Monero hashrate has tripled since RandomX – Botnets responsible?

  • The hashrate of the Monero network has tripled since the RandomX hard fork.
  • While the CPU Mining performance benefits provide more decentralization, there are fears that XMR mining by botnets will become more common again.

Prior to the activation of the last Monero hard fork, RandomX, the XMR community was insecure as to whether the network would be sufficiently protected against 51% attacks following the elimination of the ASIC miners. With block 1.978.433, the developers have laid the foundation for the permanent exclusion of the ASIC from the XMR network. For this purpose, the Monero developers have replaced the CryptoNight algorithm used by Monero since the Genesis block with RandomX.

Just over ten days after the fork, the latest Monero Hashrate data shows that the concerns were not justified. Since the activation of RandomX, the hashrate of the Monero network has tripled, from about 300 MH/s to currently 909,931 MH/s (according to Onion Monero Blockchain Explorer). As the graph of Bitinfocharts shows, the network comes very close to its previous highs, which were reached in April 2018 (at 1.074 GH/s) and March 2019 (at 990 MH/s).

The main reason for the strong increase of the XMR hashrate is that RandomX not only excludes ASICs from the network, but also makes GPUs (graphic cards) far inferior to CPUs. As CNF reported prior to the fork, RandomX massively promotes CPU mining. Modern processors in particular clearly outperform the best GPUs.

As Monero Farm wrote, AMD Ryzen CPUs, especially the third CPU generation based on the ZEN 2 architecture, have the greatest performance advantage. But even without the latest CPU, many home PCs could have opted for Monero mining and thus contributed to the increase of the hashrate. Ultimately, the Monero team has reaffirmed its commitment to network decentralization with the upgrade. CPU Mining gives all miners the same chance to participate in the mining process.

Monero hashrate increase due to botnets?

However, as a result of RandomX, there is also concern that the rapid increase in Monero hashrate was caused or at least supported by botnets. Although CPU mining has the great advantage of decentralization, it is also perfectly suited for malware running in the background of the victim.

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In contrast to the graphic cards, the CPU does not generate any noise. If the entire PC doesn’t slow down noticeably due to the background action of the XMR mining software, the bot should hardly be noticed. As a result, some experts fear that Monero could get an increased botnet problem with RandomX. This would also mean that “honest” miners would have to wage a “hard fight” against botnets.

Although the RandomX Github documentation states that botnets are excluded due to RandomX’s large storage requirements, some users on Reddit doubt whether botnet mining can be prevented. Therefore, further developments remain to be seen.

Meanwhile, the Monero price is currently moving in line with the entire crypto market sentiment. The price has hardly changed in the past seven days (+0.04%) and at the time of writing is around 53 USD.

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About Author

Jake Simmons has been a crypto enthusiast since 2016, and since hearing about Bitcoin and blockchain technology, he's been involved with the subject every day. Beyond cryptocurrencies, Jake studied computer science and worked for 2 years for a startup in the blockchain sector. At CNF he is responsible for technical issues. His goal is to make the world aware of cryptocurrencies in a simple and understandable way.

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