ryepdxryepdx Member Posts: 13
    edited April 2015
    The problem with ASICs is that they change the economics of participating in the network as a full participant. They create a centralizing effect where well-funded actors are able to gain network share at a faster rate than the rest of the participants. PoS doesn't escape that dynamic entirely, of course, but I'd expect it to be less pronounced than it is under PoW schemes. The barrier to entry for staking is lower than for mining for one. And you don't end up with antagonistic dynamics between the miners buying hardware and the miners producing and selling hardware (after mining with it until it's no longer profitable), which only serves to further exacerbate the centralization problem.

    One solution would be to create a PoW algorithm that's 100% orthogonal to the normal operation of consumer computing devices. The competition that would result from people running PoW on hardware they bought for other purposes while that hardware is not in use would help ensure that there would always be more money to be made in producing the consumer devices than in mining with them. It would help prevent mining centralization simply because mining would not in itself be a profitable enterprise, yet people with devices that can mine would have no trouble turning their devices to that purpose in order to offset some of the device's purchase price.

    Ethereum started out trying to implement such an algorithm, IIRC, hence the EVM. Executing EVM instructions were going to be the PoW. It's still kinda like that now, I believe, but it's being augmented with a memory-hard algorithm in an attempt to approximately target the computational capabilities of a consumer-grade desktop computer. That won't hold off ASICs forever, of course. The development of scrypt ASICs should be a pretty clear demonstration of that. Hence the plans to move to PoS eventually.
  • roz303roz303 Member Posts: 66
    edited April 2015
    ryepdx said:

    That won't hold off ASICs forever, of course.

    Okay, so if this is the way it'll go with Ethereum, why fight it? It seems pointless in the long run if we know it'll happen. Every CPU algorithm has either been turned in to GPU algorithms or ASICs... Even X11 algorithms are getting an ASIC!


    And even then, people are still going to sit down and code miners that were once CPU-Only to GPUs, again setting the barrier too high for people like me to join in on the mining game.

    If we know centralization through PoW ASICs is inevitable, why are we going to try and fight them with another whale-friendly system? Actually PoS centralization there might be worse. This is because the barrier to entry is really just how much money you're willing to spend, right? So then, nothing is stopping centralization when the mining whales switch over to becoming staking whales.

    I'm not going to sit here and argue points if I don't have anything to show for it. I might just work on a new algorithm and play with that on a testnet of my own, and see if anyone likes it. Ambitious, no? :smile:
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