Zcoin Introduces MTP to Avoid ASIC Mining
Last week, Zcoin said it was introducing a functional version of the Merkle Tree Proof (MTP) algorithm to help prevent miners from using ASIC equipment to extract the cryptocurrency. With this measure, the company wants to assure the entire community that they are also very concerned about this issue and that they are trying to do everything in their power to keep Zcoin ASIC-free.
Equihash In Danger
A month ago, Bitmain launched an ASIC device specifically developed for Equihash-based cryptocurrencies, such as Zcash (ZEC), Zencash (ZEN), Zcoin (XZC) and others. This raised the alarm bells and Zcoin decided to act quickly to implement a new patch as a guarantee to deal with ASICs.
This weekend, ZenCash reported that a 51 percent attack was executed against them, with two cases of double expenses. They have been working to resolve this and have placed special emphasis on the community that the arrangements will increase the number of confirmations to 100 in the case of another attack. At ZenCash believe that the attack may have proceed from ASIC mining devices, and that the individual or group of people tried to control the network.
Although many insist that resistance to ASIC is useless, Zcoin and ZenCash believe it is worth resisting and working to avoid it. Although the latest reports indicate that developments, such as the one that Bitmain shown by developing ASICs miners for almost all algorithms, it is still doubtful that the real limits to the extent to which ASIC resistance can be driven have been tested.
What Is Zcoin?
It is a privacy-focused crypto that was designed to allow complete anonymity. It uses the Zerocoin protocol that permits anonymous transactions to be sent in a scalable manner. The protocol itself was intended to be an extension of the Bitcoin protocol to ensure privacy, as it would allow transactions to be made without leaving a trace.
The digital currency is equipped with the so-called “Zero-Knowledge” function which allows its users to choose whether they wish to keep information about their transactions public or completely secret and without the use of additional anonymity facilities. Unlike the Bitcoin transaction book, where the addresses in your wallet are only pseudonyms and can easily be linked to an identity or IP address. Zcoin, on the other hand, allows users to preserve the fungibility and privacy of their transactions.
What Is Merkle Tree Proof (MTP)?
Merkle Tree Proof is an ASIC-resistant Proof-of-Work (PoW) algorithm that was designed to be ASIC-resistant and to safeguard centralization within the ecosystem. MTP was developed with the ultimate goal of making mining fair and in line with Satoshi's original principles.
Zcoin is likely to be the first cryptocurrency to use the MTP system as a work-testing algorithm and the development team is working hard to ensure that this algorithm is seamlessly integrated. The Zcoin team has given top priority to its MTP integration plans in its roadmap.
According to the team, the implementation of the MTP is of great importance, as it is essential for optimal security on their platform, but also affects other factors such as speed of verification and distribution. Currently, Zcoin uses the Lyra2z algorithm, however, the MTP replacement promises to reduce the initialization time of the wallet, to name just a few benefits.
The MTP algorithm was developed by two researchers from the University of Luxembourg, Dmitry Khovratovich and Alex Biryukov. The researchers published their findings in a report called “Egalitarian Computing” on June 11, 2016. The purpose of the MTP was to avoid the centralization of mining caused by ASICs and to encourage the entry of CPUs and GPUs into the mining space. With this, they hoped to demonopolize the ASIC mining space.
MTP is capable of handling large memory sizes from 2 to 8GB, which in terms of scalability potential, dramatically outperforms other leading PoW systems such as Scrypt, CryptoNight or Equihash.
One of the novelties introduced by the MTP is that it is built to discourage the use of botnets. With its high memory usage, MTP would likely alert users of infected systems because this would have an undeniable impact on system performance. Although botnets are known to have taken advantage of ASIC-resistant algorithms, MTP uses its high memory to expand and protect against this type of fraudulent mining.
The Long Struggle Between CPU/GPU Vs ASIC
Concerned about centralization from ASIC operations, developers are always deploying different algorithms, but it seems like an endless cycle. Top ASIC producers are also looking to catch up with the new algorithms. This brings a big disadvantage to traditional CPU/GPU mining.
Any investor can buy dedicated equipment with capabilities far beyond the power of a CPU or GPU, making traditional test mining unprofitable. What Zcoin is doing today is a proof that this is still an ongoing struggle.
Many of the ASIC manufacturers are not interested in selling their hardware at affordable prices and this prevents most people from using their hardware to extract cryptos.
Zcoin is currently doing the final checks on its MTP code and is entering the extended testing phase of the application. The team also reported that it would launch a series of rewards for open source miners and pool software prior to the official launch of the main network.