20231224 X5 Release Summary by Gingeropolous

 

(my html skills rule. If you don’t like the width of the text… resize your window. Or copy the text and make a PR)

 

It had been almost 4 years since the RandomX fork when August of 2023 rolled around. During those years, the #monero-pow channel was mostly empty. Honestly most of the log space is me asking random questions, and I don’t have the logs for before 2023 because I migrated to a new laptop and didn’t transfer over the logs. Needless to say, the monero PoW space was quiet, and those that had been on the front lines of the 2018-2019 ASIC battle were relatively confident that RandomX was fulfilling its role in promoting and maintaining the decentralization of the monero blockchain.

 

On August 9th 2023,  sech1 posts this: (and you can read the logs here)

 

 

Aug 09 08:07:17 <sech1>        https://xmr.nanopool.org/account/44p7Fu9WBuWeSNravpyJ4nB8ASEpvNamzRiJGFfqPmV6EaRAfiwSBDp4VFi8cRLW3WLrfDT6yPhwb9qGS2S7CihR88KYUWm

Aug 09 08:07:23 <sech1>        https://xmr.nanopool.org/account/84RzYVBUvnYFxfmbrqqa4kAvXDFoWUtm6RdUhF35M4pk3eP81A8AnLdG71mHMqKPjDMLyTPwGLXaTNEQYVumBFZXPmNsYSJ

Aug 09 08:07:35 <sech1>        800 MH/s on two addresses

Aug 09 13:04:24 <gingeropolous>        wowza

 

Now, the hashrate of those miners isn’t available as of writing this document, but you can still see the payouts.

 

 
 

The payouts start in 2020, and notice how frequent they are! Every 1-3 hours, almost 2 xmr. This is some serious hashrate. (Though honestly, during my review of this document and the logs, I don’t see any indication that these addresses were the X5s in testing).

 

About a week later…

 

 

Aug 14 12:50:05 <sech1>        https://www.viperatech.com/product/bitmain-antminer-monero-xmr/

Aug 14 13:02:07 <hyc1>        interesting. so is it real? 2024 release, still vaporware right now

Aug 14 13:03:20 <hyc1>        it's kind of on schedule, really. maybe a little late.

Aug 14 13:12:36 *        hyc1 is now known as hyc

Aug 14 13:39:03 <sech1>        A bit sceptical. It's the only website even mentioning this, and it has 0 technical details

Aug 14 13:43:18 <sech1>        I also found this press-release: https://www.einnews.com/pr_news/649538531/viperatech-inks-preorder-contract-for-next-generation-monero-xmr-miner-bitmain-s-l9-miner-for-dodge-ltc-coins

Aug 14 13:45:08 <sech1>        ViperaTech: founded in 2015, 51-100 employees, headquarters in Montréal

Aug 14 13:45:21 <sech1>        So it doesn't look like short-term scam

Aug 14 13:45:55 <sech1>        But on the other hand, no technical specs can mean it's not really impressive

Aug 14 13:49:35 <sech1>        lol, if I click "Inquiry to buy", it adds a totally different ASIC to the cart

Aug 14 16:34:00 <hyc>        lol

 

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And a day later (August 15th), this:

 

 

 

Almost immediately, there is talk of developing a fork to brick these potential ASICs. It turns out there are some optimizations for RandomX that would have been released at some point, but the advent of potential ASICs provides some more momentum to move them along. One such development:

 

https://github.com/monero-project/monero/issues/8827

 

 

As noted, this improvement isn’t really related to ASIC resistance (it was posted in April 2023, 4 months prior). It just turns out that if there’s an ASIC, due to the nature of how ASICs work (hardwired programming essentially), then any changes to the PoW would brick them.

 

In addition to these changes, there’s talk of reducing CFROUND operations or something.

 

On August 27th, Bitmain tweets the coming of the X5. The advertisement states that its RISC-V, so we already know that the device is not an ASIC.

 

The 212 kh/s stands out to sech1, who is able to infer that these devices are probably responsible for the nonce patterns that have been on the network since 2021.