Sometime back, Bitmain announced that their ASIC miners can mine ZCash (ZEC). However, the ZCash community is up in arms against this idea. That’s because this move would concentrate all the mining power in the hands of Bitmain, thereby eliminating the whole idea of decentralization in this crypto. The ZCash team seems to have listened to the community, and they now planning on a software upgrade that will make ASIC miners irrelevant. While this might make people who think ASIC miners undermine crypto decentralization happy, it might actually not be the best decision for ZCash, and for practical reasons.
First, the fact that Bitmain made the announcement means that they have equipment to mine ZCash for some time now. This means that they might have been mining ZCash already. In essence, even trying to change the software, in an attempt to cut them off might have no much impact. That’s because they might have mined enough of these coins already to manipulate the price of ZCash (ZEC). That’s why trying to change the software at this point would not achieve much in terms of maintaining decentralized control. It would only disrupt the operations of small time ASIC miners.
On top of that, changing the code to lock out ASIC miners could easily open up the system to other problems such as multiple forks that might end up degrading the system. A good example of this is Monero (XMR). Sometime back, Monero changed the code to lock out ASIC miners. From that point on, there have been multiple forks that have created four Monero offshoots. This would not be good for the long-term brand value of ZCash. It could easily push down the value of ZCash in an increasingly saturated market. The privacy aspect of the crypto market is increasingly getting crowded, with new privacy coins coming up every day.
Besides, ASIC miners have a number of advantages over GPU miners. For instance, they are faster and more efficient at mining. They are also have a very hash rate, which means they can outperform any other miners. All these are factors that add efficiency to the ZCash network, something that would disappear once they change the code and make ZCash resistant to ASIC miners.
There is also the fact that what most people fear about ASIC miners is that their production is only controlled by a few big players, Bitmain being the largest of them all. However, what most people don’t understand is that competition will eventually catch up with Bitmain. It’s simple economics. Any business that is highly profitable is bound to attract competition in the long-run. The crypto mining equipment business is no different. In the long-run, Bitmain will attract serious competition, and ASIC mining will change for the better. In essence, changing the code just to lock out one company from mining ZCash would be a short-sighted move.
The good part is that even though the community is pushing for this code change, the ZCash (ZEC) team is still researching on it. Hopefully, they will realize that it’s not the best move to make.