Vitalik Buterin Criticizes the “Ninja-Reapproved” ProgPoW – Trustnodes

Vitalik Buterin Criticizes the “Ninja-Reapproved” ProgPoW


Vitalik Buterin at some conference, Feb 2020

Ethereum’s cofounder Vitalik Buterin has criticized the way an old new proposal to change ethereum’s algorithm through ProgPoW was pushed through this Friday.

“It went from ‘phew, this thing is gone and has not been talked about for quite a while’ to ‘OMG it’s now SCHEDULED FOR THE NEXT HARDFORK???!’ within the span of 1.5 hours,” Buterin said with the emphasis his.

These comments arose in the context of monetary policy where Buterin argued ethereum has to “erect psycho-sociological walls in the form of norms saying where we clearly don’t want governance to go,” with one such wall being the schelling point of eth’s monetary policy to be defined as: “as little issuance as possible to secure the network.”

That dictum translates to around 0.22% of new eth supply per year once the current Proof of Work (PoW) chain is packaged inside the new Proof of Stake (PoS) chain.

“The way progpow was ninja-reapproved definitely did *not* help make people trust the governance or feel safe, and arguably drove the Twitterati to believe that they have to send loud, simple and clear messages (ie. more such Schelling fences) to get their voice heard,” Buterin said.

ETH1 devs suddenly announced on Friday a hardfork to incorporate ProgPoW was to go through just three weeks after a planed upgrade they abstractly call Berlin.

ProgPoW being an algorithmic change first proposed two years ago ostensibly to get rid of asics miners, with considerable discussion unveiling in the weeks and months that followed that ended with prominent ethereans generally rejecting the proposal.

However Hudson Jameson, the “chair” of eth1 calls, has previously stated this ProgPoW is some sort of quid pro quo for miners “accepting” the issuance reduction to 2 eth per block early last year.

Why miners get to bargain in that sort of stuff isn’t too clear, but now and then Jameson’s dev calls end with some announcement they have once again “approved” this algo change.

Usually everyone is surprised by such announcement, starting with the very first one that was reported by Coindesk as eth1 devs “tentatively approving” this thing no one at the time had heard about.

Like previously, this time too there was no public dissemination of an upcoming decision on ProgPoW. Instead everyone learned about it, seemingly even Buterin, by everyone talking about this “made” decision.

“Coming up with some procedure for rejecting things, maybe something Nomic-style where if a proposal is rejected and people want to do it later it has to be explicitly moved to being un-rejected and then wait a full hardfork cycle to approve it barring emergencies,” is perhaps something needed Buterin said.

He also said he is neutral on whether this goes through or not, criticizing only the decision making process, but he has subtly made it clear about three or four times over the past two years that he doesn’t want this without quite spelling out “no.”

What you’d think he probably wants is a quick BLS only upgrade of eth1 to get out eth2 without any delay from eth1 devs, with these BLS signatures proposed by newcomer Justin Drake – who claims he lives on eth, no fiat – becoming a bit of a headache.


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