Monero, a leading privacy coin and top twenty cryptocurrency by market cap, is due to have one of its two scheduled upgrades this month. Monero 0.15 will bring it with it some new security and privacy features, a new proof-of-work algorithm called RandomX, and other changes.
I spoke to Justin Ehrenhofer, the Monero Community Workgroup organizer, to shed light on the new update, RandomX, and other developments occurring at Monero.
The interview went as follows:
The Monero 0.15 software update is coming this month, could you tell us about that?
Monero 0.15 is one of Monero’s scheduled upgrades that happen twice annually. It contains new privacy and security features, more refined code, and a better GUI user experience. New users will now connect to the network in a more decentralized manner, and they will have the option of connecting with an effective anonymizing network (i2p). Users can now easily connect to Monero nodes that are run behind firewalls, such as school or apartment connections. These changes substantially will improve the robustness of the Monero network. The largest change is RandomX, a new take on ASIC-resistance. While the long-term effectiveness of RandomX is yet to be seen, a tremendous amount of effort has gone into designing, developing, testing, and auditing the new mining algorithm. This algorithm is the strongest effort to-date to prevent ASICs from dominating the Monero network.
What is RandomX, and why is it being implemented?
RandomX is a new Proof of Work (PoW) algorithm that is optimized for general-purpose CPUs. The idea is over a year in the making and relies on random code execution that is difficult for specialized hardware to manipulate. RandomX isn’t meant to be “ASIC-proof,” but it hopes to close the efficiency gap so significantly that other financial factors discourage significant network control. ASIC manufacturers’ small efficiency gains must be compared to the lost financial option to sell used generic hardware, for instance. In a volatile market, the flexibility of CPUs in particular shine.
The Monero community rigorously discussed the best paths forward for this update. For two of the last three updates, Monero’s proof of work tweaks were easily incorporated by ASIC manufacturers, who dominated the network in just a few months. RandomX is a significantly more aggressive change than a tweak to CryptoNight, Monero’s current base algorithm. Presented with RandomX and ASIC-friendly algorithms as options to adopt for this update, the community decided that RandomX better retained Monero’s long-standing principles. Hopefully this remains the situation for a long time.
Can you tell us about the coming Tor and i2p improvements?
Tor and i2p allow users to better conceal their network metadata, such as their IP address, from other Monero users. The Monero CLI supports Tor and i2p. The GUI supports i2p. The GUI now works well with Tails, a privacy-focused operating system. While network metadata isn’t the only piece of information to worry about protecting, users can now easily defend against network surveillance and adversaries that attempt to correlate user IP addresses with transactions.
What are the regulatory challenges Monero faces? How will these be dealt with?
Monero is a decentralized project in an ever-changing regulatory landscape. It is supported on many US-regulated exchanges and other cryptocurrency exchanges abroad. I believe that Monero faces more of a perception problem than anything else. Conservative exchanges and services may avoid Monero if they lack the resources to justify their compliance decisions. Nevertheless, I’m optimistic that the importance of privacy is better understood now by the public than it was when Monero launched in 2014. Monero is also a much healthier project with hundreds of contributors who want to do good.
How can people stay up-to-date on the latest developments in the Monero ecosystem?
Users should subscribe to the [Monero-announce mailing list](https://lists.getmonero.org/postorius/lists/monero-announce.lists.getmonero.org/) at the bare minimum to learn about network updates. Beyond that, they can watch the monthly [Coffee Chats](https://youtube.com/c/monerocommunityworkgroup) or join the biweekly [community workgroup meetings](https://reddit.com/r/MoneroCommunity). Developers can follow projects on GitHub and join the biweekly developer meetings in #monero-dev.
The second edition of Mastering Monero is coming soon, can you tell us about the book?
Mastering Monero is a free, community-contributed resource that introduces readers to many of the idealistic and technical concepts of Monero. You can get print and digital copies from https://masteringmonero.com. The second edition is still in the early stages.
What might we see happen in the Monero ecosystem over the next 12 months?
As far as major protocol changes are concerned, keep an eye on ring signature upgrades. Omniring, Lelantus, and RingCT 3.0 offer alternative ways to improve Monero’s privacy and efficiency, though these still need further evaluation before being used in production. On the community side, I hope that the decision-making process is more formalized and accessible to newcomers. There are talks of the next Monero Konferenco in Europe, and Monero will hopefully have its own village at Defcon again next August.
For information on how Monero works and how to use it, you can also check out our Beginner’s Guide to Monero.
Bitcoin to Surpass $20,000 ATH By Early 2021 According to Raul Pal
Former hedge fund manager and CEO of Real Vision, Raoul Pal, believes that the real impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is about to reach the financial markets. By outlining several upcoming cornerstones among traditional financial assets, he highlighted Bitcoin as the “life raft” in this situation.
Raoul Pal: Everything Has Changed
In a recent Twitter thread, the Wall Street veteran outlined the rapidly growing COVID-19 cases worldwide. The total number of infected has neared 45 million, while the death toll is almost 1,2 million.
Pal predicted that these rising numbers in Europe, the US, and Canada are about to “exert economic pressures and extinguish the Hope phase of reflation dreams.” He believes that the upcoming consequences will harm the economy even more than the early 2020 developments. A real economic recovery “will take more than a post-election stimulus in January.”
