There is a growing anxiety amongst miners working to secure the ethereum blockchain. The problems for them stems from the new ASICS, which is the specialised mining hardware built to maximize the software’s rewards and on the ethereum forum, there are a number of miners threatening to take their equipment to other crytpocurrencies.
One forum user asked: “What is the ether value when all the miners quit?” The answer is not one ETH holders want to hear.
This state of affairs comes in advance of an ethereum software upgrade scheduled for October. Called Constantinople, the change, which is to be conducted via a hard fork, will reduce the amount of coins paid out to miners from 3 ETH to 2 ETH per block. So, you can see what the problem is!
According to figures from Etherscan, about 6,000 blocks are currently found per day, with about 17,000 ETH (roughly $3.4 million) being paid out to miners.
There is also a fear that the change won’t affect all miners equally. Rather, some think it’s likely to concentrate mining power in a small number of pools with access to cheap electricity that also have the resources to purchase ASICs.
Brian Venturo, CEO of mining company Atlantic Crypto, told CoinDesk: “This community of small miners, hundreds of thousands, is now faced with the economic reality that selling their used hardware may be a better outcome than continuing to participate in ETH.”
For some, it is also a question of preserving the role of small miners, which they believe is essential for keeping the blockchain decentralised, because they use a GPU card.
There is an attempt to block ASICS use from some quarters. Kristy-Leigh Minehan, a GPU provider is advocating a code change that will block ASICS from taking over etheruem and if it is adopted, she thinks it will lead to performance gains for GPU miners.