I seem to read this argument all the time - for example here or here - that GPUs are more general interest, so consumers are more likely to have them, and so, because there's one less filter specializing miners, mining remains marginally more democratic. This argument is given as a reason for why ASIC-resistance in ETHash inhibits mining from being very centralized.

But 1) ETH mining pools remain very centralized (top 2 have almost 50%?) and 2) qualitatively, it seems to me that most people with GPUs who mine are those who bought the GPU in order to mine (impression built from r/EtherMining, eth.stackex posts, etc. Happy to see evidence towards the contrary!). (1) seems to suggest that the ASIC-resistance didn't inculcate much miner decentralization in the first place, (2) seems to suggest the reason for this is that there's low overlap in people with GPUs who use them for other things and people with GPUs who use them to mine.

Does anyone have words on either point? Am I missing the original (or, another) argument as to why ASIC-resistance inhibits centralized mining pools? Why don't these args seem to play out in practice? I'm just generally interested in the phenomenon of miner concentration and would like to hear smart arguments as to what to consider.

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    This is a really great question. Here are my two cents. The main point is that specialized (and often unattainable by the average consumer) ASIC hardware outcompetes your regular GPU by magnitudes and may push out honest participants leading to miner concentration. So a lack of ASIC-resistance welcomes a vector for miner concentration. Having ASIC-resistance removes a specific failure mode that can lead to miner centralization, but doesn't necessarily stop miner centralization all-together (which can happen for many other reasons). Mar 23, 2022 at 0:39


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