Tick tock. Tick tock. The countdown for Monero of The protocol update is finished and the expected software updates have been implemented while block 1685555 came and went.
The bullet project update is meant to bring about a series of changes, but the excitement in the community is revolving around two key updates in particular: changes to the test of work (PoW) and Bulletproofing.
Updates of this type are not uncommon with Monero, as the project is renewed regularly to push new updates and improvements. Hardforks are preprogrammed twice in the year and, above all, do not create new coins as they are non-contentious forks supported and instigated by the main team and the community.
Quick recapitulation – What is Monero?
A fork by Bytecoin, Monero is a leading cryptocurrency with a special focus on security, privacy and decentralization. The Monero blockchain uses the Cryptonote software to implement and maintain a completely anonymous and private blockchain.
From the Monero Website:
Safety – Users must be able to trust Monero with their transactions, without the risk of errors or attacks.
private life – Monero takes privacy seriously. Monero must be able to protect users in a court and, in extreme cases, the death penalty.
Decentralization – Monero undertakes to provide the maximum amount of decentralization.
What is the Buzz All About?
Firstly, Monero's update to their consensus on the job test is a continuation of the community's opposition to ASIC extraction. A to send from February 11thth has formalized Monero's position on ASIC mining and the threat it poses for decentralization.
Monero, built as an improvement over Bitcoin, saw the involvement of Bitcoin specialized mining as one of the main threats to decentralization demands. Currently, the ASIC extraction model is considered able to erode decentralization while hashing power becomes overwhelmingly concentrated among a handful of miners.
Frontrunning the ASIC miners, however, is a game of cats and mice. The Monero community has committed itself to anti-ASIC PoW tweaks twice a year, but these code updates can still be resolved by ASIC developers. Monero also said that they are willing and ready to "quickly" [react] any potential threat from the ASICs "if necessary between the planned bifurcations.
The Monero community can do its best to keep up with the ASIC hardware developers with new software updates. However, the group recognizes that the ASIC draw could be unavoidable for the currency.
Protecting the decentralization of Monero means controlling the dialogue surrounding the integration of ASICs and carefully assessing how they can be used in a decentralized ecosystem.
"ASICs may be inevitable, but we believe that any transition to an ASIC-dominated network should be as equitable as possible in order to facilitate decentralization".
The Main Event: Bulletproofs
The most exciting development of 18 Octoberth fork is the optimization of the interval tests used in Monero's Ring Confidential Transactions (RingCT). The software update, Bulletproof, considerably reduces the size of individual transactions and therefore the transaction fees on the Monero Network.
The reduction in transaction size results from an improvement in the way in which transaction details are rendered anonymous and confirmed. The RingCTs are responsible for obscuring the details of the transaction, such as the amount of XMR sent or received. However, to anonymously confirm a value such as the amount of XMR in a transaction, Monero uses a form of Zero-Knowledge Proofs, in particular Range Proofs.
Flow tests can magnify the size of a transaction because they are full of imaginative cryptographic mathematical techniques to keep things private. Bulletproof reduces the size of a transaction by consolidating and optimizing the cryptographic data stored in each transaction. It is expected that transactions with Bulletproofs instead of Range Proof will save up to 80% of the transaction size, translating into similar reductions in transaction fees.
Monero is the first cryptocurrency of its size to implement Bulletproofs and is actively experimenting with other technologies to enable scaling without compromising security, privacy or decentralization.