Monero, the popular privacy coin launched in 2014, has seen its transaction fees decimated after implementing a long-awaited scaling feature into their blockchain. A hard fork, titled ‘Monero 0.13.0 Beryllium Bullet’, occurred 18th October and implemented a new form of cryptography, dubbed ‘bulletproofs’, that restructured how its transactions are verified.
Data from BitInfoCharts shows a sharp decline in average transfer fees from 55¢ on October 17th to just 2¢ two days later, a staggering 96% reduction. The upgrade also drastically reduced the transaction size from 18.5kb to just 3kb. The successful fork and resultant reductions in fees and block size were welcomed by the community, while Monero project head Riccardo Spagni tweeted that “Monero is now unfairly cheap” after the fork.
Monero Shafts ASIC Miners
Scaling Monero wasn’t the only aim of the upgrade. A long running battle between the Monero team and ASIC mining equipment manufacturer Bitmain has led to a game of cat-and-mouse, with Monero developers frequently tweaking the code in order to prevent ASICs from being able to mine the cryptocurrency. Mining cryptocurrencies with industrial miners like ASICs offers a huge advantage over GPU miners. This is due to their vastly superior computational power, therefore it can lead to issues of mining centralization, something Monero heads are keen to avoid.
Bitmain launched the Monero-targeted Antminer X3 ASIC miner in May, but not before an emergency software upgrade by Monero rendered it useless as it went on sale. Spagni said of the ASIC saga, “I will do everything in my power to help the community prevent the proliferation of centralization-inducing ASICs on the Monero network.”
Keeping up With the Joneses (and the Zcashes, and the Dashes…)
Given the age of the Monero project, and the plethora of fast, cheap privacy coins on the market, it is important for Monero to keep pace if it was to stay relevant. While it also must adhere to its policy of decentralized mining. The implementation of bulletproofs and the resultant scaling this can offer the project seems to have gone a long way towards achieving these goals, rewarding the faith of its huge following.