Zcash Governance Panel Shoots Down Research on ASIC Resistance


Members of the zcash community have voted not to prioritize ASIC resistance, according to the results of a governance panel led by the Zcash Foundation.

Announced at the ¬†Zcon0 conference in Montreal on Thursday, the ballot, which proposed to prioritize ASIC resistance and “discourag[e] the use of ASIC mining equipment in favor of [graphics card] mining equipment,” saw 19 votes in favor, with 45 votes against the proposal.

As detailed by CoinDesk, the emergence of specialized hardware capable of mining the cryptocurrency has been the source of division in the community. “ASIC resistance,” put more simply, means altering a network’s code in order to block the kinds of super-efficient hardware that are commonly found in large-scale bitcoin mining operations.

This approach is valued by some because it enables a wider array of miners to participate, especially those who do not have the resources to purchase ASICs, which can cost thousands of dollars apiece compared to several hundred for a GPU. This approach, some would argue, makes for a more decentralized network of miners.

Andrew Miller, president of the Zcash Foundation, said he was “surprised” by the outcome, telling attendees:

“I am personally surprised by this outcome, but this is a fairly strong signal of disagreement. My interpretation of this is that we’re not going to make any hasty decisions like diverting all of the Zcash Foundation resources to promoting ASIC resistance.”

Research greenlight

That’s not to say that the issue is being left untouched entirely.

Indeed, in a separate ballot, the governance panel voted 38-to-26 to research longer-term solutions, such as more “thermodynamically efficient” consensus algorithms,¬† as well as studies into open-source hardware, according to the results.

In a mining workshop at the conference Tuesday, members of the Zcash Company, the primary entity that maintains zcash code, said it would define a more formal stance on ASICs prior to the Sapling upgrade in October.

Speaking at the conference, Miller said the governance panel, which saw a total of 64 elected individuals voting on changes for the cryptocurrency, is intended to inform the foundation’s priorities for the year.

Operating independently of the Zcash Company, the Zcash Foundation is intended to decentralize the decision-making power on the network.

“We want to include ideas of open governance, including community involvement in our decision making is a key part of what we’re trying to do,” Miller said.

The process included a total of 7 ballots, including a question about transferring ownership of the zcash trademark from the Zcash Company to the Foundation. That measure saw 48 votes in favor against 15 who disagreed.

The panel also voted to elect Clovyr CEO Amber Baldet and Ian Miers, co-founder of zcash, as new board members of the Foundation.

“The community resolution tallies reflect thoughtful (and sometimes surprising!) guidance. Let’s get to work!” Baldet tweeted.

Disclosure: Rachel-Rose O’Leary participated in the governance panel.

Image via CoinDesk.

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.


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