Monero announced to miners and users alike the scheduled hard fork for October 18, 2018, in a blog post made October 11, 2018, listing the details of the “Beryllium Bullet” release.
A whole slew of updates is announced with some of the major ones being Bulletproofs enabled for reduced transaction size and an updated PoW algorithm to be less ASIC friendly.
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 10 percent of miners are from FGPA’s and prototypes ASICS, they contribute 25 percent of the total network hash rate which presents an alarming amount of centralization.
Some users have even turned off their hardware entirely merely because of increased difficulty from those with ASICs has made mining too unprofitable:
“I have much hardware powered off right now because the current Monero hashrate/difficulty is too way 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.”
Bulletproof Reduces Confidential Transaction Size
While Monero has quickly become a favorite in the clear 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. The cost of operating a full node has increased as well, with every additional confidential transaction conducted
Bulletproof 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 enormous 13.2 KB per transaction on average. To put that in perspective, the average bitcoin transaction size is 250 bytes, according to Gavin Andresen.
If Monero’s implementation here proves to be successful, it would set a precedent for many other privacy-focused cryptocurrencies. Bulletproof has been mostly theoretical up until this point, so seeing it in action will be a big step for the Monero team in particular and the cryptocurrency ecosystem in general.