It has barely been two days into a debate over a proposed algorithmic change of ethereum’s Proof of Work (PoW) and already questions of who is paying who are flying about.
This time, however, is by a representative of ethereum’s biggest mining pool, ethermine, who, speaking to Afri Schoedon of Parity, says:
“It is kind of interesting that suddenly, after meeting with Linzhi you are all of the sudden strongly against ProgPoW & help distribute all related FUD going currently around. This strongly looks like successful lobbing by asic manufacturers.”
The ethermine rep then links to a post which claims Schoedon is “colluding with ASIC manufacturer” after Schoedon publicly stated he was meeting with Linzhi presumably to take their view on certain allegations that the ProgPoW team has connections to Nvidia.
Schoedon for his part denies the allegations, stating: “I am not paid to meet Linzhi neither am I being overly private about that. Everyone can meet me if they want to contribute to the discussion. I am transparent about that.
So far, the meeting was horrible. Linzhi rep was arrogant and calling out the Ethereum devs being stupid and naive. I am not interested in meeting them again.
I will continue being anti ASIC and anti Bitmain and anti Linzhi. However, I am also against NVIDIA, AMD, and Intel. I want a fair algorithm that includes as many people as possible without any corporate backdoors.”
At the other end, Alexander Levin Jr, president of gpuShack and founder of ethosdistro, who has been arguing against ProgPoW, says: “I am pretty sure this Nick Johnson has been bought in one way or another.”
Now we don’t “know” neither Johnson nor Schoedon, but we’re fairly sure the former has a decent pay at the Ethereum Foundation and the latter at Parity Tech. They both have been working on ethereum since anyone can remember and both naturally have their own opinions, quite rightly.
We are fairly sure to close to certain that neither is monetarily influenced and both genuinely hold their opinions which of course can change in either direction if new information appears.
It is highly unfortunate that someone from ethereum’s biggest mining pool or from the miner optimized ethosdistro os would effectively call good men as shills. Not least because, what do we then call the real shills?
And there are some, of course, especially when it concerns a matter that may make some lose millions and some gain millions.
With so much at stake for some entities, it is not clear why the ethereum ecosystem should get involved in what can be considered as free market operations.
Ethereans would effectively be picking between one sort of mining farm or another sort of mining farm when you’d think it should be a matter for the free market.
The etherminer subreddit, moreover, which is making these accusations against an eth dev, appears to be quite an interesting place.
They do not seem to like the Ethereum Foundation very much and they say all sorts of things about Vitalik Buterin, leading one to conclude quite a few eth miners don’t care one bit about ethereum and might even dislike it. They probably just switch their gear to the most profitable coin in a mirror of the lambo traders who likewise don’t care one bit for anything more than what might quickly make them a bit of money.
Ethermine, for example, was the pool that strangled the Cryptokitties. Instead of giving some temporary relief or at least putting resources into reducing their uncle rates, they just said we’re not increasing the gas limit and there, an important decision made by effectively one person.
Now they talk about decentralization when the featured image above clearly shows just two pools, as in just two individuals, control 51% of ethereum’s hashrate.
Just how much of that hashrate is slightly more efficient asics? If they are bricked, how much would Nicehash renting cost to 51% attack eth? If eth is 51% attacked, what exactly would be the defense? A CPU algo to brick GPUs?
Why should AMD and Nvidia be favored, by the way, rather than Intel? Why should these corporate giants who have most of their manufacturing in China be favored anyway rather than a few start-ups fiercely competing with each other who are also mainly in China?
Why should the current GPU miners/farms be favored when clearly they have no loyalty to eth as they can switch as they please, instead of eth specific mining gear investors?
Not to mention that bricking asics first of all risks an instant 51% attack depending on just how many eth asics there are, and second of all it would effectively erase the free choice of miners to buy asics. That’s because ProgPoW asics will obviously be developed, but this time they’ll keep it secret and they won’t offer them to the public.
That, not free competition, is what would make mining very centralized and whoever is the asicer would profit very handsomely from it. Meaning, under the surface, the intention may well be to gain a monopoly while paying lip service to decentralization and so on.
Not that we know so, but it would make a lot of sense for a self-interested party to play that sort of fairly clever game, especially if they have the deep mining expertise and get to code the algo too.
An algo that is open source, but how many can actually holistically read it? Eth devs are mainly protocol devs with perhaps some mining experience, but no where near the level of someone whose day job is mining efficiency because eth devs’ day job is protocol development.
Which is perhaps why Buterin was against an algo change when it was first proposed as the efficiency gain is minimal and the greatest gain for the ecosystem is focusing on getting Proof of Stake (PoS) out rather than in dealing with miners bickering between each other and their attempts to get the ecosystem to favor one over the other due to, presumably, their failure to freely compete in the open mining market.