Monero Hard Fork set to block ASIC Miners
By Block Society
In February 2018 Bitmain announced the launch of its Application-Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC) powered Antminer X3. Since ASIC chips are specifically designed for a certain blockchain, they are much more efficient at mining than a CPU or GPU, thus rendering them much less profitable. The Antiminer X3 was designed to mine the CryptoNight hashing algorithm used by Monero (XMR). Monero is a privacy-centered altcoin that has been vehemently ASIC resistant. The vision of the Monero developers is to be open for mining to all users and not just corporate ASIC mining farms as is the case with bitcoin.
By March 2018, Monero had released a statement that they would counter any crypto miner that threatened their ASIC-resistance by changing their Proof-of-Work (PoW). the creators of Monero made a statement warning that the coin’s protocol would be changing every six months to make the cryptocurrency “less appealing to ASIC miners. As of today, they have held true to that statement. In the past 12 months Monero has conducted two forks, and Monero’s developers have announced there will be a fork at block 1788000 (March 9, 2019).
“We strongly believe that it’s beneficial to preserve our ASIC resistance. Therefore, we will perform an emergency hard fork to curb any potential threat from ASICs if needed. Furthermore, in order to maintain its goal of decentralization and to provide a deterrent for ASIC development and to protect against unknown or undetectable ASIC development, the Monero team proposes modifying the Cryptonight PoW hash every scheduled fork, twice a year.”
The fork will be with the current 0.13 code and is not expected to have many major changes. There will be and new block size algorithm and new notifications to go along with the new mining algorithm. Research from an industry analyst who goes by the name “MoneroCrusher” revealed that as it stands nearly 85% of current mining activity could be backed by nearly 5400 ASIC machines. This fork will serve Monero’s mission to block the ASIC miners allowing the CPU/GPU miners more profitability. Based on the previous forks, the hash-rate will likely drop exponentially. After the fork in April 2018, the hash-rate fell from over 1,000 megahashes to 150 megahashes in a matter of days. The fork in October did not impact the hash rate as much, but did have a substantial financial impact, dropping transaction fees approximately 97%. It is unlikely that the upcoming fork will cause as big of an impact financially, as the update is not very large, however post fork mining is likely to have a significant drop in hashrate.
Ajali, Tyali. 9 February 2019. Another Hard Fork Coming for Monero [XMR]? Analysis says ASIC Dominates Monero Hashrate. https://coingape.com/asic-dominates-monero-hashrate/
MoneroCrusher. 7 February 2019. Analysis: More than 85% of the current Monero Hashrate is ASICs and each machine is doing 128 kh/s. https://medium.com/@MoneroCrusher/analysis-more-than-85-of-the-current-monero-hashrate-is-asics-and-each-machine-is-doing-128-kh-s-f39e3dca7d78
Chong, Nick. 11 February 2019. Monero To Hard Fork Blockchain In March To Stifle XMR ASIC Miners. https://blockonomi.com/monero-hard-fork-xmr-asic-miners/
Zuckerman, Molly J. 17 March 2018. Bitmain Announces New Monero-Mining Antminer X3, Crypto’s Devs Say Will ‘Not Work’. https://cointelegraph.com/news/bitmain-announces-new-monero-mining-antminer-x3-cryptos-devs-say-will-not-work
Kurokawa, Kay. 4 June 2018. Forking for ASIC resistance: A Monero Case Study. https://medium.com/@kaykurokawa/forking-for-asic-resistance-a-monero-case-study-ecdfb6c9fba2