Monero's Hashrate Plummets Over 80% After Hard Fork Curbs ASIC Mining

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.

Monero's hashrate dropped signifiicantlySource: 2miners.com

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.

Steemit Moves to Limit Justin Sun’s Influence after Its Acquisition

Justin Sun, the founder of TRON, has announced he was going to acquire Steemit earlier this month, and shortly after those currently running the Steem blockchain executed a soft fork to limit his voting influence.

In a blog post describing the move, Steem’s witnesses [similar to bitcoin miners or EOS block producers] detailed that while it’s exciting to see a well-resourced entity get involved with Steemit, the witnesses are now moving to ensure the security of the Steem blockchain. The blog post reads:

To this end, we have updated to a temporary protective protocol to maintain the status quo currently established in regards to Steemit Inc's stake and its intended usage.

Steem is a delegated proof-of-stake (DPoS) blockchain, similar to EOS, in which a small number of entities – the witnesses – work to protect the blockchain and represent the community. The soft fork was deemed necessary because Steemit owns a large amount of STEEM tokens that could be used to take over the blockchain.

Given Justin Sun’s move to acquire Steemit, it’s believed he now owns those tokens and could use them to move Steemit in a specific direction. The soft fork blocks STEEM held by specific accounts from voting on who governs the network and from participating in ways that could see it seize control.

While the tokens have always been there, when co-founder Ned Scott ran the platform the community was comfortable with his approach to governance. Justin Sun has responded to the soft fork with an open letter to the Steemit community, in which he explains some of his potential plans for the Steemit platform itself.

The post reads:

We have so much to work to do to make Steemit.com the power that it really can be. And there are many ways we can get it there, from bridging TRX, TRC10’s and TRC20’s into Communities to marketing and growing Steemit.com. From invitations and referrals to simpler and instant signups.

Sun added his plans would also include listing STEEM on other major cryptocurrency exchanges and attracting large influencers to the platform, which is a mix of Reddit and Medium. He added he is organizing a summit called STEEMit 2.0 Town Hall, where he’s inviting the top 50 witnesses to participate.

It’s worth noting the Steem blockchain has several decentralized applications built on top of it, with Steemit being the most influential one.

Featured image by Ludovic Charlet on Unsplash.