Monero fork creates four new coins, causes ASIC fire sale
Five-for-one mining-rig deals and four new forked coins spring up after Monero's anti-ASIC fork.
A hard fork is when a cryptocurrency updates its code in a non-backwards-compatible way. This is sometimes the only way to push through major updates but can also cause schisms and mild chaos if there's disagreement about whether to update. The Monero privacy coin just had an especially eventful update, creating four other prongs and triggering a mining-rig fire sale in the process.
This is because the Monero fork, which was passed to avoid potential centralisation, was specifically designed to prevent certain high-powered ASIC mining machines from working the network.
Unfortunately for some, as soon as it happened, a lot of expensive hardware suddenly became closer to becoming an expensive paperweight. ASIC mining machines can't be reprogrammed, so a change in mining algorithms, such as Monero just did, might render a machine essentially useless. ASIC manufacturer Baikal responded with an impromptu five-for-one fire sale.
Before the fork, Monero was by far the most valuable coin that could be mined with those machines, but not the only one. Plenty of other coins also chose to use the Monero mining algorithm rather than making their own. However, many of them are updating as well and soon won't be ASIC-minable either.
The few that aren't updating are either staying put because they don't have anyone with the expertise to code the fork, like Electroneum which doesn't actually have a blockchain developer on staff, or because they prefer to remain ASIC-minable, like the four brand new Monero forks that just sprung up.
This might be because they're ideologically or technologically in favour of ASIC mining or because the forkers owned a bunch of ASIC miners which suddenly became almost worthless.
The four new coins are called Monero Classic, Monero Classic, Monero Original and Monero 0.
All of them broadly say everything's going really well for them, and that they're getting the majority of hashing power. Most are accusing the others of being scams and insist they have purely noble reasons for not wanting to lose a lot of money to an ASIC-resistant fork.
Monero Classic is in favour of ASIC mining, believing that it helps protect the network against botnet attacks and is a natural part of the future of cryptocurrency – and possibly because they stand to lose a lot of money from an ASIC-resistant fork.
The other Monero Classic is also in favour of ASIC mining, possibly for the same reasons as Monero Classic (the other Monero Classic) or possibly because they stand to lose a lot of money from an ASIC-resistant fork.
Monero Original claims to be the real Monero, operating the original unforked Monero chain to respect the wishes of the community. Some have speculated that this group is backed by ASIC-miner manufacturers who stand to lose a lot of money from an ASIC-resistant fork.
Monero 0 (zero)
Monero 0 also claims to be the original Monero. They believe that miners should have the freedom to choose not to lose a lot of money from an ASIC-resistant fork.
Disclosure: At the time of writing, the author holds ETH, IOTA, ICX, VEN, XLM, BTC and NANO.