Bitcoin, Litecoin, Dash, Decred and Sia — one after another cryptocurrency victims of ASIC miners. At least among miners it is considered that the cryptocurrency is becoming more centralized after the appearance of specialized devices, although this practice has not proved.
Monero first major cryptocurrency decided on the most radical means of struggle against ASIC miners. The development team is making adjustments to its algorithm Cryptonight mining, and will change it every six months during routine hardforce to prevent mining XMR on ASIC. According to the developers, any transition to a network with a predominance of ASIC should be as egalitarian to support decentralization.
«We believe that any new Cryptonight ASIC will not egalitarian and will contribute to the decentralization of the network,» they stress.
The disadvantage used by the cryptographic network Bitcoin SHA256 algorithm is the ease of fabrication of a specialized chip that performs an operation of iterating through the hash of the block header to thousands of times faster than generic processors or graphics cards. This has resulted in ASIC becoming the only viable method of production. In fact, it causes centralization, because only those who have access to specialized hardware (ASIC) can mine on an industrial scale. Typically, delivery of such equipment by one or more manufacturers.
Cryptonight (system proof-of-work in mining Monero) is designed to reduce the gap in performance between CPU and GPU, FPGA and ASIC. This model will encourage egalitarian mining cryptocurrency, which gives the following advantages: first, it will be very difficult to exert pressure on miners to confirm transactions, or otherwise act as a censor of the Monero blockchain. Secondly, it will reduce the possibility of the centralization of mining in large data centers. Thirdly, governments is quite difficult to regulate companies that sell General purpose equipment (in contrast to companies selling specialized equipment).
The only significant threat to the centralization of hashing on a large number of conventional processors and graphics cards — is the formation of massive botnets that make mine on one wallet thousands (or even tens of thousands) of computers. That is why Monero has become popular among malicious hacker for covert mining. However, the «botnet» can create quite a large organization using computers of their employees.
«We firmly believe in the benefits of prevention of mining XMR on ASIC, so we will adjust the hashing algorithm to limit any potential threat from ASIC, if necessary. In addition, to keep the blockchain decentralized and to provide a deterrent for the development of ASIC, the Monero team proposes to modify the algorithm during a routine hardforce twice a year. The changes will be slight and should not significantly change the performance profiles. The first change is now checked and will happen in the upcoming hard forks», – said in a company blog.
Date of the first hard forks with modification of the algorithm of mining is not currently defined.