I know scrypt was designed to lessen the GPU/ASIC advantage.

We now have litecoin as a real-world example of this. However, it hasn't worked out perfectly. Most coins are mined by GPUs, although the advantage is probably smaller than it would have been with SHA-256.

I wonder how the future for scrypt and newer generations of this approach looks like:

  1. Are there alternatives being developed?
  2. Are there specific issues exposed by Litecoin that could be addressed?
  • $\begingroup$ You mention ASIC, and the page you link to mentions "rise of specialized ASICs for Bitcoin"; is anything substantiating that claim? Or is ASIC used for FPGA (which is not an ASIC to me)? $\endgroup$
    – fgrieu
    Commented Apr 18, 2013 at 11:04
  • $\begingroup$ +fgrieu Yes, ASIC mining happens today, but whether it is done today or not isn't relevant to the question I think. bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=178275.0 $\endgroup$
    – user239558
    Commented Apr 18, 2013 at 19:02
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Ask Colin Percival? $\endgroup$ Commented May 6, 2013 at 18:48
  • $\begingroup$ One can simply adjust the memory use parameter of scrypt. Litecoin chose a really small amount of memory. It's also possible to design a new scheme that doesn't allow certain time-memory trade-offs the GPU implementation takes advantage of. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 17, 2013 at 6:40

1 Answer 1


I believe scrypt is designed to be scaled to be both memory hard and cpu hard by explicit design.

As a result, most implementations of scrypt will require you to input a desired cpu difficulty as well as a desired memory difficulty. On a gpu, where each core has very little memory, it would be trivial to see that, unless gpus gain a great deal of memory in the near future, you can crank the memory difficulty up to the point where it will be barely tolerable for a cpu let alone a memory-light gpu core.

Simply, scrypt doesn't need to be improved, it just needs to be utilized in a manner that will achieve the desired results. Even if you look now, you will see that scrypt is doing a superb job at preventing a serious rise of hashing rate with the advent of the ability to use gpus as the rate is currently measured in kh/s per second rather than mh/s on the same devices.


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