Monero’s Hard Fork Affects Darknet Users

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Hand holding a Monero coin on a bright background with blockchain network.
Darknet markets suffer technical hitches following Monero’s hard fork procedure. Hard forks, while crucial for crypto coins, can pose complications.

The origins of Monero are as mysterious as those of popular cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.

Agreeably, the inception of Monero was considered to be a fresh breath in the crypto industry that had suffered Bitcoin’s few shortcomings.

Particularly, Monero promised enhanced anonymity, a factor that forms the fiber of dark web business.

This doesn’t mean that Bitcoin failed entirely in providing user anonymity—one may still stay anonymous with the virtual coin. The design of the blockchain is such that transactions may easily be traced to the sources.

Another issue is the possibility of determining the amount of Bitcoin stored in another user’s account. In this regard, it becomes crucial for Bitcoin users to hide their identity by all means through utmost secrecy.

It is not advisable for a user to associate their real name to Bitcoin-related transactions that may be snooped by other people. This especially becomes a major problem when one is trying to buy illicit goods from the dark web.

Your TOR usage is being watched

Well, Monero identified and filled this gap.

The crypto coin has continually attempted to improve its structures. A recent hard fork, however, sent the darknet markets into turmoil.

The Issue

Monero aims to upgrade its protocol as a prerequisite for targeting customer satisfaction across all boards. The upgrade process is usually marked with a hard forking procedure that happens every six months.

The recent hard fork was accompanied by repercussions that could be reflected through complaints lodged on darknet forums.

One Dream Market user, “ddr5ram,” shared with the forum participants that he had withdrawn Monero into his wallet following the Monero hard fork. Unfortunately, the transaction reflected in the old chain and this meant that he was unable to receive funds via his updated wallet.

Moreover, he cannot be able to tell his balance on Dream Market.

Screenshot of “ddr5ram” user complains.
User “ddr5ram” complains about Monero’s deposit issues.

Another Dream Market vendor, “kron4user,” also wrote about the deposit problems he experienced with using Monero. In his post, he intimates that he was unlucky enough to make the transfer of Monero to his wallet amid the crypto coin’s hard fork process.

He expressed disappointment and mentioned his wish to temporarily migrate to another darknet market. The user expressed doubts about being able to access his coins again and blamed the admins for being unable to solve the technical issue.

Screenshot of forum member “kron4user” telling his Monero deposit problems.
A forum member, “kron4user,” expresses his disappointments regarding the Monero deposit problems.

“Speedstepper,” a Dream Market admin, responded to vendor complaints regarding Monero issues by stating the Monero hard fork that was affecting deposits in the marketplace. He went on to assure the vendors that their funds are safe and would be credited once the issue is resolved.

In the same post, he mentioned the possibility that the issues were aggravated by the fact that the Monero software was probably shifting to a mistaken blockchain fork.

Speedstepper announced that the blockchain was being rescanned, and this meant that Monero would be suspended until the problem is fixed.

Fortunately, Monero’s issue on Dream Market became fully resolved in late April.

Screenshot of Speedstepper's post.
A screenshot of speedstepper’s post on the Dream Market forum.

Moving away from Dream Market, the Silk Road 3.1 forum discussions have also featured complaints concerning Monero’s loss of deposits.

This is specifically expressed by one user named “mapsusbgrg.”

In his post, he reveals that he had lost an order after making payments with Monero. He then attempted to deposit Monero into his Silk Road 3.1 wallet, but the coins failed to be reflected in his account.

He made a thread concerning the issue and wondered if anyone else had experienced similar Monero issues. He concluded his post by faulting Silk Road for failing to place an announcement concerning the issue just like Dream Market had done.

Screenshot of user "mapsusbgrg" telling about Monero Issues.
Silk Road 3.1 user, mapsusbgrg, expresses his grievances about Monero issues.

As expected, other Silk Road 3.1 users joined the conversation and intimated the specific details about how much Monero they have lost through deposits. One “fofamail” appeared clearly agitated after losing 0.3 XMR (see screenshot below).

Screenshot of user complains about losing Monero.
A Silk Road 3.1 user complains about losing Monero coins.

Monero Hard Fork: An Overview

The Monero hard fork created some new features, which included and advanced mechanisms that would accommodate bigger transactions. This also extended to increased privacy within the same context.

Additionally, the inclusion of multisig transactions and an improved wallet support came as suitable additions to the coin’s portfolio. The hard fork also brought a fix to Monero’s hashing algorithm that is regarded as CryptoNight.

This kind of change undermined the ASIC mining apparatus. This form of hardware poses a concern on the Monero CryptoNight hashing algorithm when related to other algorithms that serve the same function.

This is due to the fact that ASIC miners could target Denial-of-Service attacks on non-ASIC miners operating within the network.

The downsides expressed by ASIC mining hardware must have influenced the widespread acceptance of change presented by Monero’s development team and its users. Nevertheless, this change did not rub everyone the same way.

Some individuals expressed their displeasure with the unfolding. Mainly, Bitmain, a hardware manufacturer made a March announcement via Twitter that they were producing ASIC machines designed for the CryptoNight algorithm.

It’s expected that this hardware is applied in the mining process executed on Monero’s blockchain, but secretly. Other manufacturers such as Halong Mining and Pinldea seemed to row on the same boat as Bitmain. Interestingly, the Monero hard fork would render their products useless.

Now, in the recent weeks, a handful of projects have claimed that they will stick to the protocol established before the hard fork. Considering the reality that the four projects thrive on a common protocol, they technically operate on the same network despite having different names.

Below is a list of the aforementioned projects that are loyal to the pre-hard fork Monero protocol:

  • Monero Classic: XMC
  • Monero-Classic: XMC
  • Monero 0: XMZ
  • Monero Original: XMO

Conclusion: Main Concerns

Hitherto, it seems that both the new Monero blockchain and the pre-hard fork blockchain are mined. A significant proportion of hash might be embedded on the pre-hard fork blockchain, and both forms are sustained by relatively minimal power compared to the situation before the hard fork.

This signifies that blocks are being established with sloth, particularly in the context of the Monero blockchain. Nonetheless, this occurrence is expected to normalize with time.

The harsh reality is that the maintenance of pre-hard fork protocols by either of the four projects (in concurrence with the existence of the new Monero blockchain) will cause Monero some dire complications.

Decreased privacy is the main concern in this breath, yet anonymity has been Monero’s main selling point.

In the end, the question of whether the four projects will sustain market value through their decision to be loyal to the pre-hard fork version is unfathomable.

Cherry Pepper

Research is my comfort zone. I constantly hunger for knowledge, and believe that I bear the calling to communicate the products of my thought processes to individuals like myself. While many people believe in the adage "knowledge is power", I assert that enlightenment means life.
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1 COMMENT

  1. Anonymous

    Very confusing. I had heard XMR would split 10 to 1 or so and the number of XMR would go up X10… I thought they said right around this time of month (May 17th or 20th or so…)….

    I was wondering on latest news on this but now I am totally confused!

    The Monero PC Wallet has never successfully synched on my system. I believe it to be P2P events caused by remote actions that keep me from running a Monero Wallet.
    My 1.8 or so XMR are on Freeewallet where I have found really good fork support in the past….
    Usually I will use my CoinPayments account but I really should start using Uphold I think…

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