Ok, ok, I know this could set off a firestorm of debates (again) but let me first say I’m not buying or selling the idea of ASIC resistance, it was brought up on Twitter by a former Zcash core developer the other day and I thought they had an interesting perspective.
When Zcash first launched it chose the Equihash mining algorithm to be ASIC resistant (an assumption that turned out to be wrong)
to better democratize Zcash distribution among more parties. There was a window when Zcash could have forked to avoid the new ASICs but the community/ZF/ECC chose not to
So here we are, years since the introduction of ASICs. With history behind us was doing nothing the right decision?
Also, please note that I am a full supporter of Zcashs move to PoS, as soon as possible, it is the most energy efficient long term option, but realistically, how far in the future is our move to PoS? I’m guessing it won’t be ready by this October halving (please correct me if I’m wrong).
So sometime before then, or perhaps at NU6, could be a chance to make a mining algorithm change until PoS is ready.
With PoS on the near horizon, why consider an algorithm change at all? I think it’s an interesting idea for a few reasons:
- It should not be too difficult/time/resource intensive to implement an already proven algorithm (like Ethash).
- It could be a way to get an influx of new (and bring back old) users who would be excited about mining and using Zcash.
- It would disrupt Zcash ASIC farms. Some that only mine ZEC to dump it for BTC or some other coin.
- It could give GPU miners a chance to stack ZEC in preparation for the upcoming switch to PoS.
- Tons of former ETH miners already familiar with Ethash could ensure that there would readily available mining hardware to support Zcash during a switch.
- Hard fork required, risk to network stability.
- 50% attack risk if not enough miners/pools are ready/willing to mine Zcash.
- Would require some time/resources to implement on Zcashd and Zebra. Development time that could be better spent elsewhere, like prototyping PoS.
“But why Ethash if its not truly ASIC resistant?”
The difference of Ethash on an ASIC vs a GPU is only about 3x:
RTX3090 = 130Mh/s - 300w = .41 Mh/watt
Antminer E9 = 2400Mh/s - 1920w = 1.25 Mh/watt
Compare that to Zcash today:
RTX3090: 72Sols - 300w = .21 Sol/watt
Antminer Z11: 135,000Sols - 1418w = 95.7 Sol/watt
A switch the Ethash algo essentially means that Zcash would not become more ASIC resistant, but would become more GPU friendly.
So there you have it, a few ideas that have been bouncing around my head I had to get on digital paper since Zeboot is coming up early next year. I sincerely apologize in advance