Vitalik Buterin Interview #5 – What Is Ethereum (ETH) Mining?

Tai: What’s up guys! This is Tai Zen again with, it’s a blog where we talk about the tools, the techniques, the strategies and technologies that are available to help people find freedom in their lives. With us here today is James D’Angelo from World Bitcoin Network, we also have Vitalik with the Ethereum project and these are some of the guys that are in the forefront of helping people find freedom when it comes to the currency world.

Tai: How old are you Vitalik?
Vitalik: I just turned 20 a month ago.
Tai: Ok, good job. Is it Vai-tah-lik or is it Vee-tah-leek?
Vitalik: It’s Vai-tah-lik
Tai: And the last name is Buterin? OK

Tai: Since you brought up the mining. Is there mining in Ethereum?

Vitalik: Yes

Tai: Is it similar to what the mining is in Bitcoin?

Vitalik: Originally we wanted to have some kind of mining algorithm that helps to fight against centralization, so originally we were looking at memory-hard ideas like Dagger’s. So I came up with an algorithm that set like 200 times more memory hard than scripted and I accomplished that while simultaneously actually being slightly easier to verify that script.

Tai: What is the purpose of that? Do you have a decentralized network?

Vitalik: The process of that is to make it more difficult to create ASICs for it so as it turns out Dagger is great mathematically but it’s not all that great when you have GPUs with shared memory, from there we moved on to different proof of stake ideas our latest idea is actually interesting.

It’s proof of work based on executing random transactions on random data from the blockchain so the point of that is that in order to be a miner you would actually have to store the entire blockchain. You have to have a functioning Ethereum scripting engine from that you basically remove a lot of centralization because right now the Bitcoin mining system is heavily centralized because you have Bitcoin miners that are just grabbing block headers from ghash.

When they’re just mining on them without even thinking about what they’re mining so has a lot of control over the whole system so here that’s not really possible if you want to mine you basically have there’s no real benefit to mine in that pool of mining sort of setup

Tai: That’s great

Vitalik: Yeah and then the other issue is that you know first of all it’s very hard and it is going to be harder to make ASIC but it’s probably not going to be impossible but the nice thing is that if those ASICs exist then those ASICs are going to simultaneously be ASICs for processing transactions so that also is going to help actually solve our scalability problem

James: Okay now so doesn’t that mean that if you are digging into the blockchain and plunging that you’re going to actually have to parse the blockchain much more with a little more air in it? Right now the Bitcoin blockchain is so packed that I can’t get in it on my Bitcoin rig and just grab stuff and that’s been a common component. That’s been a common component you know

Vitalik: You can grab stuff, if you set the txindex=1 then you can actually query everything, any transactions.

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