Yesterday FlexPool released into open beta their lightweight farming client. It is completely rewritten from the ground up, does not require a wallet or full node running and synced to farm and has very little CPU usage. But because of the architecture, there are some major issues with FlexFarmer that I think can only be resolved through community effort.
I am quite happy with the direction this is headed, with a focus on making Chia farming more accessible and with an eye to the future when the blockchain database becomes too big and unwieldly to keep on low power hardware. Something like this will probably need to exist in the future, but hopefully not this exactly.
In the last day I have been talking to the Chia Network team and other people who know more about consensus mechanisms and distributed network protocols than I do and there are some legitimate concerns here. Primarily is that a setup like this, where the pool’s actually farm the blocks is bad for the ecosystem. In fact, Flexpool themselves put out a call to action about this very issue a few weeks ago on the other side of the debate.
Gene Hoffman had a few ideas in keybase how a remote farmer could operate securely, but the Chia team does not have infinite development resources to build up what FlexPool has from the ground up. So I’m going to put out another call to action, hopefully more people care this time.
I want FlexPool to opensource the software. Front-end, client and back end. This won’t solve the architectural issues, and it won’t immediately solve the trust issues. But what it will do is let the community solve them together and work on the issue from the giant step forward FlexPool has already made.
In their reddit announcement of FlexFarmer they were asked this question and said if the community paid the development costs they would do so. But they didn’t say what those are. So I want FlexPool to tell us how much it cost them to develop this software so we can make a decision whether or not to buy it from them. When I asked Chris from FlexPool how much in Keybase he said when they get to 1 EiB of pooled netspace they would be able to afford to release it. I can’t influence that portion, nor would I encourage anyone to join a pool for that reason. But its possible we can pay their costs as a community.
Or not. Maybe this doesn’t matter. But I think between FlexFarmer and the newly announced Nucle wallet (assuming it does what it says) the barrier to entry for farming on FlexPool is very low. And that’s a real competitive advantage the other pools should consider when I hit them up for this.