In the early days of Bitcoin mining mere CPU’s were used to secure the network and in turn they were rewarded with Bitcoin for their hard work, as time progressed the network difficulty increased and GPU’s became the only effective way to mine. Eventually Chip developers saw the profit potential in developing chips specifically designed to mine the Cryptocurrency.
This chain of events is not dissimilar to what we are now seeing occur with many other Cryptocurrencies. Siacoin and Dash have both proposed hardforks to prevent Bitmains latest offerings to the ASIC market from producing any significant work, likewise the Ethereum community have also proposed a hard fork to limit the usefulness of Bitmains Antminer E3. The GPU mining business is a prominent one and has allowed crypto-enthusiasts without large amounts of capital to get involved in the mining space, with GPU’s available from their local PC Store expanding ones hash-rate has been far more convenient than the now monopolised Bitcoin mining space.
Below is a comparison table for Bitmains E3 compared to all the major GPU’s on the market, as you can see its more than twice as profitable than the most efficient GPU. At just $4.4 per MH/s the E3 would/will wipe ultimately make Ethereum GPU mining obsolete.
The ASIC’s will ultimately put an end to GPU mining for Ethereum so the upset within the community is understandable, however that doesn’t mean ASIC’s are a bad thing. In fact using ASIC’s rather than GPU’s is far more efficient and thus secures the Ethereum network much better. Also it’s all very well forking the Ethereum network to introduce some ASIC resistant code, but to what end? ASIC manufacturers will develop new hardware which will work around this fork and another fork will need to be introduced, and so on.
This is exactly what DASH are going to be doing, every six months will see a new fork to ensure all attempts at developing ASIC’s for the network are quashed before they get a chance to take off. But this isn’t a very practical approach and seems like a huge amount of effort and time for an issue which will in the great scheme of things is not so important. Which appears to be exactly what Vitalik Buterin is thinking.
Vitalik Speaks Out
Ethereum Core developer Piper Merriam has already detailed a technical proposal for how this ASIC resistance could be achieved. However Buterun is not convinced this is the best course of action for the project overall:
“Getting everybody to upgrade is likely to be fairly chaotic and detract from more important things. So, at this point I personally lean quite significantly towards no action.”
With Ethereum heading towards a Proof-of-Stake anyway this debate would soon become moot anyway.
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