Some three million eth are currently voting in favor of a proposed algorithmic change of ethereum’s Proof of Work (PoW) with the aim of removing asics from the network.
2,926,304 eth, worth $430 million, is currently voting Yes to the proposal with it coming from 168 transactions. Just 191,774 eth, worth about $30 million, is voting against, with it reflecting 28 transactions or votes.
The no vote has not changed for about a week, while the yes vote has steadily increased. Initially there was about one million eth withdrawn from Bitfinex that voted in favor, suggesting it was one person or entity. Afterwards we stopped tracking where the funds are coming from, although of course the vote is all on the blockchain for anyone who wants to track them.
Where Are the Asics?
It obviously might be the case that it is miners supporting the proposal as the rest probably don’t care much at all.
It would be in the financial interest of any GPU miner to vote yes as mining is a zero sum game. Getting rid of asics miners, thus, would give the GPU miners more eth for their hash.
Just how many asics miners there are in the network is not known. Estimates range from 10% to as high as 60%. However, their lack of showing for the no vote might suggest there perhaps aren’t really any, or at least not in an industrial form.
If there were, you’d expect a lot more on No as their livelihood depends on it. Instead that 200,000 eth on No is almost all of Gnosis, an eth based prediction market which has its founder simply of the view that the algo shouldn’t be changed.
On the other hand, we have the GPU miners showing some considerable muscle, with at least one million of the casted eth probably coming from an industrial farm.
The ProgPoW team denies they have anything to do with Core Scientific, which appears to be mainly a cloud mining style industrial farm of both GPU and asic rows. However, the only known person of the ProgPoW team, Kristy-Leigh Minehan, is employed by Core Scientific.
Why they care to have this change if, as it appears based on the vote, there aren’t any asics miners of any scale, isn’t very clear. There have, however, been allegations that ProgPoW is tilted in favor of Nvidia which the ProgPoW team has admitted.
Those allegations led to some controversy after some eth devs surprisingly decided they were to tentatively go ahead with the algo change. Thus the matter has now been put to a vote, but should it be binding?
A Binding Ethereans’ Vote?
It is very easy to argue the vote shouldn’t be binding. Ethereans, for example, voted for eth’s issuance to be reduced to 1eth per block, but devs went with EIP 1234 which was championed by Afri Schoedon as a compromise between holders and miners.
As it turned out, holders reduced eth’s price to $100 from the then $300 or more, so in effect getting their 1eth per block in fiat money while eth was and still is producing 3eth per block until the end of the month when it falls to 2eth.
At the time it was said one eth per block was a bit risky, but ethereum is currently running very finely. So there is precedent to ignore holders’ vote, but seeing how that went, we’d say it is perhaps more of the exception to the rule that through example showed why the rule shouldn’t be ignored.
If we wanted to ignore it, there could be many other arguments too. Much of this eth in favor appears to be coming from one entity. Only 3% of eth has voted. 200 transactions or so is miniscule. Then more broadly what on earth is the point when no asics are showing up in the vote.
You could then say devs agreed to a no a year ago. Some of the campaigning from the ProgPoW side has been peculiar. A 51% attack might be risked, and on and on.
Ultimately, however, although the voting page says the vote is not binding, we have to conclude and we do conclude that it is binding at least on these pages.
Unless there is something that hasn’t been considered and it is of a sufficient degree to merit the overturning of ethereans’ will, then there’s little choice for these pages – objectively and rationally – but to support the end result.
No set time has been given to this vote, so we have to do it. Previously it has been a week in emergency situations but a month otherwise. So this vote should end on March 14th, about a month since it begun on or around February 14th.
Anyone and everyone is free to vote in the meantime and cast their opinion, which does matter at least to these pages and perhaps to what action is actually taken.
The absence to vote necessarily means an agreement with the end result with this being more of a yes or no referendum rather than packaged political parties.
Obviously there can be plenty of philosophical arguments, but ultimately, unless someone is able to propose a different method of reaching a clear and a representative decision, then it’s difficult to see how else such things can be conclusively decided.
So we have our own opinions, but in many ways this isn’t a clear cut yer or no matter. Ethereans in general probably know better how to weigh competing interests, so we delegate our opinion to them in this case.
Meaning based on current results, ethereum might well change its algo in two or three months. Perhaps for the better. Otherwise, this is just code so pretty much everything can be fixed. Thus cast your votes.