Funding Approved for Audit of Ethereum's ProgPoW Mining Proposal

Funding has been raised to conduct a technical audit over "ProgPoW" – a hotly-debated proposal to change ethereum's mining algorithm.

AccessTimeIconApr 26, 2019 at 6:00 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 13, 2021 at 9:06 a.m. UTC
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Ethereum developers announced today that funding has been approved to audit the hotly-contested code change known as Programmatic Proof-of-Work or ProgPoW.

Since February, developers have been gathering the funds necessary to back a third-party audit of the ProgPoW code. Today, during a weekly meeting, it was announced that the targeted amount of 50,000 DAI (equivalent to roughly $50,000) has been fully met through crowd-sourced donations on open-source bounty platform Gitcoin, as well as other unnamed sources from the community.

The aim of this audit, as stated by Ethereum Foundation community relations manager Hudson Jameson in a past blog post is to examine “the expected effect of ProgPoW on the security of ethereum,” as well as on ethereum’s mining landscape as a whole.

The proposed code change would essentially make it more difficult for specialized hardware to mine on ethereum, which would effectively box out the ecosystem's graphics card (GPU)-based industry. Estimates show that mining rewards gained on the the $16 billion dollar blockchain presently are about $700 million annually.

With ProgPow activated on the ethereum network, the efficiency gains of an ethereum miner using an ASIC machine versus a comparatively lower-cost, general purpose computer also called a GPU would be much smaller and result in more equal competition for mining rewards on the network.

Kristy-Leigh Minehan – one of the developers behind ProgPoW – explained to CoinDesk in a former interview:

“ProgPoW is a dynamically changing algorithm that is tuned for today's GPUs...The compute vs memory intensity is tuned to match current consumer GPUs, which minimizes any gains from a specialized ASIC.”

Jameson noted on today’s bi-weekly ethereum developer call that the ProgPoW audit should begin next week and potentially be completed sometime in July of this year.

“The ProgPow audit is going to be funded,” said Jameson. “Everyone has confirmed their funding. It should be started this week or next week hopefully. There’s just some logistics to work out, meaning people have to sign some paperwork and the funds have to be sent.”

The third-party auditor that will be contracted for the ProgPoW audit is a Berlin-based computer security firm called Least Authority.

Back in January, Least Authority was announced to have been hired by the Electric Coin Company – which is developer team building the privacy coin zcash – for three separate security audit reports.

Correction (May 15, 2020, 18:44 UTC): ProgPoW stands for programmatic proof-of-work, not progressive proof-of-work, as was previously listed in this article.

Mining image via Shutterstock 

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