For a long time I thought hardforking the PoW in Bitcoin would be disastrous. The security falling apart etc etc. In reality if Bitcoin hardforked to an egalitarian proof of work that equals the playing field for all miner participants the security of the network would be far stronger than today's reliance on China's warehouse mining operations as well as take the power back as users. Users were always supposed to be miners, but when ASICs became popular only very wealthy individuals have been able to feasibly mine, thus keeping the users left out of consensus in the network.
There are very few PoWs that are truly egalitarian for miners with either CPU, GPU, or ASIC to all be on very similar playing fields for hash/$.
My proposal is Cryptonight being the candidate for the PoW change. For those unaware, Cryptonight is a PoW that is prevalent in Cryptonote coins like Monero for example. Cryptonight has existed for roughly 3 years and in this time span ASICs still do not exist, presumably because the financial incentive does not exist in cryptonote coins but there surely would be in Bitcoin if it were to use Cryptonight.
Cryptonight has a memory-hard properties that give GPUs roughly 3x more performance over CPUs, which is quite astounding because the only other memory-hard PoW that has similar qualities to Cryptonight is Cuckoo Cycle, but recently Cuckoo Cycle has a much larger gap between CPU and GPU performance. GPUs being between 15-20x more efficient than CPUs.
Cryptonight requires 2MB of memory for an AES scratchpad that is very expensive to parallelize. Cryptonight ASICs would have a similar performance gap like CPUs and GPUs currently have(roughly 3x). GPU miners and even CPU miners would still be able to compete with ASIC miners greatly decentralizing the hashrate in the Bitcoin network and allowing regular users to voice their opinion through hashrate once again like pre-ASIC days of Bitcoin.
There are many people who would love to be able to CPU or GPU mine bitcoin. Every GPU miner that mines alts would jump ship very quickly because most miners convert back to bitcoin anyway. I have a 6 GPU rig kicking around and spare laptops that I would love to use for CPU mining, I know I am not the only one here. Bitcoin would steal the show for miners if CPU and GPU mining made a comeback with a Cryptonight PoW hardfork.
China would no longer have an iron grasp over the network allowing decentralized consensus to exist and softforks like segwit and other changes getting activated would be reflected accordingly to the community of miners and not what lines the pockets of chinese miners.
The key here is accessibility and Cryptonight PoW would still surely have large GPU mining farms etc but we no longer have to concede to buying overpriced worn-in ASICs that has a shelf life shorter than a year. Every consumer PC would be able to mine on CPU and more dedicated miners today that have GPU rigs would participate.
Cuckoo Cycle is worth noting as a candidate for the PoW hardfork but has not been tested in a single cryptocurrency and would predominantly be GPU miners cutting out miners who would want to use their CPUs.
A UASF is a short-term solution to pushing through segwit. Every upgrade can't and should not be a UASF. Sooner or later action will need to be taken in the form of a PoW hardfork to take back control from chinese ASIC warehouse farms.
I hope a Cryptonight PoW hardfork is seen as a positive change in Bitcoin among the community and we can restore the balance of users having a real voice in the network, not having to rely on chinese miners centralization and finally see a new era of Bitcoin growth and improvement. Bitcoin's halted progress will be stamped out starting with a PoW hardfork.
The Cryptonight specifications are here if anyone is interested in reading more.
Thanks for reading 🙂