The Ethereum Foundation is funding efforts to create data mining hardware specializing in partnership with Filecoin, the blockchain data storage network.
Announced Thursday at Devcon, the annual gathering of developers in Prague, researcher Justin Drake of the Ethereum Foundation presented preliminary designs for application-specific integrated circuits, or ASICs, which will support an incoming ethereum technology called the "light signal chain" .
In essence, the beacon chain is a generator of random numbers, and is expected to be part of the next major iteration of the ethereum – ethereum 2.0 network – with an alternative consensus protocol, pole test (compared to the demonstration of work approach) used today).
While the term "ASIC" in the cryptocurrency space is more commonly associated with the technology applied to mining, the proposed hardware ethereum 2.0 is not demanding in that same high-calculation process.
Instead, these ASIC devices will engage in a relatively less expensive operation known as a verifiable delay function. This helps to mix the validators that are intended to replace the miners in the ethereum game testing system. The idea is that the hardware will prevent any individual or organization from coaling enough energy to overcome the operations of the system.
All in all, the project is estimated to cost between $ 20 million and $ 30 million, according to Drake. This includes $ 15 million to $ 25 million for research and development, plus $ 5 million to build about 5,000 machines.
In addition, the Ethereum Foundation and Filecoin – which raised more than $ 250 million through an initial coin offer (ICO) last year – will split research and development costs in mid-fifties. Their overall commitments could be reduced, since Drake left the door open to other blockchain projects that provided funds.
Looking ahead to work, Drake has struck a positive tone, in particular the prospect of designing and implementing the plan in an open source way.
"Open source ASICs have never been done before, so it's all very exciting for me," Drake noted.
Photo by Justin Drake taken by Phil Lucsok