Vlad Zamfir, Leading Ethereum developer, has polled his Twitter followers and found out that more than half of all participants support the introduction of the hardfork in order to stop ASIC miners. Almost 7000 people voted in the survey, and only 13% rejected the proposed move.
ASIC miners are currently the most cost-efficient devices on the market. However, they are designed to perform only one specific function and thus can lose all functionality if the mining algorithms are modified. The Ethash protocol which is used by Ethereum was compatible only with GPU mining until Bitmain announced the creation of ETH ASIC in late March. Bitmain dominates the mining market and the community members are worried about the possibility of losing miners decentralization.
Similar steps have been taken before; Monero tweaks its mining algorithms twice a year, for the same reason – to make ASIC usage impossible.
The importance of mining is going to be purposefully decreased as Ethereum is planning to move to Proof-of-Stake protocol. However, the development of new Ethereum ASICs makes some experts speculate that Proof-of-Work protocol will be still supported.