To ASIC or not ASIC, that is the question

Leo Zhang

By Leo Zhang

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Editor's note

*As altcoins market caps rise, ASIC manufacturers are turning their attentions to the smaller, but more lucrative, Proof-of-Work mined networks. Monero hard forked away from its ASIC-infested hashing algorithm, and resulted in four new projects. Ethereum Researcher Vitalik Buterin opposes a hard fork in his network, despite the appearance of a new Bitmain Ethereum miner called E3. Joining the debate, Zooko Wilcox, the founder of Zcash, expressed his rather pro-ASIC stance on making the network more secure (see story below). Whether to embrace ASICs will be one of the most important questions for public blockchain developers to debate.

This week's news recap

Tuesday: Ethereum ASICs are here: is a hard fork next?
Wednesday: Ripple tried to bribe its way onto Coinbase, reports Bloomberg
Thursday: How not to deal with a 51 percent attack
Friday: Monero did the thing with the thing!

Further reading this week

ZCash Founder Zooko is not interested in ASIC resistance
(Crypto News, Vignesh S)

"Also, he felt ACIS miners might add better value for a cryptocurrency. GPU miners have very little incentive to stick to one cryptocurrency. Since multiple Cryptocurrencies use GPU for Mining, miners with these rigs regularly switch the coin they are mining to make maximum profits. So if ZCash drops in value, GPU miners might switch to other cryptocurrencies, leaving ZCash network in shambles."

Why the world doesn't understand Bitcoin yet
(Juice)

"The bitcoin maximalists and Rotherbardians are left to argue that central banks, bankers, the state influence, and the citizenry invested in the domestic currency will simply allow the currency to fail and be supplanted by bitcoin when they have a perfectly actionable counter response."

Doubts about the long-term viability of utility cryptoassets
(John Pfeffer)

"The framework I use to think about that question is the following. Frictionlessness and interoperability make it overwhelmingly likely that the future will be massively multi-protocol and that protocols will be hyper-specialised to maximise on whatever dimensions are most important for the niche they serve."

Lightning network status report: major flaws and topology concerns
(CryptoMedication)

"The vast majority of channels on the network are produced by singular node entities. This, too, fortifies the idea that the protocol has become substantially more centralized over the last few weeks."

Debunking "but Bitcoin is like early Internet!"
(David Gerad)

"But what the Internet had was compelling real-life use cases. People took to email the moment it was invented. (People bought drugs over email a couple of years after it was invented.) The moment Mosaic added pictures to the World Wide Web, people got the idea and wanted that immediately."

I'm Mark Karpelès, ex-CEO of bankrupt MtGox. Ask me anything.

I'm Mark Karpelès, ex-CEO of bankrupt MtGox. Ask me anything. from r/Bitcoin

Musing on markets
(Aswath Damodaran)

"Collectively, the FANG stocks lost $282 billion in market capitalization between March 15 and April 2 and contributed significantly to the drop in US equity markets over that period. To put that in perspective, the market capitalization lost in just these four companies in about two weeks was greater than the total value all crypto currencies (Bitcoin and all its relatives) as of the start of April of 2018, perhaps suggesting that we have been letting ourselves get distracted by penny change, when dollars are at stake."