Monero’s RandomX algorithm fork and its aftermath

This article aims to outline the situation of the Monero “RandomX” position while giving a perspective from our mining operation, how this affects us (including you) as miners, plus a plan of action that will follow. On November 30th 2019, the Monero Blockchain will fork again, and effectively switch the network’s underlying mining algorithm from Cryptonight-R to RandomX. The main goal of their update is, among other changes, to decimate all ASIC mining activity on the network in the name of decentralization. Mining will then only be possible via CPUs and certain GPUs.

 


You can read about the theory and practice of ASIC-resistance in the second half of the article. First however, we want to give our customers an overview.


 

The bad news:

 

  1. With this change, our deployed GPU infrastructure for Monero mining is running at a substantial disadvantage when running RandomX since the algorithm was designed to be most efficient on CPUs. Thus, it will decrease the mining performance considerably. As with any fork, the actual consequences on network hashrate and mining rewards remain to be seen, as no one can predict how the global network hashrate will behave (ASICs and GPUs dropping out while CPUs potentially joining the network).
  2. In the last fork (In May 2018) we offered our users a complete hashpower transfer to GPU mining hardware and bore all extra costs. However, as the “RandomX” fork is also weakening general GPU mining capabilities considerably, there is no business-centric argument at this point, that can convince large-scale mining operations to try and adapt to these changing protocol rules without the need of large additional investments into any mining infrastructure for this cryptocurrency. 

 

The good news:

 

  1. You will continue to receive mining outputs for your hashrate (although most likely decreased) until the natural end of your mining plan (as stated in the contract terms). Almost all of our user contracts are approaching the end of the natural contract lifecycle of two years, with only a few months left to mine. We want to emphasize, that due to the fluctuation in hashrate in the network after the fork, all mining outputs will be varying until network hashrate stabilizes.
  2. Users that already opted-in to an algorithm change (in May 2018) for Monero Classic are not impacted by this situation and their contracts will come to a natural end as described in the terms.
  3. Auto-swapping mining outputs to Monero from a different mining algorithm will still be possible.

 


 

The aftermath:

 

We are forced to delist Monero mining products from our mining portfolio for the foreseeable future. Investing into Monero mining hardware, maintaining it and offering it to the market at this point is highly risky and depending on the success of the freshly employed ASIC-resistance algorithm there might be additional algorithm forks in the future.

We always were Monero fans, especially for its privacy-centric endeavors. Our conclusion however is, that as a big participant of the mining ecosystem, and especially as a business that has to run the operation and turn a profit while ensuring customer success, we cannot continue to offer Monero mining as a product any longer.

Additionally, as a global mining team that has been in the industry, from pretty much the beginning, we think it is important to give a perspective on ASIC resistance. 

If you want to learn more about the ASIC-resistance controversy, read our extended article.

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