Let’s talk about ASIC mining


#22

As I see it, ASICs will consolidate mining power into fewer and fewer hands, which, in my opinion, is the very antithesis of what cryptocurriences are meant to be. That it appears not to be a difficult matter to prevent in the future makes me wonder why this is even a real matter for debate/discussion.

The ZCash founders expressed their opposition to ASIC mining early in the project and they need to hold true to their word and keep this “promise”. Anything less would be seen as compromising their integrity, something this project doesn’t need to try in the courts of the crypto public opinion.

As an aside, if anyone really developed an ASIC machine to mine ZCash, why would they tell anyone? They’d make more money just keeping it to themselves and mine all they can!


#23

Everything nowadays is made in China. The (expensive) West was all to eager to enjoy the profits of cheap labor.
The consequence is that we cannot even put together a working machine anymore … but it has to be said we FEEL emotionally stable …


#24

In the past few weeks we’ve seen the difficulty reach an all-time high of around 12 million. I wonder if this recent spike has anything to do with ASIC testing or people switching from ETH to Zec or just new systems coming online.


#25

Global Sol/s have doubled in ~three months. Diff through the roof. There are a lot of new miners but I don’t think that accounts for such a tremendous increase. Spikes have to be coming from ASIC/mega-farms IMHO. My daily production has dropped by half and I have added GPU’s. Moving… :frowning:


#26

Bitcoin Gold (and the upcoming Bitcoin Private) use equihash with the same parameters. Could it be that general interest and awareness of equihash mining has brought in many new miners?


#27

If History is a good teacher - and it is - then the forks of Bitcoin could repeat with forks of ZCash if it becomes victim to ASIC mining. We’d likely see forks like “ZCash Cash”, “ZCash Gold”, “Zcash EZ Mine”, etc.

Perhaps a coin with randomly assigned difficulty, generated at random times during the day could keep things interesting?


#28

It’s certainly possible, but none of them would actually be called Zcash “Gold” or Zcash “anything” for the same reason Zclassic is not named Zcash Classic. https://z.cash/trademark-policy.html


#29

I understand…I was illustrating my thoughts :slight_smile:


#30

"The bitcoin network has been largely given over to ASIC mining, but Monero might have more reason to be concerned. It’s designed for absolute anonymity and has gotten a justified reputation as one of the preferred currencies for illegal purchases, North Koreans or for anyone else that wants their money to remain untraceable. Authorities have many good reasons to want Monero gone, and ASIC hardware presents one of the most likely avenues for this."

This is because there are very few manufacturers able to produce ASIC hardware in a cost-effective manner. As the Monero Project’s statement explains:

This creates a single point of failure. For instance, a government could require these ASIC manufacturers to add a “kill-switch” which allows them to shut down a miner remotely or otherwise control it. This threat has the potential to destroy the whole network. In a similar fashion, governments could require miners to have a license to buy and operate ASICs, thereby confining ASICs to a certain group of licensed people. Furthermore, licensing could ultimately lead to blacklisting certain transactions, i.e., governments can require miners to not mine certain transactions, where disobedience would result in miners having their license revoked. By contrast, introducing a license to operate general purpose hardware is probably an infeasible endeavor.”

So is it really fine if Zcash gets an ASIC miner? Really fine if there is only one ZEC miner in the world?


#31

This thread was opened a week ago and there has already been a lot of thoughtful discussion.

To ensure this conversation is not lost and to help get this onto the Foundation’s radar, community members should file a Github ticket.

Also consider filing a ticket with the main ZCash project repo:

It would be useful to share not just your views on ASIC mining but also what your expectations for the project are. For example, if the PascalProject started selling equihash miners tomorrow, what action do you expect the foundation and developers to take?


#32

{long} Fascinating subject that has my entire attention…

I started mining buying an ASIC BTC off eBay when they were dumping hardware by the pallets and BTC was around $220 - A poison pill is one approach comes to mind with the situation at hand.

I harvested in 3Q2018 and took up GPU mining liking its ASIC resistance back when a 11 gB 1080ti went for $500. Ironically, I feel we’ve somewhat harmed the GPU market to others as ASICS threatens us.

I can see adaptive ASIC/controller systems n the future that can adapt algos to some extent and submit those will be what we will contend with someday.

