The Monero developers have upped the ante in the fight against ASICs, updating their software with a new proof of work algorithm.
Less than two weeks after Bitmain announced the Antminer X3—meant for mining Monero using the CryptoNight hashing algorithm—the cryptocurrency’s network gets a software update meant to prevent this very thing from being effective.
In the war between personal computing gear and ASICs, Monero clearly took the side of the “little guys” who mine the cryptocurrency using their systems with a software update that it uploaded on Saturday.
“This major release is due to the April 6th network update, which in turn increases the minimum ring signature size, sorts inputs so as not to leak wallet choice by inference, and slightly changes the proof-of-work algorithm to prevent DoS attacks by ASICs,” the update description from the developers reads.
Riccardo Spagni, one of the developers, already warned people about the fact that Antminer X3 will not work with Monero on Twitter the day that Bitmain announced its release.
In the same thread, he explained to users that the proof of work (PoW) algorithm changes every six months, making it nearly impossible for ASICs to permanently mine Monero.
Although ASICs could technically just update their firmware every time an algorithm change comes along, this would mean removing any hardware-level specialization in the chip and making it ultimately just as inefficient as an x86 processor or GPU.
Monero’s fight against ASICs isn’t necessarily about protecting small miners, despite the fact that it also does this.
Recently, the team said that the need to remove these behemoths from the equation comes from the idea that centralizing the network would make it more vulnerable to government interference.
As an example, they laid out a scenario in which the government would require manufacturers to include kill switches in their units so that authorities could shut down massive parts of the network by sending a signal to miners.
In the end, the Bitcoin network has become much more centralized since its inception because of the introduction of ASICs, and Monero’s developers do not want that kind of future for the cryptocurrency.
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