Say what you will about their position, but the developers of Monero are sticking to their guns. Over the weekend, Riccardo Spagni — lead maintainer of the privacy-centric cryptocurrency — released Lithium Luna, the latest version of the Monero source code. The update itself was planned, but included in the software is an emergency provision intended to prevent ASIC miners from operating on its network, which uses the Cryptonight Proof-of-Work (PoW) hashing algorithm.
These miners — so named because they use Application Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC) chips — maximize efficiency to such an extent that it becomes no longer profitable to mine with GPU miners, whose chips are general-purpose and use for everything from PC gaming to searching for extraterrestrial life.
Monero had already fired a preemptive strike of sorts at ASIC manufacturers last month — specifically China-based Bitmain, which currently dominates the ASIC market — vowing in a blog post to alter its mining algorithm slightly every six months to render producing an XMR-compatible ASIC economically impractical.