He continued by looking at several markets that have started to feel the adverse consequences and have fallen to long-term support levels. Those included the oil price, Spain’s benchmark stock market index – the IBEX 35, the EU Banks Index, the euro, the British pound, the US dollar, and more.
As such, he broached a few possible solutions – “you can buy bonds and dollars, or you can take the life raft – Bitcoin.”
“Or, to dampen the volatility of a risk-off event (we can and will see sharp BTC corrections), you can have all three for a near-perfect portfolio for this phase.” – Pal concluded.
Bitcoin Will Eat The World And Price Predictions From Pal
Pal further highlighted his positive views on Bitcoin by saying the cryptocurrency “will eat the world.” He attributed it to its performance, which is so dominant and so “all-encompassing” that it will “suck in every single asset narrative dry and spit it out.”
“Never before in my career have I seen a trade so dominant that holding any other assets makes almost no sense.”
As far as price predictions go, Pal said that $14,000 is the only resistance left in Bitcoin’s way to the all-time high at $20,000. He expects that BTC should overcome the December 2017 high by “early next year at the latest.”
Additionally, CryptoPotato recently reported an even more optimistic and long-term forecast. By using a regression on the logarithmic chart since inception, Pal brought up a model that sees Bitcoin reaching $1 million by 2025.
Featured Image Courtesy of BusinessInsider
Coinbase Launches A Crypto Debit Card With 1% Reward on Bitcoin Spendings
- The largest US-based cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase announced today the launch of a Visa debit card, allowing customers to spend digital assets for everyday purchases.
- According to the official statement, the Coinbase Card will provide clients the opportunity to earn up to 4% back in cryptocurrency rewards.
- It will be available in nearly 30 countries, including the US, the UK, and across Europe. It will be connected to customers’ Coinbase accounts, and they can spend the funds without having to move funds to their bank accounts.
- The designated cryptocurrency asset spent by users will be automatically converted to US dollars prior to completing the purchase or the ATM withdrawal.
- The rewards will be available for US-based customers only initially and will depend on the cryptocurrency used. For instance, customers can get 1% back if they spend bitcoins and 4% back if they choose Stellar Lumens (XLM).
- The Coinbase app will serve as a fund manager. All spendings, reward details, and preferences will be manageable through the app.
- US customers can start applying to receive the card through the exchange’s app or the website. The first approved clients will be announced “this winter,” and they can start spending with a virtual card. The physical one will be delivered within two weeks.
Bitcoin-Friendly Avanti Receives License to be The Second Crypto Bank in The US
Now the United States can boast a new crypto bank: Welcome Avanti.
Avanti Financial Group, a firm founded by the former managing director at Morgan Stanley, Caitlin Long, announced that it had been granted a license to offer banking services by the Wyoming State Banking Board.
Avanti is The Second Crypto-bank Operating in the United States
With this decision, Avanti becomes the second crypto company to receive a banking license after the crypto exchange Kraken was also authorized by the Wyoming State Banking Board.
This license allows Avanti to offer financial services in the same way that a traditional bank would, only that these are in addition to the crypto services already provided by the platform.
According to Avanti, the application in the state of Wyoming was key to meeting its expectations —just like Kraken did— as it is the only state in the country that has a regulator with a bank supervisory and regulatory program for digital assets mature enough to ensure the operations of a banking platform that offers risk-free custody services.
Currently the only type of U.S. financial institution that can provide final and simultaneous settlement of trades between digital assets and the U.S. dollar-because it is the only type currently approved to handle both within the same legal entity-is a Wyoming special purpose depository institution like Avanti.
Blockchain and Banking Working Together
Avanti said in a tweet that the first crypto product the company will launch will be a stablecoin pegged to the dollar and backed by physical deposits made to its bank accounts. The token will be called Avit and will be available for its customers in the first quarter of 2021.
AVANTI IS OFFICIALLY A BANK! Our charter & business plan were approved 8-0 today, incl. #Avit (a tokenized US dollar, which we announced we’ll issue initially on #Liquid (#Bitcoin sidechain) & #Ethereum. Open for commercial customers early Q1. More here:https://t.co/CgNazN08zV
— Avanti Bank & Trust (@AvantiBT) October 28, 2020
Avanti revealed that Avit tokens will run on Ethereum – a critical blockchain for those seeking to take advantage of programmable smart contracts – and Liquid – a Bitcoin sidechain developed by Blockstream for those seeking to benefit from inter-exchange transfers for arbitrage operations.
Avanti had previously confirmed its collaboration with Blockstream to develop this token, explaining that it would not be like a normal crypto-currency and that it would be “just bank money that happens to be issued on a blockchain.” So it may look more like JPM Coin than the famous USDT.
Caitlin Long promised that Avanti “will provide products and services that do not exist in the market today. They did not refer to what they had in mind, so we can only hope.
There has been a lot of activity around cryptocurrency and financial services with blockchain technology in the United States. After MicroStrategy announced a major investment in Bitcoin, Square revealed a $50 million investment in BTC. Also, PayPal started providing support for cryptocurrencies and JP Morgan started using its own cryptocurrency commercially days after it talked about Bitcoin’s potential to triple its price.
Most of these announcements helped boosting BTC’s price. Will this have a bullish effect too?
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