The much talked about ‘War on Miners’ is about to get into a less decisive period. Leading developers now seem to believe that standing in the way of a shifting mining landscape might be hopeless. That was the testimony of most of the blockchain software developers at Consensus 2018. It was an indication that hardware manufacturer Bitmain’s recent distribution of high-performance ASIC miners is a proof of their inevitability for all cryptocurrencies.
Even at that, the controversy around the idea optimized mining hardware will soon be available for previously ASIC-resistant cryptocurrencies, kept on increasing. That includes ethereum, monero and zcash.
More general-purpose mining hardware such as graphic cards or GPUs, were forced out of the market. This caused each currency to witness the efforts to make software changes so the hardware can no longer operate. Monero, being the 13th largest cryptocurrency, has decided to change its underlying algorithm, as part of the efforts towards that change.
Riccardo “fluffypony” Spagni, a lead developer at monero told CoinDesk that: “you have centralization of manufacturers and you also have centralization of consumers. You have this sort of constant clustering.”
Monero is willing to go it alone for now. They plan to do so with regular anti-ASIC updates that aim to keep ASIC hardware off the network until the time when ASICs become omnipresent like USB drives. So they can be run by many more people.
Spagni told CoinDesk: “ultimately ASIC resistance is futile but between now and then, before we capitulate to ASICs, let’s resist it for as long as possible until ASICs are commoditized.”
The financial lure at hand gives the required platform for optimized hardware to quickly dominate a network, and swallow the rewards in exchange for the increased hashpower. Others warned that ASIC manufacturers will always be a step ahead.
David Vorick, lead developer of siacoin, told CoinDesk: “I think any GPU-mined coin is going to become an ASIC-mined coin at some point. Bitmain has been pretty methodical about demonstrating this.”