I see a conflict with the HODL mantra and getting the ZEC into circulation… I see price stability fixing that

We will always have industrial scale miners whose inner tendencies will always be humungius scale and for others, corner the market. I believe regulators would step in if monopolies took place (do we want to go there?)

I recall when the Hunt Brothers attempted to corner the silver market, how prices returned to a norm that wiped them out. Perhaps ZEC can protect itself by having a true value not equal to the moon? This goes against my inner speculative greed but may be better for the whole? Dunno…

Regarding trying to get everybody using ZEC in a manner to preempt cornering the market, perhaps a focus on adoption of ZEC (based on merits of robustness and utility) by big money may be a deal with the Devil we need to make. Haven’t fully fleshed that be out yet.

I’ll ponder this more and in the mean time, appreciate everybodies thoughts.

Good thread…


#33

@acityinohio

Since this is the offical ZCash forum, I’m expecting that posts here are “on the Foundation’s radar.” Github is too complicated for me. They should - and must - watch this discussion carefully.

As I remember it, ZCash originally promised ASIC resistance. They must, without question, honor their word. Again, even this discussion is strange when you couple it with Zooko’s remark since the promise at the start was clear. To be clear: A BUSINESS LOSES CREDIBILITY AND INTEGRITY WHEN THEY BREAK THEIR PROMISES.

Yes, I understand businesses must evolve and time and technology change things. But since it appears that interdicting ASIC mining is not a daunting matter, it’s truly inexcusable not to do it when the promise to fight it was made at the start.

I have high hopes for ZCash, but this has shaken my own faith in it to a degree.


#34

I also expect this discussion to be seen by the Foundation.

I was given one Bitcoin (as an invitation to use the technology) when it was at about $200 and recently used some of the windfall to make a small ZEC mining rig.

I almost got an Antminer S9 because I thought I could afford one, but was ultimately scared away because of the initial cost, the lead time, and the general bad vibe around Bitmain. I didn’t want to take that much risk. Looking back at the numbers, I would have been fine, but wouldn’t have had as much fun setting up the rig.

I would have bought the ASIC if it was cheaper, if there was less lead time, and if there was a good vibe around the company. Sorry I’m so hippy on the third point, but the first two may only be achievable in a more developed space. GPUs are ASICs for graphics, no? When mining crypto becomes as mainstream as first person shooters we may be happy to buy an ASIC for mining crypto.

The point about the government kill switch seems far fetched, but maybe we need open source hardware. I’d be happy to pay its dev fee.

Cheers!


#35

Ping @acityinohio (Josh from Foundation):


#36

Thanks @bitcartel and @phakov for pinging me, and yes, I and others from the Foundation are definitely watching these forums and view them as a critical part of collecting community feedback. Discussions like this are a great way for us to understand how the Foundation should represent the community’s interests.

My personal view mirrors @phakov’s intent—which is that consolidating mining power into fewer hands is antithetical to a well-running cryptocurrency. But—to disagree in approach—I am of the mind that working on ASIC resistance itself doesn’t guarantee miner decentralization. In fact, it may be better to ensure that there’s a competitive market for ASICs—David Vorick’s essay on why Sia went into the ASIC business is a great read on that front.

But I am just a single member of the Zcash community. My opinions hold no special weight, and if anything, it will be the Foundation’s job to ensure there is broad consensus amongst the community on supporting proposed changes to the protocol. FWIW, in the governance process outlined by Andrew Miller here that we’ll be testing in the coming months, there’s an excellent opportunity to collect that feedback as well. I think adding a ballot question that centers around Zcash’s ASIC resistance/mining decentralization is another avenue to measure the community’s feelings on the subject.


#37

According to most Zcash moderators (I’ve found to be anyways), none of this is really "official, I think it’s just Zooko wanting to keep everything community oriented
It kinda is because you can communicate with Zcash developers for reliable information
I used the O word on the chat, got reamed!
Edit - authentic!


#38

Since ASIC resistance was a commitment made at the start, it must be respected. While I understand that as time goes forward and new information presents itself, there are legitimate reasons to change - “break” - a promise, but doing so requires a significant reason(s), must be unavoidable and there must be a greater good served by not doing what was initially promised, and not changing would work a more significant harm to all concerned. Anyone who’s reasonable will understand new time may demand new changes. However, and this is a big one, since ensuring ASIC resistance should not be too difficult to do, there really is no legitimate reason to allow it. I don’t see enough facts here to condone such a choice if it were made.

