Speculative mining discussion

To be honest, we don’t know the answer to this. Our goals are to make mining profitable for casual enthusiasts, using hardware that they already own, when it is idle (e.g. your smartphone while it is plugged in overnight). This would be a revival of the original Satoshi Nakamoto vision of a very decentralized network of miners.

However, our actual process isn’t guaranteed to achieve that goal — it is just our current best attempt. Our process is:

  • to study Equihash and ask others to do so in order to minimize the chance of us later being surprised by how much of an advantage people can get from proprietary optimizations or custom-hardware-implementations,

  • implement an optimized implementation for 64-bit CPUs (Optimize Equihash implementation · Issue #857 · zcash/zcash · GitHub)

  • choose final parameters (Select feasible Equihash Parameters · Issue #856 · zcash/zcash · GitHub)

  • maybe we would consider tweaking the algorithm a little if it seems like there is a really valuable tweak to be made to give more advantages to laptops, tablets, and smartphones (in particular I’m thinking of Solar Designer’s MAXFORM tweak for Argon2d, and also his suggestion to make memory reads come in 1 KiB spans in order to reduce TLB misses for CPUs). But we probably won’t have time to mess with that before launch.

Now, what hardware setup will be most cost-efficient after we do the above, and whether the above will succeed in our goal of rewarding enthusiasts who don’t put in a capital investment, your guess is as good as mine.