SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – Bitmain, a mining hardware manufacturer, is sweeping the nation with its recent announcement concerning a new high-speed hardware they are developing. This new model is being called the AntMiner X3, and it’s already causing some major concerns for Monero.
While the AntMiner X3 was designed specifically for efficiently mining Monero, fears that the lower-end consumer would get left behind are being raised. This high-speed hardware, with its incredible efficiency, could run laptop mining, which is the affordable choice, to the ground which could centralize Monero mining to big miners.
Monero responded to Bitmain’s announcement with an emergency critical software update to be held in April. This upgrade will look to shut down Bitmain’s AntMiner X3 and will be seen as Monero’s declaration of war against ASIC. This upgrade will not be a one-off event as Monero has announced that they will continue with upgrades twice a month to prevent the hardware developers from catching up.
This move goes to show that Monero will want their system to be as accessible as possible. While it is known that ASICs are good for security, the Monero community stands against it. This includes the core developer of Monero, Riccardo Spagni. Spagni has gone on record saying that he’ll do everything he can to prevent the ASICs from taking over.
Major concerns that were raised concerning the AntMiner X3 came from the fear of the cryptocurrency’s hash rate being taken over, payment censorship, and the creation of false transaction histories.
To add to those factors, Bitmain and the developers over at Monero don’t exactly have the greatest of relationships with Bitmain’s sketchy reputation in the Bitcoin community. Monero’s distrust could be traced from Bitmain’s takeover of Siacoin just last year and the controversies regarding Bitmain’s Antbleed.
These are just some of the reasons Monero would choose to shut down AntMiner X3. Even without Bitmain’s dark reputation, however, allowing the high-speed hardware to mine Monero is very risky.
The Monero team highlighted their concern, stating that until ASIC becomes more universal, the security risks would be too great to let it run free. Specifically, the risks include the possibility of government bribery or the development of a “kill switch” to be used to take miners offline at will.