Now considered to be the payment method of choice by much of the darknet market community, Monero (XMR) will undergo a significant network upgrade on August 13th. Major XMR wallet providers Feather and Cake have indicated they will provide update notices so users can update their wallet before the fork occurs, but an official announcement has yet to be made from maintainers of Monero GUI.
Community consensus for the hard fork was reached in April, meaning it is considered to be non-contentious and will therefore not result in a split of the network among miners. This means that no new coins will be created during the fork. Users will not lose access to their old coins if they fail to upgrade before the fork occurs. However, because it is a hard fork, wallet clients must be upgraded in order for transactions after it occurs to be processed by the network.
The core changes being introduced to Monero include:
- increasing signature ring size from 11 to 16, vastly increasing the anonymity of transactions,
- adding view tags functionality to reduce wallet scanning time by 30-40%, and
- upgrading the Bulletproofs+ algorithm to decrease transaction size and verification time.
Also included in the update are fixes to Monero’s experimental multisignature capabilities; however, this feature is still marked as experimental and should only be used in cases when all parties are trusted.
Aside from their growing acceptance in darknet market, privacy coins like Monero have seen a dramatic uptick in popularity this year. The reasons behind this are many but in the face of stiffening regulation are though to revolve around an increasing need for cryptocurrency transaction privacy. The ratio of Monero transactions to Bitcoin transactions is currently at its highest level ever, surpassing the 20% threshold for the first time this week.
Other privacy coins accepted by certain darknet markets include Dash (DASH), Zcash (ZEC), and now Litecoin (LTC), whose recently-activated MimbleWimble Extensions Block (MWEB) feature provides users with a sophisticated degree of transaction privacy. Despite the presence of other options, Monero still accounts for around 98% of all privacy coin-based transactions.
For more information on the Monero network upgrade, click here.