Riccardo Spagni, Monero’s long-serving lead maintainer, has announced that he will step down from his role with immediate effect. Spagni, also known by his Twitter handle Fluffypony, will continue as backup maintainer but will hand over the reins to longtime contributor, Snipa.
Spagni is one of the most respected individuals in the crypto space, having been with the project for over five years, and led Monero through several critical developments, including the move from Ring Confidential Transactions (RingCT) to Bulletproofs in October 2018, a move that saw transaction fees plummet by 96%. Spagni, who is also known for wading into arguments with the crypto community with his quick with and biting remarks, did not give the reasons for stepping back, but after five years working on one project it is probable that he wants to try his hand at something different.
Snipa Sets His Sights on 2020
Spagni’s successor is also a popular member of the Monero community, and the other project leaders clearly have great faith in him:
Snipa is a longtime contributor to Monero. He is best known for developing a popular piece of Monero pool software and supporting the network with well-connected nodes. He has substantial coding and auditing experience, and a desire to better Monero’s processes.
The news comes at what could prove to be a critical time for privacy coins like Monero. As the hammer of regulations starts to come down on crypto projects, in particular the AMLD5 European Union and Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering (FATF) regulations, projects aimed at preserving anonymity could see their acceptance at leading exchanges limited.
Upbit and OkEx announced that they would stop accepting Monero in September this year, while First National Risk Analysis for 2018/19 in November found that Monero is still incredibly popular among those wishing to engage in illicit activities, and as such will likely receive further scrutiny as regulators tighten their grip on cryptocurrencies in 2020 and beyond.