Monero will upgrade its network today, with the latest release of its node software, codenamed “Oxygen Orion.”
Performance and Security Improvements
This upgrade contains only one major change: a new ring signatures construction called CLSAG.
That feature will improve Monero’s scalability and performance. By some estimates, CLSAG will reduce transaction sizes by 25% and improve transaction times by 10%. This marks the project’s most significant scalability improvement since the project introduced bulletproofs in 2018.
The upgrade also includes a number of small security improvements, primarily concerning Dandelion++, which is responsible for hiding user IP addresses. The remaining changes are minor bugfixes.
Unlike in previous upgrades, there will be no change to Monero’s mining algorithm. That algorithm was frequently modified to disadvantage ASIC miners. However, the project’s October 2019 upgrade included RandomX, which means that the network no longer needs to change its mining algorithm for ASIC-resistance.
Though not directly related to the upgrade, development on a community Monero project is progressing.
Since September, community developers have been working on an atomic swap that quickly allows users to exchange Monero for other coins. The proposal for the project has now reached full funding (2727 XMR or $300,000).
Meanwhile, Europol has drawn attention to illegal uses for the coin. This week, it recognized that “Monero is gradually becoming the most established privacy coin for Darkweb transactions,” and states that the coin is a “considerable obstacle” for investigators. That statement comes just weeks after U.S. government agencies, including the IRS and the DEA, revealed plans to trace Monero (though the effectiveness of those plans has been called into question).
In any case, Monero remains the top-ranking privacy coin. Its main privacy features remain uncompromised, and continual improvements will likely help it maintain its position in the future.
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