In line with an agreement by developers of privacy-focused cryptocurrency, Grin, the network has just successfully completed its very first hard fork. It was implemented on Wednesday the 17th of July at block height 262,080.
Earlier in June, it was announced that developers had agreed on that block height, which was initially proposed by Quentin Le Sceller, a Grin core developer and software engineer. The block height and date are accurate and corroborate the earlier proposal.
Quentin Le Sceller has also expressed that this hardfork is specifically intended, among other things, to discourage the use of dedicated application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs) for Grin mining. According to the announcement, this is the first in a planned series of four hard forks that are expected to happen within Grin’s first two years, every six months. The fork frequency is expected to make it difficult for ASICs manufacturers to build specialized hardware for it.
John Tromp, a Grin developer spoke on the fork saying:
“It was planned since way before Grin launched. We would do four hard forks in the first two years, at regular six-month intervals, to introduce new features.”
This plan, according to Tromp, will be sustained even though there currently is no sign of ASIC mining since Grin began. He also explains that the secondary Proof-of-Work scheme, Cuckaroo39, will continue to be tweaked. Tromp confirmed this saying:
“In the 133 days of Grin mining so far, there is no sign of any ASIC mining. We do know of several ASIC products planned to come out in summer. To the extent that any such ASICs have built in support for Cukaroo29, we want our tweak to brick that support.”
As part of the upgrade, there is a change in the bulletproof rewind scheme for Grin wallets to ensure better wallet flexibility.
Also, according to Tromp, the event is a little different than is expected from a forking. Tromp explained that the upgrade was not intended for the network to split. It was just for it to stop “in its tracks” and then compel users to update their software. Tromp expounded on this saying:
“In a classical fork, the chain can split into two mutually incompatible continuations…In Grin, there is no way to continue growing the old chain since the old code refuses to accept any blocks past the height [after the hard fork].”
Grin was launched in January 2019 and the network is estimated to be worth almost $60 million. In 6 months, another fork is expected to further prevent ASIC monopoly. This would make it a bit easier for the Grin mining to reach its annual projection – to generate $100 million.
The implication of these hard forks is that all former transactions on the blockchain will cease to be acknowledged as is wont to happen with the launch of a new mainnet. It’s also important to note that Grin applies the Mimblewimble protocol. This is a cryptographic procedure that seeks to obscure transactions and records for the purpose of significantly improving the privacy of all users while preventing double-spending. The Mimblewimble protocol was named after a tongue-tying curse used in the Harry Potter fantasy world, which ties the cursed person, preventing them from making any coherent speech.