Monero’s recent hard fork, which was issued by developers for ASIC mining resistance, has resulted in a huge lowering of the global hashrate by over 70%. Sources from both Bitinfocharts and Coinwarz reveal that XMR’s hashrate dropped from 1.014GH to a mere 157MH. Most likely the reason for this is that ASIC miners have already been rampant in the Monero ecosystem for a while despite only recently being put on the market and that the new fork has forced them to cease their functions.
This situation could easily be the case, as there would likely have been some hardware developers who created homemade Monero ASICs. It is also possible that companies like Bitmain took advantage of their own Antminer X3 and put it to use long before they even announced that it would go on the market.
Is a lower hashrate positive for Monero?
The lowered hashrate has somewhat divided the Monero community. There are individuals who argue that this is a positive step forward as it reveals to the industry just how rampant ASIC mining rigs can be. The drop in the hashrate is being viewed as a marker for the developers’ success at keeping their coin as decentralized as possible by making mining pools less powerful and profitable. It also means that individual miners are no longer out-priced by large corporations and can take part while making reasonable gains in a safe setting for the coin.
With that said, there are many communities which see the lowered hashrate as something to be worried about. Such a drastic drop could be seen as a vulnerability in Monero that could lead to slower transactions. The pro-ASIC community has also been quick to call this out as a negative consequence, suggesting that Monero essentially shot itself in the foot. People who believe that ASICs are positive for cryptocurrency due to efficiency and speeds side with the opinion that Monero will soon see less adoption and that it will stagnate. This has lead to the creation of a new Monero fork by the name of Monero Classic (XMC), whose creators believe that pro-ASIC communities ‘should be heard and respected.’
It must also be considered that the lower hashrate may not all be due to ASICs no longer functioning. It is likely that some aspect of the drop comes from old mining rigs which people neglected, poorly configured pools, and miners who simply forgot to update their machines. Nevertheless, the Monero hashrate will be interesting to follow for the coming weeks. As of April 10, 2018, the rate is around 446MH.