As we know, October 2018 saw Monero(XMR) undergo a hard fork.
Hardfork? What's that?
To recap, a hard fork is a drastic or radical change to the protocol that makes previously invalid blocks/transactions, valid (or vice-versa). This requires all nodes or users to upgrade to the latest version of the protocol software. Unlike some prior forks, this fork did not create a new coin. So, the XMR cryptocurrency will continue to be the only coin on Monero’s network after the hard fork
What you need to know about Monero forks
Monero undergoes a fork every 6 months, so this is not an out of the ordinary occurrence in the Monero world. These forks occur regularly to increase privacy and decrease transaction costs. The XMR team is constantly working on making XMR as private and affordable as possible.
What does this mean for Monero now?
The aim of this fork was faster, cheaper and more private transactions. The results of this fork were increased ring signature size, bulletproofs and modified proof-of-work(PoW)
Bulletproofs - The upgraded version of XMR features a new type of range proofs. These are called bulletproofs. Bulletproofs were put in place to replace pre-existing Borromean range proofs. Bulletproofs are expected to reduce the size of transaction data by approximately 80%. The XMR team have advised that the reduced size of transactions will also help to reduce transaction processing fees.
PoW Modification - A PoW modification has been included to get rid of a potential threat of ASICs as well as to further preserve ASIC resistance. This means that Monero’s hard fork upgrade will prevent miners from using more powerful and specialized ASICs to gain an edge over other transaction validators. This “consensual” network upgrade also requires that full-node operators update their mining software.
Ring Signature Size - The upgrade increased the minimum ring signature size to 11 (mixin 10) - which will be “static / fixed.” The mixin count is the number of other signatures (aside from yours) in the ring signature that authorizes the transaction.
A mixin of 10 which means that, as mentioned, the ring signature size will be 11 - so we cannot determine which of the five signers could have signed a particular transaction.
In order to make sure transactions are not rejected on Monero’s network after the upgrade, mining “pool operators need to ensure that payouts use a ring size of 11 (mixin 10).”
To Wrap Up
The latest XMR fork has been beneficial for both Miners and people who transact using Monero. With the average transaction fee dropping from 60 cents to 2 cents, we're excited to see what the XMR team has in store next