November 20 witnessed the release of a new miner allows you to mine both aeon and monero (XMR), two altcoins based on the Cryptonote protocol. The XMR-Stak 2.0.0 update makes it easier for users to become accustomed to the two privacy-focused altcoins and ‘kill two birds with one stone.’
The combined AEON-XMR miner is the fruit of fireice_uk and psychocrypt’s labor. Previously, only monero was supported but now allows the user to mine both AEON and Monero with just one compilation. As an open-source miner, all features can be adopted by the community, with the source code available to view here.
fireice_uk and psychocrypt have also put out a proposal to make mining more accessible for newcomers, by building a GUI (Graphical User Interface) for the XMR-Stak 2.0.0 miner. At present, Minergate is the only GUI mining software supporting monero, and given the criticisms leveled against the pool, the Monero contributors want to open up another avenue for user-friendly mining. By cutting out and competing with Minergate, users will have more choice and can earn more for their hashing power, advancing in another front of decentralization. The proposal asks for 75 XMR from the community with development anticipated to be complete by April 2018.
A new pool implementation is also being spearheaded by a team of developers including fireice_uk, to lower the barriers to entry into Monero mining. By encouraging participation in securing the network, bringing more miners on board makes the blockchain system more robust, decentralized and resilient against attack. The pool implementation project also aims for a deadline of April 2018. Explaining the rationale behind the proposal, Madamelic said:
“Why new miners? Miners are generally better than holders since miners are making a continual contribution to the coin and community by providing hash power rather than making a transaction once.”
Monero mining has attracted a lot of attention recently, with many websites using browser-based software to extract CPU power from their visitors to earn the cryptocurrency. The Pirate Bay was caught mining monero using their visitor’s CPU power in September. Also, the UFC was later suspected of using Coinhive’s Java miner. Others have taken a more honest, upfront approach, mining monero in a transparent way to benefit social causes, with Bail Bloc using the earned XMR to bail low-income people out of jail in New York.
Mining software such as the XMR-Stak, which allows people to secure the blockchain network, has contributed to an increase in the hashrate of Monero, as well as the rising price and increased exposure of the altcoin. XMR-Stak also takes a small (opt-out) fee to fund further development.
Once you open XMR-Stak, it will ask whether you want to mine monero or aeon. After entering some simple commands, such as your wallet address and pool name, the miner is up and running. After four to six hours, you should receive your first payout.
As the hashrate rises, it becomes more difficult for an attacker to submit fake transactions through malicious nodes. The chart below shows the massive increase in the hashrate of Monero, meaning that all miners in the network are submitted more and more proof of work calculations. At the start of 2017, the hashrate was 50 million hashes per second, whereas, at present, it has increased to more than 250 million per second.
The synergy between AEON and Monero doesn’t end at mining though. In May 2017, JollyMort updated moneromoo’s offline wallet generator, extending it to include AEON; users can safely generate addresses offline to store the two privacy-focused cryptocurrencies in cold storage. The offline wallet generator, along with the XMR-Stak 2.0.0 release, provides an easier entry into the ecosystem for those who do not know how to compile software themselves.