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Ethereum’s Most-Talked About Upgrade Will Have to Wait until Istanbul 2

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It is all systems go as Ethereum heads towards its hard fork, Istanbul. This will take the second-largest coin by market cap from a proof-of-work, to a proof-of-stake blockchain, but it will not have the mining algorithm upgraded to ProgPow.

ProgPow is an Ethereum Improvement Protocol designed with casual miners at heart. It is an algorithm that favour GPU mining at the expense of ASIC bullies with the intended purpose being better decentralisation. 

However, with the upcoming fork imminent, ProgPow will not be part of it is because of an ongoing security audit of the protocol. ProgPow will likely have to wait until the end of next year when it can be included along with EC arithmetic in Istanbul 2.

ProgPow, as a mining upgrade, has been wholly taken aboard as a good idea. Upwards of 75 percent of miners who turned in for the voting of ProgPow implementation voted in its favour, but, it still has some detractors, and that is part of the reason for the audit.

Some people are against ProgPow on more philosophical levels; they do not believe that prioritising GPU miners is a step forward for a blockchain that is trying to launch into a new era. 

Scott Lewis, co-founder of Concourse, said:

“ProgPOW is a mistake. The current and future users of ethereum deserve better. GPU miners should NOT get a bailout. Ethereum governance should not be giving out bailouts unless the survival of ethereum is on the line. If it ever is again, we should move fast and decisively.”

Another example of the anti-ProgPow brigade comes from Martin Koppelmann, Founder of Gnosis, he said:

“Really not sure why ProgPOW is still planned for the hard fork. My understanding of Ethereum governance is that hard forks are only made if there is a wide community consensus around them. I think this is critical of Ethereum being able to become a base settlement layer.”

On the other side of things, Kristy-Leigh Minehan, who is one of the people behind ProgPow, has said the power of the algorithm rests in its ability to decentralise Ethereum further and allow for more everyday users to enter its space. 

ASIC mining is a rich man’s game, she outlines. It doesn’t matter if you care about the ecosystem or not; it is about making money. Whereas GPU mining requires some thought and effort, and this leads to better understanding and care in the Ethereum.

Regardless of people’s viewpoints though, it looks as if ProgPow will be inevitable, but the question is now instead when, not if, it will be implemented. 

Darryn Pollock
Darryn has been interested in the blockchain and cryptocurrency space since he heard about Bitcoin in 2015. He then decided to use his journalism degree to report on this fascinating fintech space in 2016, and has not looked back since.

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