The hashrate of the Monero (XMR) network has recently plummeted over a hard fork that curbed the presence of Application Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC) mining on the privacy-centric cryptocurrency’s blockchain.
According to a post on Reddit, the cryptocurrency’s hashrate could’ve dropped as much as 95% after the hard fork. At press time it’s unclear how the network was truly affected, as most platform’s haven’t yet factored in the drop. Per 2miners, the drop has so far been of 83%, from 1.3 GH/s to 210 MH/s.
The hashrate dropped as Monero is following through with a “war” on ASIC miners, declared roughly a year ago. At the time, the cryptocurrency released a software update that stopped ASIC hardware from being effective on its network, leading to a similar hashrate drop.
The move initially came after cryptocurrency mining hardware giant Bitmain announced the launch of its Antminer X3, an ASIC-powered machine designed to mine XMR and other Cryptonight-based cryptos.
The crypto’s community decided to remove ASICs from its network over concerns related to potential centralization, and related to the influence large miners could have. Per the Monero team ASICs create a single point of failure. At the time, it stated:
For instance, a government could require these ASIC manufacturers to add a "kill-switch" which allows them to shut down a miner remotely or otherwise control it. This threat has the potential to destroy the whole network.
The privacy-centric popularity rose to prominence after being adopted by the now-defunct darknet marketplace AlphaBay, and at the time of the hard fork it saw some community members disagree with the move. This led to four new cryptocurrencies, with some allowing ASICs on their networks.
Monero’s recent hard fork, which saw its hashrate plummet by over 80% for a second time, doesn’t just tweak its algorithm to better resist ASIC mining machines, but also adds changes that help it mitigate potential ‘big bang’ attacks, and improves privacy.
The upgrade saw crypto mining service Coinhive shut down, as its revenue was already down because of the crypto market slump. As it was a hard fork, the hashrate may soon start recovering once miners start upgrading their software to mine on its blockchain.
Monero has in the past slashed its transaction fees through network upgrades, which helped it outperform other privacy-centric cryptocurrencies. At press time, XMR is trading at $50.2 after falling 1.6% in the last 24-hour period.