How Ethereum Smart Contracts Could Replace Mining Pool Operators

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Ethereum smart contracts might one day be used to combat one of the biggest problems with cryptocurrencies at large, if a new project called SmartPool comes to fruition.

Today, nine mining pools make up roughly 75% of the bitcoin hashrate, and the situation is similar for ethereum and the rest.

Such “mining centralization” is seen as a potential down-the-road issue for all cryptocurrencies. The problem is that large mining pools have the potential to exert their power in ways that impact users in a negative way.

Some bitcoin developers even think that the threat is so severe that they have discussed developing an emergency hard fork to change the mining algorithm. The alternative code, if deployed, would render current mining pools useless.

While many are wary of using the hard fork upgrading mechanism in other circumstances if all stakeholders don’t agree, the strength of this idea is that it could be used to make miners wary of abusing their power.

Countering the risk

So far, the risks seem to be hypothetical, as centralization hasn’t necessarily impacted the network negatively in a conspicuous way.

But researchers like computer science PhD student Loi Luu worry that it could.

The reason mining has remained so centralized, in Luu’s eyes, is that attempts to decentralize

Read more ... source: CoinDesk

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