On April 6, 2018, developers were successful in hard forking the anonymous coin, Monero. The main reason for doing so was to prevent Bitmain from distributing a recently announced mining rig designed specifically for mining Monero. The mining rig in question, the Antminer X3 created by Bitmain, is an ASIC (application-specific integrated circuits) mining computer meaning that it has been created to only complete one specific task. When it comes to bitcoin mining, ASICs are an industry standard because they allow for an unprecedented amount of efficiency.
The software updates that took place during the hard fork have officially made Monero ASIC resistant, meaning that these types of computers are no longer compatible with the cryptocurrency.
Why did Monero want to Avoid ASIC miners?
One of the main motivations for the Monero developers was that ASIC mining rigs could lead to partial centralization. Once a cryptocurrency becomes easy and lucrative enough to mine, miners often band together to form large-scale pools. If a mining pool was to facilitate a huge amount of transactions, they could be a strong enough voice in the industry to wield their own wishes among the developers and fans of the coin.
By making Monero ASIC resistant, the developers have prevented ASICs from ever gaining such power or influence and have further prevented Bitmain from subjecting them to this situation. Bitmain has a track record for creating ASICs that exploit the ecosystem of certain cryptocurrencies— one of their previous victims was Sia.
In the community, the recent hard fork has been viewed favorably. A visit to Reddit’s r/Monero reveals a plethora of different posts either celebrating the developer’s decisions or berating Bitmain for creating the Antminer X3 in the first place.
Monero’s anti-ASIC stance is just part of a growing trend of cryptocurrencies distancing themselves from Bitmain and other high-powered mining organizations. There is currently a suggestion that Ethereum may attempt a hard fork to become ASIC resistant too, which could lead to many other coins following suit.
Kai is a cryptocurrency copywriter and professional trader. He can often be found investigating various cryptocurrencies, whitepapers, and blockchain technologies. Kai has been a professional writer for 5+ years, and has invested in 50+ different coins and tokens. He also currently studies Law and Philosophy at university.