Monero and Arweave to validate the PoW algorithm RandomX

Leading private cryptocurrency Monero and the serverless storage enabler Arweave , announced today they jointly will be validating the new cryptocurrency proof-of-work algorithm RandomX.

RandomX promotes egalitarian cryptocurrency mining on standard computer hardware, resisting the use of Application Specific Integrated Circuits (ASICs).

Security firm Trail of Bits will be hired to provide security auditing expertise as part of the cooperation. The Open Source Technology Improvement Fund (OSTIF) connected developers with multiple security teams and is coordinating audits of RandomX.

For proof-of-work cryptocurrencies, miners run puzzle-solving algorithms as part of the mining process. When a puzzle solution is found, the blockchain, a ledger of transactions, advances and the successful miner earns a reward. Solving the puzzle is the proof of work.

For many cryptocurrencies, these puzzle-solving algorithms have, over time, come to be implemented on custom ASICs. Reliance on this custom hardware is seen by many as negative because ASIC manufacturers gain power over the cryptocurrency. Sometimes ASIC manufacturers mine in private, rather than openly selling their chips to the general public, which increases their influence over the cryptocurrency. Those who control the production and distribution of security-providing chips hold leverage over the network.

RandomX fights the use of ASICs. In conventional proof-of-work algorithms, a single function for puzzle finding is run over many iterations until a valid solution is found. Whatever that function happens to be, the fact that there is only a single one allows ASIC manufacturers to analyze it, optimize it, and embed it in hardware to execute with greater efficiency than any CPU implementation.

In RandomX, a new random program is generated for every iteration, and the continually varying code presents a moving target that cannot simply be embedded in hardware. RandomX includes cryptographic hashes and other algorithms in a computational framework that matches the strengths of the Central Processing Units (CPUs) used with personal computers.

“The idea with RandomX is to require anyone who wants to build an ASIC for it to basically reimplement an entire CPU, thus constraining their performance to that of a CPU. It will help mining on everyday computer hardware to stay more competitive.”

Howard Chu, Chief Technology Officer at Symas, who first developed the concept of a randomly generated proof of work for Monero

The Monero community has always resisted ASIC application. From its beginning, Monero, which started as an implementation of the CryptoNote protocol, was designed for CPU implementation. Recently, changes to its reference software—so-called hard forks—have been made to thwart the use of ASICs, and moving to RandomX is a natural next step. If the security audits are positive, RandomX will be the best attempt so far at creating a competitive, accessible, and long-lasting mining hardware market.

“Distributing mining over many people and many computers hardens a cryptocurrency,” said binaryFate, member of Monero’s core team. “Monero is strong, and RandomX can make it stronger, like tempering steel.”

Arweave provides an innovative cryptocurrency-based approach to decentralized, long-term data storage. Mining on Arweave relies on both proof of work and—as a new concept unique to Arweave—proof of access. Arweave miners are incentivized through proof of access to replicate and have quick access to data stored in the network.

Just as the private cryptocurrency Monero benefits from the shared power of distributed miners, Arweave benefits from their excess storage capacity. One or many Arweave miners can lose data without inducing the risk of global loss, and RandomX promises to further strengthen that process.

“An ASIC-resistant proof-of-work algorithm like RandomX will further enhance our permanent, low-cost, tamper-resistant storage network. RandomX helps us ensure that power over the decentralized content policies in the Arweave network remains well distributed across many globally distributed parties.”

Sam Williams, CEO at Arweave

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