A consortium of Ethereum (ETH) miners, companies, and users have signed a petition to explicitly declare that they are against ProgPoW and the upcoming Proof of Stake (PoS) transition. This article explores what this situation is all about, and questions whether this is the beginning of a major schism in the Ethereum (ETH) community.
The petition is contained within Ethereum Improvement Proposal (EIP) 2538. EIP 2538 is against EIP 1057, which is a hard fork that will replace Ethereum’s (ETH) Proof of Work (PoW) mining algorithm with ProgPoW.
Essentially, ProgPoW will block application specific integrated circuit (ASIC) miners. However, pretty much all serious Ethereum (ETH) miners use ASIC technology, so ProgPoW would completely disenfranchise the Ethereum (ETH) mining community.
Indeed, the stated goal of ProgPoW is to eliminate ASIC miners so that they cannot resist the developer’s planned transition to PoS.
In other words, the Ethereum (ETH) developers are planning on getting rid of the mining community completely, and the ProgPoW hard fork would neuter the mining community, after which point the developers will be able to implement whatever hard forks they want.
Another way of thinking about it is that the Ethereum (ETH) developers are trying to obtain centralized control of the Ethereum (ETH) network and development process, but now the mining industry and users who favor decentralization are standing up to stop the developers from centralizing the network.
Notably, this miner uprising is coming only a few months after the difficulty bomb was delayed for years. Essentially, the difficulty bomb would slow Ethereum (ETH) block times to a crawl, meaning it would cut into mining revenues and ruin the usability of the network if a hard fork did not happen before the difficulty bomb went off. The developers used the difficulty bomb to force hard forks and network changes.
However, now that the difficulty bomb is no longer in play, miners are no longer being held hostage, and they can choose to resist the forks proposed by the Ethereum (ETH) developers without losing mining revenue.
The hard fork which would bring about ProgPoW was supposed to occur in July, but now it is obvious that if the developers do that hard fork they will likely have a community split and chain split on their hands, where the mining community splits off and continues to mine a fully PoW Ethereum (ETH).
Ultimately, it seems Ethereum (ETH) is at a crossroads. For years the Ethereum (ETH) developers have been planning on transitioning the network to PoS in order to increase scalability, but it is clear that decentralization will have to be sacrificed in order to do that. Now the Ethereum (ETH) mining community, among other companies and users, have declared that they prefer to keep Ethereum (ETH) decentralized.
Thus, it seems an Ethereum (ETH) chain split is coming at some point, where the Ethereum (ETH) developers continue to move towards PoS while the Ethereum (ETH) miners and a large fraction of the community keep Ethereum (ETH) PoW and decentralized.
The big questions are which version of Ethereum (ETH) will be dominant once this split occurs and how much value will the Ethereum (ETH) market lose due to this conflict. Only time will tell.