It’s also important to recognize that the goals of the foundation are to get as many units of ZCash into as many hands as possible. That takes more and more miners, or, more specifically, more mining power. More mining power should mean faster transactions and the ability to process and confirm more of them. I understand that ASIC mining power does not work a harm directly, or at all, actually. What hurts - or can potentially - is a concentration of mining power into few hands, the real root of the discussion (though it is important to note that the little guy miner who may buy one or several ASICs gets hosed by the big ones who buy many hundreds at a time and can’t do so…an indirect “moaning” issue).

@acityinohio No, in theory, ASIC’s are not bad. It’s the reality that in practice hundreds/thousands of them go to just a handful of peeps and the masses of peeps have to fight over scraps; see my “moaning” issue above. But how can this be prevented? ASIC resistance is a good start, of course. Though assuming it’s inevitable, the lessons we’re learning while watching the GPU market are instructive, and the same song is playing all over again: The big guys get the lion’s share and everyone else fights for scraps…

And does the ZCash Foundation really want to be in the hardware biz? I’m thinking they have a better use of their talent being in the software biz. Consider this:

Perhaps it’s necessary for ZCash to develop some type of supremely easy to use miner that anyone can run on any Win, Ithing, Liniux box or iphone or android device? This way all the Foundation has to do it distribute software, and as someone who’s in the hardware biz, it’s much easier to do :slight_smile: Remember: the goal of this mining proggy has to be simplicity…I CANNOT stress this enough. Think “point and click…make some money”

Distributing a simple to use miner program which works on any hardware is what’s really needed in my opinion. This ensures mining is decentralized.

I personally would like a simple to use mining program which scales according to what I want and is also an all-in-one wallet to boot. Mining crypto is hard, and no casual user soccer mom can do it easily (apologies to the savvy soccer moms out there). Simplicity encourages adoption and mass adoption works a benefit to all.

(though I don’t think a software solution is really feasible unless everyone using had some degree of luck in finding a randomly generated “bonus” ZEC every so often which is not hashrate dependent).

TL/DR:

1 - There must be a damn good reason to break your word;
2 - ASIC in theory isn’t bad, it’s the implementation and distribution that is;
3 - It’s better for the Foundation to be in the software biz, not the hardware biz;
4 - An easy to use ZCash miner is what’s needed

Thx for reading if you did!


#39

More mining power does not change the number of transactions processed by the network. Only block size and rate determine that. More mining power does not increase the total supply. Only time (blocks found) does that.

Mining power increases only really improve the overall security of the network from attacks. If there were no block rewards, and no network fees paid to miners, there would be no incentive for anything more than cpu mining on nodes. The incentives are there to keep driving up the security of the network as the value of the overall currency supply increases.

More:
I think, as a network protection mechanism, ASICs are great. They make attacks just that much harder. The only problem is when centralization occurs. Designing a mining protocol to be centralization resistant would be a better goal than ASIC resistant. We already have monster GPU farmers centralizing mining. And I think that’s to some degree the point of previous posts.

So, while I am currently a gpu zcash miner, I in general support the improvement in mining efficiency offered by ASICs. I would likely become an ASIC miner in the future if the business case supported that


#40

As soon as the first batch of ASIC miners are officially introduced I am dumping all my ZEC and switching my farms to another feasible coin if there are any of those still left at that moment. For the sake of stability in a common understanding of a corporate money making machine clusters of ASIC farms are heaven. but have I missed something important in the concept and early statements of the team? Were they really just another bunch of bullshiters?


#41

When an ASIC is more efficient in Mining a GPU centric coin, than what Nvidia and AMD can provide… both could shut down. Enhancing CUDA performcance is what both companies are aiming for because of machine learning and other AI shit.
The whole Pascal Project sounds like scam or “buzzwording” to me…

What have they done ? First they name a similar product the same way as Nvidia ?
Really? How many companies have been forced to rename themselves because they have pissed in the ballpark of another one… “Pascal” anyone ? Huh?

Are they building the CUDA logic of Pascal GPU with an FPGA ? ok… Why? Or why should this be faster than hat NVIDIA is offering. Or why would it be less pricey than what NVIDIA is offering?

Buzzwording. Or a lame moment of “wow” we have sympathy.
They will always be way back of current state of the art regarding CUDA. So what?


But if they hold word … well than all depends on ROI to me. If the box costs only 850€ … why not? :slight_smile: