Everything You Need to Know About Monero’s Upcoming “Beryllium Bullet” Hard Fork
Monero announced to miners and users alike the scheduled hard fork for October 18th, in a blog post listing the details of the “Beryllium Bullet” release.
As with any hard fork, its advised everyone update as soon as possible. Transactions can get rejected, stuck in limbo, or otherwise inaccessible because of conflicting chains. Miners will have to update their software as well to continue participating due to the new algorithm.
Cryptonight Variant 2 Levels Mining Playing Field
ASIC resistance will be a continuous battle for any cryptocurrency. Any algorithm, given enough time, can be optimized for an ASIC to mine it effectively. Because of this, the only viable solution is for cryptocurrencies to continually tweak the algorithm, to make the development of ASICS economically disadvantageous.
While only ten percent of miners are from FGPA’s and prototype ASICS, they contribute to 25 percent of the total network hash rate which presents an alarming amount of centralization. Some users have even turned off their hardware entirely simply because of increased difficulty from those with ASICs has made mining too unprofitable. On Reddit user speculated the following:
“I have [alot of] hardware powered off right now because the current Monero hashrate/difficulty is [way too] high making said hardware unprofitable. The above changes will make/throttle/kill ASIC/FPGA mining on the new Cryptonight variant two thus bringing back control to CPU/GPU miners. I look forward to bringing back online my hardware this October to again mine Monero Cryptonight variant 2.”
Bulletproofs Reduces Confidential Transaction Size
While Monero has quickly become a favorite in both the light and dark web due to its anonymizing features, the network has suffered due to the amount of bloat and transaction fees associated with Confidential Transactions (CT). The cost of operating a full node has increased as well with every additional confidential transaction conducted.
Bulletproofs will replace range proofs, which is used in a CT to ensure the amount of money in transactions are balanced; this prevents money from being printed.
The problem with range proofs is that the transactions are huge: 13.2 KB per transaction on average. To put that in perspective, the average bitcoin transaction size is 250 bytes, according to Gavin Andresen.
Bulletproofs could reduce this size to 2.5kb, an 80 percent reduction in size. Still several times bigger, but a massive space savings measure.
“The Monero hashrate appears to be slightly lower. We will need to wait a few days to see how the difficulty adjusts, since it is a lagging indicator. Luckily, we still see blocks confirmed every few minutes, and the memory pool of unconfirmed transactions hasn’t backed up yet. These suggest the hashrate dropped significantly less than in April. Bulletproofs have reduced transaction sizes by nearly 90 percent, substantially reducing the burden of storing future transactions on nodes.”
If Moneros implementation here proves to be successful, it would set a precedent for many other privacy-focused cryptocurrencies. Bulletproofs has been mostly theoretical up until this point, so seeing it in action will be a big step for the Monero team and cryptocurrency technology in general.