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Since the early days of cryptocurrencies, we have seen attempts to utilize ASIC-resistant mining puzzles. The idea behind that was to keep rich influential custom-hardware manufacturers out of game and make mining viable on commodity hardware. But as it turnd out lately, all such current attempts are doomed to fail. And the actual higher difficulty of producing ASICs for ASIC-resistant puzzles brings even more corruption and controversy.

It feels like there's no point in trying to come up with some memory hardness anymore. There will always be one company willing to spend $200M on custom hardware, because in the end it does not really matter whether it's 10x or 100000x more effective. It's frankly not possible to stay competetive against it. Wasn't it better if all currencies just utilized Blake2, or dSHA256 right now? How did we even arrive in this situation? Did nobody anticipate it to happen if the Market-cap raises this significantly? Are there any new ideas or Mining-puzzles being provably nonASICable, e. g. some memory-superhardness or whatever, or is the era of evading ASICs over?

  • I read an interesting article recently that touched on this, I will try and find it. – Willtech May 30 '18 at 8:55
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    @Willtech blog.sia.tech/the-state-of-cryptocurrency-mining-538004a37f9b Yes it's been obsolete for years, but that doesn't stop newcomers from trying and scammers from pushing it. – Jannes May 30 '18 at 12:23
  • All coins using the same algorithm would make miners not "sticky' to particular coins, making coins vulnerable to a downward value spiral as miners flee a dropping coin and the coin drops due to loss of mining. We saw some of this play out with BTC/BCH using the same mining algo. – David Schwartz May 30 '18 at 12:55
  • @Jannes Yes, that was the article. – Willtech May 31 '18 at 10:33
  • @DavidSchwartz I agree that miners fleeing a currency correlates with a downward spiral, we have seen it, but do not agree that causation has been identified. Less mining has power does not inherently mean lower market prices. I would think it more likely that as well as fleeing to mine an alternate currency they were also cashing out, putting additional downward pressure on price. – Willtech May 31 '18 at 10:36
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In the linked article the author describes in quite some detail the failure of asic-resistance. (Thank you @Jannes for finding it.)

ASIC Resistance

We’ve been pessimistic on ASIC resistance for a long time, and our journey into the hardware world solidly confirmed our position. Hardware is extremely flexible. General purpose computational devices like CPUs, GPUs, and even DRAM all make substantial compromises to their true potential in order to be useful for general computation. For basic hardware development, most algorithms can see substantial optimization just by taking away all of that generality and focusing on one specific thing.

The vast majority of ASIC-resistant algorithms were designed by software engineers making assumptions about the limitations of custom hardware. These assumptions tend to be incorrect.

https://blog.sia.tech/the-state-of-cryptocurrency-mining-538004a37f9b

It seems, on the basis that the article is both articulate sufficiently and, correct, that there is no actual hope for asic-resistance in any currency of potential future value.

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