Let’s talk about ASIC mining

Ethereum community are discussing a hypothetical change to their PoW (before they switch over to PoS).

Twitter thread here:

Reddit discussion here: https://www.reddit.com/r/ethereum/comments/87ucsk/would_you_support_a_hard_fork_that_obsceletes_eth/

Github discussion here: https://github.com/ethereum/EIPs/issues/958

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No, they are from Taiwan. and you can trust GPU manufacturers…
You can not trust China Bitmain or other China based ASIC manufacturers!

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My guess is that this community would quickly come to a consensus on opposing ASICs. The foundation could facilitate this kind of communication, for example we could include it as a resolution to discuss and publicly vote on in our upcoming election.

@amiller Is there a date set for the upcoming election? How does the community submit a resolution to be voted on? Who is eligible to vote?

I personally think it would be great to see a pow change hardfork proposed from outside the company, although I also don’t think there’s an urgent need yet.

The absence of an Equihash ASIC available for public sale does not preclude the possibility that an ASIC currently exists and is being used to mine in secret.

If the community wishes to flush out any ASIC miners, there are two opportunities to do so. The first is the Overwinter network upgrade due to take place in the summer, the second is the Sapling network upgrade due in the fall.


I don’t think we have a specific place to submit resolutions, but an issue on github.com/zcashfoundation/zcashfoundation would make sense to me. I am waiting for Josh next to publish a draft list of eligible voters, i.e. people invited to the “Community Approval Panel”. The election date will be prior to June 25 (the date of Zcon0).

Would it be easier to change the algorithm at the same time as the overwinter upgrade? Since there is already an alternative from the miner contest it might be better than doing another hard fork later on. The network hash has gone over 600 million a few times, but seems to have decreased during the downturn. That was much higher than it ever had been before.

With ZEC being a company….and with many statements throughout the last 1.5 years in these forums - on altering or changing the algo if an equihash ASIC was created… if ZEC did not change the algo to eliminate any threat of ASIC… would that not open up ZEC to class-action lawsuits from large farmers? Has ZEC co. consulted with lawyers in regards to not keeping their word?

I mean… . personally I wouldnt do that to someone (sue them… just against my personal ethics)… but @Shawn (dont get me wrong shawn, i love you, your a great guy, not trying to pick on you by any means) has stated many times the algo would just be altered to eliminate ASICs… Shawn is an employee of ZEC co. (again not trying to pick on you Shawn, just using you as an example of a ZEC co empoloyee) there are many people who have invested 100,000’s of $ in GPUs and mining equipement… signed year or longer leases on bulidings… wouldn’t they be able to sue ZEC for losses? damages? @root

of coarse it is important to keep your word of altering the algo… if the word given that equihash would alter or change the algo to eliminate any threat of ASICs was not kept… how can we trust ZEC co. anymore?

once a promise is given… it should not be broken. Keeping equihash ASIC free was the reason why a lot of people trusted ZEC,… had faith in ZEC co… once you loose that Trust with your community… it will be very hard to regain that trust level ever again.

Personally I never sold or traded ZEC… I was a long time Hodler… but due to zooko’s comments… i have started to trade some ZEC for other cryptos like ADA…Stellar… and other coins that I believe have a future (I have enough ETH)… that is all because my trust with ZEC co. has been downgraded over zookos comments… I always had 100% trust and faith in ZEC co… I can’t say I do anymore… ZEC and ETH were always my 2 favorite cryptos for the last 1.5-2 years…

I asked:

@zooko Do you have any advice on how to alter Ethash so that any current ASIC in development or use would be rendered obsolete? Ethereum + Zcash both should be as decentralized as possible. 1 CPU = 1 Vote. Any suggestions? Helps is appreciated. Thanks”

In response i received this:

"I’m not sure it is possible. Also it might be undesirable, because commodity mining means miners have less at stake and don’t lose much if abandon or betray the project. Also CPU-mining means the people making the money are botnet gangs—not the people I want to have around. "

I just wonder if people who can’t keep their word are worth having around… sorry… I am loosing confidence in ZEC

We believed in ZEC… we were the behind the scenes builders of ZEC… and we can be thrown under the bus in an instant… scary thought…

we are expendable, because it is easier for us to betray the project…

im sorry, but that is LOW… really really LOW.

we did not have a problem paying ZEC co. the 20% founders fee… we literally paid ZEC co. salaries and we get ditched… I guess ZEC wont care cause they will get that salary if its through GPU or ASIC mining right? Money Talks…

Rich get richer… poor get poorer…

It is very sad that this topic even exists.

respect is supposed to be a 2-way street… doesn’t seem that way today with ZEC co.


You do appreciate that Zcash is a decentralised protocol? See amiller post above this is a great opportunity for the Zcash foundation to facilitate this.

