Monero has deployed a hard fork to strengthen its privacy and security features

The hard fork, completed at block 2,688,888, was first announced by the developers in April this year. Originally scheduled for July, it was later postponed to August 13.

One of the main changes introduced with the fork is the increase in the size of Monero’s rings from 11 to 16. In order to protect user privacy, Monero merges the digital signature of the person signing a transaction with those of 11 (now 16) other non-signatories to create a new signature authorizing the transaction.

The network upgrade also includes changes to the algorithm”Bulletproofs” in order to increase the speed of transactions and reduce their size by about 5-7%, as well as improvements of the multisig mechanism. Other performance improvements include the “view tags“, which aim to reduce wallet synchronization times by up to 40%, as well as security fixes and pricing changes.

News of the successful network upgrade appears to have boosted the price of Monero, which is currently up around 3% on the day, with the private currency currently changing hands at around $172.

Monero and Privacy Projects

The boost to Monero’s privacy feature comes in the wake of increased regulatory focus on privacy projects. Last week, the US Treasury Department sanctioned privacy tool Tornado Cash for money laundering, while the Dutch Crime Agency arrested an alleged developer of Tornado Cash; these moves have drawn widespread condemnation within the crypto community.

Monero itself has long attracted the attention of regulators and law enforcement; In 2020, crypto intelligence firm CipherTrace revealed that it had developed a set of tools to trace Monero transactions at the request of the US Department of Homeland Security. Despite this apparent success, a month later the IRS offered a bounty of up to $625,000 to crack Monero. The following year, Norwegian police attempted to crack private currency in order to trace transactions related to a disappearance case.

Due to this regulatory attention, cryptocurrency exchanges including Coinbase have been reluctant to list Monero, with CEO Brian Armstrong stating in 2020 that in “behind the scenes conversations“, regulators had hinted that “we really don’t think you should.

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