Bitmain’s Jihan Wu: ASICs Are Making Ethereum Mining Extra Decentralized


Jihan Wu, co-founder of crypto mining huge Bitmain, has argued that ASIC miners make blockchain networks far more decentralized – the opposite of what is generally argued by users of the crypto neighborhood.

Speaking at a keynote to go over proof-of-perform and decentralization all through a blockchain event in Chongqing, China, on Wednesday, Wu informed a combine of novice and expert contributors in the marketplace that he believes ASIC miners – impressive processors created for crunching certain algorithms – are considerably less of a centralizing pressure than far more standard reason graphics processing models (GPUs) that are also generally made use of in cryptocurrency mining.

The dialogue also led Wu to cast uncertainties on ethereum’s ProgPow improve (for Progressive Evidence-of-Perform), which, by altering the network’s mining algorithm, is created to block ASIC equipment and make improvements to the computing gain of GPUs.

He informed the viewers:

“While we have found several network updates that goal to come to be ASIC-resistant, this sort of as Cuckoo cycle and ProgPow, but what we can foresee is that, quite possible, there will however be ASIC miners for these two algorithms.”

A short while ago, the ethereum neighborhood voted to approve the network’s ProgPow improve. Having said that, the timeline for activation is not confirmed yet, as a interval is required for auditing the code. It’s a change that, if activated, could have an affect on ethereum’s mining rewards – a market place which is estimated to be truly worth above $600 million a year.

Wu included that the ethereum network is presently centralized to some extent, pointing to stats that two significant ethereum mining pools – Sparkpool and Ethermine – jointly control over half of the network’s computing electricity.

He even more cited rumors, without having providing any evidence, that certain individuals associated in the ProgPow proposal straight report to the CEO of NVIDIA, a significant maker of GPU components with a dominant market place share.

Wu alleged:

“To me, ProgPow is evidently an work to attain centralization, in an try to exclude other built-in circuit designers to take part in ethereum mining. And GPU components is strongly shielded by patents, so acquiring a tailor-designed algorithm for this style of components is certainly a way to stay away from a fully competitive market place.”

And switching from the proof-of-perform algorithm, as made use of by ethereum at present, to proof-of-stake (supporting a network by keeping a stake of its indigenous tokens) will not fix the challenge of centralization for ethereum either, Wu contended. If ethereum fully shifts to proof-of-stake, “the complete network will be even far more centralized – just about undoubtedly,” he argued.

Still, Wu’s responses on ethereum mining could not be fully shocking offered that his agency, which claims to personal about 70 percent of the international crypto mining devices market place share, released an ethereum ASIC miner in April of last year.

And Bitmain as soon as also secured a patent for its ASIC miner devices design and style and subsequently sued one of its rivals for IP infringement. The circumstance was dismissed by a area court docket in China, having said that, and Bitmain’s patent was revoked as a end result.

Somewhere else in his speech, Wu also argued that ASIC miners are far more able of building a blockchain network safe than GPU components. Mainly because each and every ASIC is specialized for a certain crypto networks, they provide a substantial price bar for lousy actors seeking to start a 51-percent attack on a network.

He concluded:

“But GPU-centered mining algorithms are not specialized, they are appropriate with each and every other. If miners attack one cryptocurrency, there are however other folks that can be mined. Which is why there’re far more 51-percent attacks on GPU-centered cryptos.”

Jihan Wu graphic via Wolfie Zhao for CoinDesk