Ethereum (ETH) Network Divided Over Mining Changes Ahead of ‘Constantinople’ Hardfork

Ethereum (ETH) developers need to agree on one of three proposals that would impact ETH mining economics and impact Ethereum miners.

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A wide array of Ethereum stakeholders held a public and televised meeting where the issue of the code changes slated for the software upgrade in October.

 

Ethereum (ETH) miners and some prominent investors met at the bi-weekly developer’s call with the aim of agreeing on changes relating to the underlying economics of the Ethereum Network.

Three proposals were causing a divide ahead of the highly anticipated October upgradw, of which one must move forward.

Ethereum improvement proposals (EIPs):

  1. EIP E858: Reducing miner’s reward per block from 3 ETH down to 1 ETH
  2. EIP 1234: Removing/delaying difficulty bomb, reducing block reward to 2 ETH
  3. EIP 1295: Reduce uncle rewards and eliminate nephew rewards

Ethereum developers will meet again on August 31, 2018, to decide which one of the three proposals will move forward with the Constantinople October upgrade. 

No concrete resolution

The meeting, which lasted for roughly two hours wasn’t successful. The stakeholders didn’t reach an agreement but agreed that the discussion would continue on August 31 at their next meeting.

The follow-up discussion became even more relevant with the “difficulty bomb” to be discussed in-depth. It is a piece of code that is aimed at encouraging quicker updates to the protocol and the stakeholders must delay or remove it.

The discussion on whether to implement a proof-of-work change to remove specialized mining hardware or ASICs from the network has become even more complicated with the early 2019 deadline set Ethereum stakeholders.

The change might lead to the reward are being distributed fairly and the stakeholders might decide to make the changes together.

The changes would affect miners, developers, and investors. Some would be affected positively while others negatively, depending on the final decision taken by the stakeholders. The Chairman of the decision Hudson Jameson stated that:

I honestly don’t know how to make a decision. I don’t know how we’ll go from here.

Ether (ETH) issuance talks

Stakeholders have spent a significant time discussing how much ETH is created and distributed with every transaction block that is mined. Despite that, they have failed to reach a firm decision.

Stakeholders Brian Venturo, CTO of mining facility operator Atlantic Crypto, and software developer Matthew White are both advocating that the amount of Ethereum (ETH) issued should be reduced.

Beyond that, they also want developers to commit to putting a cap on the total Ethereum (ETH) that can ever be created.

If that change is made, then it would deviate from Ethereum’s previous roadmaps. The network wouldn’t add a cap until the change to proof-of-stake consensus method is anticipated.

Other stakeholders have tried to talk about it and believe that it is in the best interest of all those that use Ether.

White stated that:

Getting the issuance under control will have good effects on the price which is important for developer salaries and projects and funding new projects.

Xin Xu, the CEO of an ethereum mining pool named Sparkpool while speaking at the meeting explained the effects of reducing the issuance rate or block reward too substantially. Xin stated that:

There is a tipping point and when we get there everything will break down and we cannot get back. In my opinion, the change of issuance will be a big impact to the security.

ASIC resistance still discussed

Ethereum has already planned a move away from proof-of-work and this would affect the network’s mining situation. Before that though, the stakeholders continued to talk about a very sensitive topic.

They are debating whether to block the use of specialized chips that could crowd out many of today’s GPU-dependent miners. Some specialized ASICs have been released that are designed to maximize miner profits and monopolize the mining industry.

Since issuance reduction would lead to a reduced pay for miners, ethereum developer Danny Ryan pointed out that blocking ASICs from the network could be a reasonable compromise for GPU-dependent miners.

Jameson, however, pointed out that a code to effect such a change could be added in a subsequent hardfork. It would be eight months after Constantinople has activated since the testing required might be too big for it to be included in the next hardfork in October.

The miners present did agree to block ASIC hardware from the network. However, most of the developers are against the code change proposal as they are not sure it would accomplish its goals.

Some developers warned that a change this big could actually affect GPU miners negatively since they have optimized their equipment for Ethereum’s code.

Finally, Jameson encouraged the stakeholders to continue the talks on social media. He stated that:

Between now and next Friday there will be more community comment about the EIPs and the different perspectives here.

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