Reports are surfacing today in light of the recent decision to hard fork by Monero, in order to remove the networks compatibility with ASIC-X3 mining hardware.
Whilst this decision did not see any shocking movements in terms of the currencies value, it was followed by a huge reduction in reported mining activity, with some sources stating that monero mining activity reduced by as much as 20%.
According to Bitinfocharts, the hash rate of Monero stood at 270M on the 8th of April, down from 1G just three days earlier at the time of the hard fork.
This has nurtured some reports that, prior to the hard fork, Monero had allowed the majority of it’s mining to be carried out by Bitmain. This in essence, relates to the network suffering from a 51% attack. If, the majority of the networks power was acquired by Bitmain then by definition, this could be considered as a malicious action.
But, in the case of Monero and Bitmain, if these allegations are true, and indeed Monero has allowed this to happen, is this an attack or a malicious action? Granted, using up the majority of the network to mine coins (and illicit other malicious actions) would be an attack, but in this case, many of the reports believe that Bitmain and Monero had no malicious intentions at heart and that this was entirely to provide an efficient format for the mining of Monero.
There is however a problem with trust here. If this was indeed the case, Bitmain could have carried out all sorts of fraudulent activities, double transactions etc and really tainted the integrity of Monero. Moreover, by allowing one entity to manage mining over the majority of the network, the currency is no longer decentralised.
What’s even more intriguing here is the notion that there will still be many users that need to update to pull through the changes made by the hard fork, meaning that the full scale of ASIC-X3 mining can not be analysed until these updates have rolled out in their entirety. This means that experts expect that 20% estimate to grow significantly.
If this is the case, then the allegations against Bitmain may start to ring true.
I must reiterate that even if Bitmain have carried out a large bulk of activity within the Monero network, their intentions are unlikely to be malicious and that really the only integrity that needs to come into question, is the question of ‘is it fair to decentralise a cryptocurrency network, in secret’, because that is potentially what Monero and Bitmain have done here.
I don’t believe it is fair on the users and traders of Monero and those who have made a conscious decision to stand by and trade it. Again, even if no direct malicious activity was carried out, it breaches a perceived trust that cryptocurrencies and the blockchain rely on.
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