Beam will execute the second hard fork as previously announced in our Roadmap.
This network upgrade will occur at Block Height 777777, expected to be reached on 28 June 2020.
Compatible releases of node, wallet, and miner will be versioned Eager Electron 5.0.
The Node and the Desktop Wallet binaries will be released around the end of May, 2020 to allow everyone approximately 30 days to upgrade to the new version.
The Mobile Wallets for Android and iOS will be released a little later.
All users will only need to upgrade their software to the latest version.
The binaries will support the current blockchain, and will automatically switch to the new consensus mechanism when the target block height is reached. No user intervention will be required. Funds will not be affected.
After the Block Height 777777 is reached, wallets earlier than 5.0 will stop working. The users will need to upgrade the wallets to version 5.0 or later to access the funds.
Is BeamHash III going to be a great improvement to the Beam mining network and is it better for GPU mining and GPU miners?
Yes! The wider memory operations in the design of BeamHash III allow better use of the fuller capabilities of a GPU card. Making it easier to saturate the given bandwidth of the GPU card, reducing the potential advantage of other devices, especially FPGAs.
The stronger algorithm binding of the new scheme utilised in BeamHash III will make ‘unknown optimisations’ potentially used for secret mining, more unlikely. Enhancing the network with what we hope to be 100% GPU mining (for the foreseeable future, at least) and ensuring any FPGA would be much similar sol/watt as the fastest of GPU mining cards.
Since this is to be the final anticipated algorithm change, how then, can GPU’s compete with any potential ASIC devices which may be designed for BeamHash III in the future?
Well, ASIC chips are often strong in compute operation to force the calculations of a particular algorithm to be faster and in turn give a mining device more ‘speed’ (aka hashrate), for less power. The lesser compute dependency of BeamHash III reduces the potential advantage of multi-chip Asics over GPUs whilst also allowing GPUs to run lesser clock rates, for more improved calculation ‘speed’ (hashrate). The reduced solution size compared to Equihash 150/5 allows us to give more room for the nonce without increasing the block header size.
If an ASIC is eventually produced which is able to handle BeamHash III, it would need to have a smaller compute fraction than that which is generally used for ASIC design. For multi-chip ASICs, that means that these would only have a tiny custom-designed chip which can in turn be made rather cheaply, because the main costs would come from the required memory and not as is generally utilised in expensive ASIC machines, from the compute chip.
For a single chip ASIC (and to note, this is not yet feasible with 7nm structure), the development costs would be much lower per chip (where production and yield would increase costs) and thus would likely not be economically feasible. Whilst nobody can predict how that fabrication might change in the future and it is possible that some ASICs may come into production, overall, BeamHash III certainly gives us some time until such ASICs are cost-effective. When multi chip ASICs do come, we can expect them to at least be affordable for miners who are keen to support the Beam network.
Ultimately, A single chip ASIC will invariably win in terms of sol/s per watt and also in terms of speed. But we have made it hard enough to build such a thing… At least, it’s not currently achievable.
What do miners have to do for the Hard Fork?
It’s important for us to make this switch for miners as seamless as possible. For this reason, we will release Eager Electron 5.0 in advance that will automatically switch to the new BeamHash III consensus at the appropriate block height, 777777. We will work closely with miner software developers and pool operators to encourage/ensure that you all you need is up to date and ready. So for miners, you can simply update your wallets and mining software prior to the hard fork height, and be switched over when the time is right, sit back, and keep on hashing!
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