Ethereum’s ProgPoW has passed the test according to the Ethereum Cat Herders audits, although it could also become obsolete as technology evolves.
The main goal behind the introduction of Programmatic Proof-of-Work (ProgPoW) algorithm, is to make Ethereum more resistant to ASIC miners, this way incentivizing decentralization of mining efforts.
At the time of the Ethereum proposal, ProgPoW was set to close the efficiency gap available to specialized ASICs by making better use of standard GPUs.
As a result, the hashrate of the network would be much more dispersed contributing to a higher degree of security and decentralization. This would also make it harder for a small hand of people to mount a 51 percent attack on the network.
ProgPoW has been in the works for some time and is scheduled for release in early 2020. The Ethereum community has been waiting on the Herders’ audit to dispel concerns around the potential implementation of ProgPoW, and its impact on the network.
The Ethereum Cat Herders is a group of independent contributors funded by the Ethereum Foundation and Bitfly. The Herders support development processes around Ethereum and its ecosystem, providing security tests, audits and monitoring Ethereum Improvement Proposals (EIP).
The Herders’ software audit of the ProgPoW algorithm found that the code was accurate and reasonably effective at reducing the advantage given to ASIC miners. The caveat is that future hardware advancements may potentially tip the balance back in favor of specialized miners.
The audit of the hardware found that while ProgPoW does remove ASIC miners from the network, it may be short-lived. As computational chips become more powerful and accessible, ASIC miners could be adapted to bypass the system and start mining Ethereum again.
Nonetheless, the audit has an overall positive augur for Ethereum as ProgPoW can be included in the second update for Ethereum’s Istanbul upgrade set to take place during the early phases of 2020.
Ethereum’s community has a relatively positive view of ProgPoW, according to a report by The Ethereum Cat Herders. 94 percent of coin holders were in favor of ProgPoW; while 100 percent of the miners were in favor of it. With additional confirmation of ProgPoW’s effectiveness, the community may soon get what it has been waiting for.