@garethtdavies not sure why people who are not really wanted should care about voting. We are the betrayers… those who abandon ZEC… (meanwhile in reality it is the other way around isn’t it?)… that if ZEC co. did not keep their word… they would be the ones betraying and abandoning us.

it shouldn’t even require a vote as it was a promise given by ZEC co. employees.

and why should only forum members be approved for the vote? there may be people who have invested much more than forum members in mining just due to reading the posts by ZEC co. employees stating that equihash will eliminate any ASICs.

no one even really uses these forums anymore… just look at how old this thread is and how little attention it has got.

I would not be surprised if class-action lawsuits follow any ASIC take over of equihash.

we always have Monero… XMR actually cares about decentralization… they don’t need a vote… and it will be on ledger hardware wallets soon, so we will have a safe place to store it… and we can actually send anonymously from our ledgers with XMR … something that in 1.5 years ZEC has been unable to develop… easy to use anonymous transactions for the masses… I had faith in ZEC but it seems like ZEC is not getting proper development… and the 20% founders reward is getting squandered on practically useless things that do not actually benefit the use of ZEC… I honestly didn’t think that XMR would look more attractive than ZEC… but today it does.


I think you missed my point - it isn’t up to the Zerocoin Electric Coin company to dictate this.

Noone is suggesting this. amiller is suggesting that the Foundation facilitate the discussion around this topic. If there is clear consensus (which there probably is) and an ASIC-resistant POW change is proposed it can be implemented (as outlined above there are already two suitable time windows).

sure it is up to them to decide on what to do,… they are a company.

missed? or just dont care after zookos comments… you decide.

when a company makes a promise to investors, they need to keep it… or else there are consequences.

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@cryptomined I am not and have never claimed to be a part of Zcash Company. People that work for Zcash Company have the title “ZcashCo Team Member” where I am simply a Moderator.

My opinions are my own, I do think that Zcash should remain ASIC resistant as you can see by my first post in this thread but I ultimately have no say on the matter.

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oh ok, so who from the company told you they would alter the algo and why did you state it so many times previously? someone from the company must have told you something. and if you are a moderator, we could still say that you represent the opinions of ZEC co. if as a moderator you have been misreprsenting ZEC co… ZEC co should have said something to clarify. I’m sure a lawyer could figure it out. and you were just an example, others who represent ZEC co have also stated they would alter the algo… so I am not sure who is an employee or not… but either way… I think it crosses the line if that was not 100% true.

in responst to zooko inferring that GPU miners have less incentive to keep mining compared to ASIC miners… ASIC miners quit once a crypto is unprofitable also… look at Dash. I just dont think zooko has a very good opinion on GPU vs ASIC… makes me, and I am sure others, question his other opinions.

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Any statements I have made in reference to mining are based off of blog posts or issues opened by Zcash Company.


ok thanks for the clarification

again, im not saying that I would ever sue ZEC co… but others may feel differently

Equihash was chosen specifically for its ASIC-resistant properties. The question is whether ASICs are still good or bad for Zcash.

On one side ASICs could lead to centralization of mining. Before we even get there though, I think that pooled-mining is just as much, or even a greater danger than ASICs. Flypool (now Bitfly) has over 51% of hashpower and can do just about whatever they want, including making double-spends and protocol changes if they so choose. Yes, there are incentives for Flypool/Bitfly to not do this, as it would pull the carpet out from under the system, but at this point we’re in a state of blind trust.

Further, miners don’t seem to be interested in taking temporary losses by using a smaller pool in order to balance the system. I mined at a loss for some time to try to balance things, but didn’t see other miners being aware or caring as long as they were making as much profit as possible.

Ignoring the mining pool situation, ASICs have created an arms-race for sha256 where only a few large-players with the ability to research and manufacture chips will have control. @cryptomined has mentioned Bitmain, but the fact is that, love 'em or hate 'em Bitmain is the only legitimate manufacturer actually selling to regular consumers. Bitfury and SBI have both developed chips/boards but don’t sell to the public. Bitmain could have easily mined their own hardware, but instead they have a consumer-sales model which does add more decentralization than Bitfury and SBI. If an ASIC does exist, it might not make sense for that manufacturer to sell to the public. My thought is that a private ASIC would hurt Zcash over the long term.

As to @zooko’s comment that ASICS are more risky, I marginally disagree. Over time coins have tended to fork, giving miners alternatives (Bitcoin Cash as an alternative sha265 algo to Bitcoin). Further, miners focusing on Zcash will generally buy Nvidia cards which are more specifically tailored to Equihash than your AMD card lines. GPU systems are also more involved and require a much greater time investment to setup compared to your buy-a-box ASIC.

I’m really not sure what the answer is. I think someone like @amiller is most suited to fully analyze the risks of changing the POW and if it’s worth it. Further, changing the POW might not be ideal for Nvidia cards, which a lot of Zcash miners use. There are many possible outcomes.

By the way, is anyone looking to purchase a few hundred 1080 tis? :sweat_smile:


daira added “not in Sapling” label on Nov 10, 2017

What was the reason for that?

Quoting from http://www.crypto-news.in/news/alt-coins/zcash-founder-zooko-not-interested-asic-resistance/

“If there is enough interest and demand for ASIC Resistance, they will work towards it.”

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