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ProgPoW backer steps down from controversial role

Ben Munster


Kristy-Leigh Minehan, one of the primary forces behind the controversial Ethereum upgrade known as “ProgPoW,” has stepped down from her role as CTO of Core Scientific, a position that had been perceived by some as a conflict of interest. 

“Today, I announce that I have stepped down as CTO of Core Scientific,” Minehan wrote on Twitter, on Tuesday. “I believe that ProgPoW is of such importance to ETH's transition to ETH 2.0 that I felt removing any potential conflict or professional associations was important.”

ProgPoW, an Ethereum upgrade “tentatively” slated for implementation following the Istanbul hard fork, is intended to lessen the influence of expensive “ASIC” miners in favor of cheaper, more democratic GPU miners. But observers have suggested Minehan’s position at mining and AI infrastructure provider Core Scientific—which has brokered exclusive GPU partnerships with hardware giant NVIDIA—puts her in a tricky spot. Minehan, nonetheless, has steadfastly denied any wrongdoing. 

Indeed, Minehan herself appears keen to delve deeper. “I look forward to helping the community find answers to the questions raised around ProgPoW, and I am extremely thankful to the amazing team at Core Scientific for being supportive of my decision,” she wrote on Twitter. Asked for comment, Minehan demurred, insisting she was busy and would follow up later on. 

Core Scientific Chief Administrative Officer Matthew Bishop, speaking to Decrypt, said the departure was entirely Kristy’s prerogative, insisting that she planned to “fully dedicate herself to ProgPow.” 

In a statement, he added: “Kristy-Leigh Minehan, Chief Technology Officer, has decided to focus her time and effort to ensuring ProgPoW is successful during these critical moments of adoption.”