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Monero vs ASICs: It’s War

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Monero has declared war on ASIC hardware, in a move to keep big mining businesses away from its currency. With Bitmain’s recent mining hardware release, the Antminer X3, has come Monero’s readction: an emergency software update that will effectively neutralize the effect of Antminer X3.

Emergency software 

Instead of embracing this hardware as an important resource Monero are launching an emergency software upgrade next month. This is expected to specifically change the system’s rules of operation, and render all major mining operations obsolete.

Knives Out

This development would appear to be Monero’s first move in its war against ASICs. Additionally, more is expected to happen, including ensuring that hardware manufacturers do not catch up with the updates, by implementing a system of continuous algorithm edits in the place of bi-annual edits.

Considering that the Antminer X3 is currently being issued by Bitmain as the sole supplier, there are concerns that this could lead to some form of attack. These could include cases whereby a mining pool controls the majority hashrate of a cryptocurrency, censoring payments, double spending coins and the creation of fake transaction histories.

As much as there has been a heated debate on the effectiveness of ASICs when it comes to security, many in the Monero community do not seem to support the idea of ASICs. Moneromoo told Coindesk:

If you’re worried about an attack from, say, someone using lots of Amazon servers to 51 percent the coin, then forking away from ASICs is a bad move, core developer. 

The Doubting Bitmain

The long standing distrust and suspicion between Bitmain and developers seem to have influenced this decision. In fact, there were concerns raised last year, accusing Bitmain of taking advantage of a flaw in Bitcoin’s proof-of-work algorithm, courtesy of the ASIC Boost process.

The process is thought to have made it possible for its three mining pools to mine about 20% more quickly, compared with other competitors. Shortly after this heated debate, there was the damning discovery of  Antbleed, a mining chip vulnerability that was widely believed had been purposefully implanted by Bitmain to enable it to shut down any of the miners at their convenience.

What do you think about Monero’s supposed war with miners? How healthy or detrimental is this to the industry?  Let us know your views on the comments section below.

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