MakerDAO founder says Ethereum progPoW fork could collapse DAI

Yesterday, MakerDAO founder Rune Christensen acknowledged on twitter that an progPoW fork of Ethereum could cause DAI to collapse. 

“It is vitally important that Maker ends up following the blockchain with the highest ETH price, since otherwise it could cause Dai to collapse. If Maker proactively picks a fork it could help solidify momentum for that fork, but there might be unintended consequences.”

This was a response to a comment on his poll about how MakerDAO should handle an event where progPoW splits the Ethereum network.

Christensen asked on twitter if MakerDAO should proactively choose a fork to support if the network were to split. He then clarified to another twitter user the alternative option. 

“Trying to not commit to or signal anything until a general consensus has been found in the wider community, and then just go with the majority chain.”

The poll linked to his tweet had a clear preference which was that MakerDAO should proactively choose a preferred Ethereum fork. Commenters were worried that not choosing a fork to support would result with DAI holders panicking. 

Results of Rune Christensen's poll on how to deal with ETH fork

What is progPoW?

progPoW is a refined way of mining that allows users with commercial GPUs to mine more efficiently those with ASICs. An ASIC uses similar GPU architecture but is designed specially for mining algorithms. 

Mining algorithms have never fully utilized commercial GPUs. This lead to manufacturers designing a GPU like chip-set that is more efficient for mining specific tasks than GPUs. 

Some of the appeal to blockchain technology is that anyone with a computer can mine and participate in the democratic aspects of networks. ASICs changed the dynamic to where the average computer owner would be at a dramatic disadvantage when mining. 

This all sounds great, but in a recent Ethereum Core Devs Meetings streamed on YouTube, a developer noted that “progPoW could cause a network split.”

Why is MakerDAO worried? 

progPoW has been approved multiple times by the ethereum community, but has only ever made it to the auditing phase. Even in the past 24 hours, every voter out of about 5200 voted yes for progPoW on etherchain.org

According to Tim Beiko, who reported on the dev meeting, Trent Van Epps summarized the contention behind implementing progPoW.

“Trent adds that a lot of the broader Ethereum community’s objections are more political in nature and that a lot of the AllCoreDevs’s concerns are more technical in nature. He’s doing the hard job of trying to bridge both communities”

People on both sides of the argument are passionate about their stances, and there is where the fear lies for the stability of DAI. Nonetheless, progPoW is tentatively accepted to be implemented in an upcoming Ethereum update. Afterwards, we will see just how many people want to adopt it or if there is a significant group of people who want to stay with the current PoW model.

Passionate opinions about ProgPoW on Twitter

Update: Founder of MakerDAO Rune Christensen further clarified on Reddit that he doesn’t think it would be hard to get full consensus on either fork.

“Maker would have to work together with the whole ecosystem to try to pick the right fork for as much of the network as possible. TBH I dont think it would be hard to get full consensus on either fork. The actual progpow split is limited to the people feeding the drama on twitter, unlike something like the DAO fork which was truly a split in the entire community.”

(Image via MakerDAO)