Monero lost more than 50% of its network hash rate

This is old news to many but I’ve been watching it, the hash rate on Monero was just over 1000 MH/s prior to the algorithm update as a way to combat ASIC mining by companies like Bitmain.  It plunged to as a little as 157MH/s initially but as of now (2018-08-08) 461 MH/s.

Monero-Hash-Rate-460Mhs-2018-08-09

This is significant and the move wasn’t without controversy but I think it was the right way to go.  Monero wanted to stop giant mining farms like you see for Bitcoin and Litecoin.

I think it worked, initially and clearly a lot of mining was disrupted because all the mining software had to be updated such as xmr-stak or xmrig etc.. Today if you use a pre April 2018 miner you will get “invalid results” or “share not accepted” from the pool because the algorithm has changed.  This effectively bricked Bitmain’s Monero miners but all was not lost for them as it is believed they were probably mining with them for several months if not more before releasing them publicly.  For any critics at least Monero clearly communicated almost immediately after Bitmain’s announcement that they would update the algorithm and would be sure to brick them.  And in all fairness at least Bitmain warned of this on their own sales page so it is nice to see an issue like this handled well by the main parties involved (of course those who still bought a Monero miner are out of their money).

Considering that months later the old hash rate of 1+ GH/s is now only about 460MH/s I think it is fair to say there were ASIC mining farms controlling over half of Monero!  This very well could have been Bitmain and other manufacturers themselves.  But going back to the whole mining thing, most know I am against it.  One inherent vulnerability of any mineable coin is that whoever has the most hashing power wins or controls the network allowing them to steal from others essentially.  As illustrated in my picture earlier one pool supportxmr.com has 80 MH/s, Nanopool 95MH/s, minexmr 94 MH/s so essentially 3 pools control about 60% of the hashing rate or about 20% each on average.  If you check out the list of Monero pools essentially the hash rate is concentrated among numerous pools which puts it in a similar situation as Bitcoin in a sense.

The current situation is better but nothing stops people from spending millions on GPUs and CPUs in order to dominate the network. With Monero only worth around $100 USD at the moment there is little incentive to do so unless an organization simply wanted to kill Monero.  I would imagine criminal organizations like the ones who targeted Bitcoin Gold and other coins will be ready and waiting to do the same though.

What do you think?

Cheers,
A. Yasir

Bitcoin Fails To Defend 10K Mark

Let’s let the chart do the talking for the past 3 months where it currently sits at $9327.65

Bitcoin-2018-02-05-PriceChart

Back in February BTC posted the maximum high for the past 3 months of just over 11K.  As you can see from March to April the lowest moves of the recent past were posted around the 7K mark.  To me this looks like a classic sideways trading that eventually breaks out.  You can see since April there has been a steady upward trend.

BTC hasn’t been able to defend the 10K mark but I do believe we have stability around the 9K mark.  Some indicators claim BTC is currently neither overbought or oversold.  But common sense has to tell you that if the price is going down it appears we have more sellers than buyers at the $10K mark.  It could be people cashing out for fear of wondering when does BTC return back to the 20K mark?

Many people have said this  spells disaster but I really do think we are just getting started with the BTC rally and I think much higher prices are around the corner in the near future.  There has been a lot of positive news from around the world that seems to be increasingly towards accepting that BTC is here to stay.

Perhaps some regulators thought twice and realized that “like it or not BTC is too big and risky to ban”.  Because people can move BTC at will and it cannot be frozen or truly banned.  I think regulators are finding just as the case is with exchanges, if you put undue pressure on owners of cryptocurrency they will simply just move away to a friendlier jurisdiction.  I would imagine they should favor BTC as it is not anonymous and is easily and fully trackable.  If people switched to more private based coins they’ll have little chance at regulation such as with Monero.

Wikileaks Shutdown by Coinbase

Apparently Julian Assange’s Wikileaks merchant account on Coinbase was shutdown.  This is not at all surprising since PayPal, VISA, Mastercard and the banks did the same thing to him/them in the past.  In all fairness I don’t think Coinbase is to blame, aside from the fact they are a US based company and under the jurisdiction of the US of course.

PayPal came out and admitted they were forced to close down Wikileaks account, and I am certain the same thing has happened with Coinbase.

They have no say in the matter when the US government comes knocking.  Coinbase even recently had to give out information to the US tax department (IRS).

Of course users can still directly pay and donate to any wallets that Wikileaks controls.  As of now he lists addresses for Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum, ZCash and Monero.  This is where things will heat up if he were to have a centralized currency like Ripple or Stellar Lumens.  The US government could possibly have those accounts in XRP/XLM frozen since they are a US based company.

This comes down to the wider issue of privacy, rights and freedom online and how cryptocurrency can prevent persecution for political reasons.  It also stands to reason that entities based in the US have very little say when the government comes knocking.  Coinbase and PayPal couldn’t have said no to the US government or by doing so they would be in seriously hot water.

I always advocate having some IT resources out of the reach of PRISM countries for reasons of privacy and freedom.  One of my current favorites are Singapore and Hong Kong in Asia.  Hong Kong I place particularly high value on because it has the British based system, yet it is under the protection of China.  Hong Kong is less likely to be influenced by a foreign entity than a smaller country like Singapore.  A good example of this is how Edward Snowden miraculously made it out of Hong Kong as a wanted fugitive.  Surely, Hong Kong was pressured and asked to hand him over, but somehow it never happened.

There are positives here, it looks like some brave entities in Europe have stood up for Wikileaks and at least for now, in France, Germany and Iceland there are some banks, foundations and even a University who are providing him access to the fiat system.

The NSA is spying on cryptocurrency including Bitcoin – Edward Snowden

Unsurprisingly Edward Snowden recently revealed to the world that the NSA is tracking cryptocurrency users including Bitcoin.  What makes it worse, but also not surprising is that they tricked users to install security software they wrote that actually feeds all of their private data, cryptokeys, back to the NSA directly.  It is soon going to be an absolutely necessity to increase your own security and to start using better, more secure coins that cannot be so easily tracked.  This is the equivalent of the government following you around and poking around your wallet and watching each transaction you do even with cash.  There’s no privacy anymore and ironically cryptocurrency is part of this reason, or shall we say at least, the majority of insecure, public, permissionless blockchain based currencies.    This could send the value of currencies like XMR/Monero skyrocketing as a Bitcoin alternative.  While Monero is in my opinion better in almost everyway to Bitcoin, it is still not the perfect coin as it does have some issues including the use of PoW and of course the whole public, permissionless issue, speed issues etc..