On July 4, 2021, there will be a network upgrade (“hard fork”) with Wownero “Junkie Jeff” v0.10 release. The release will likely end large scale pool mining. Wownero will aim to be solo-mining only. There is a problem with pool centralization, especially concentrated in China. The two top pools make up over 70% of the network hash.
We have to do something drastic to ensure a more decentralized and secure network, the status quo is unsustainable. Therefore, we will introduce consensus code that checks miner signatures for each newly minted block. Miners will need to sign block header data with private spend key and amend the resulting signature to a new block header field before doing a Proof of Work hash. Each new nonce attempted must be hashed and signed by the miner with their private key. Idea was originally proposed last year by tevador/SChernykh. You can find the implemented code here.
Difficulty will be reset to 2018 levels (100 million) and the difficulty algorithm will be changed from LWMA back to Monero’s default difficulty algorithm. The current difficulty has been driven up by large pools, a reset to lower levels would help solo-miners find blocks after the fork. The lower level will be fixed for 720 blocks to readjust the difficulty window. LWMA was originally implemented to counter NiceHash attacks and gaming the algorithm by large miners “coin jumping” pools. Since we are going to become solo-mining only, a long and smooth difficulty adjustment would be more preferable than the more aggressive adjustments that come with LWMA. Besides, Monero’s difficulty code seems more battle tested than LWMA.
Solo mining will not be easy. Miners have become accustomed to monitoring difficulty levels and prices on a minute by minute, hour by hour basis, and getting regular “dust” payouts from pools. With solo mining, miners have to play the “long game”. The risks are higher (some miners could mine for days, weeks, months, and get nothings), but the rewards are higher… miners could get lucky and win the full block reward (without having to pay pool fees or share the reward with other miners). Solo mining is like a lottery. Everyday there are 288 blocks that will be randomly awarded to miners. On average, a miner with a Ryzen 3700X CPU could expect to win a reward within 30-40 days (with the lower difficulty after the reset… this is only a rough estimate since it depends purely on luck, there is also the possibility a miner will never get a block).
Someone has proposed changing the block time from 5 minutes to 2 minutes per block in order to increase the number of blocks per day (2 minutes would be increase blocks per day to 720 blocks, which is the same as Monero). More blocks means more chances for solo miners to win a reward. However, I not sure if this would be a good idea. Decreasing the block time would mean the blockchain size would grow faster and we would need to adjust the emission rate either by lowering the per block reward and extending the emission beyond the target 50 years or maintaining the same reward amount but shortening the emission period to less than 50 years. This would be a major change and would need community input to reach a rough consensus if anything should be done about this or left the same. Please express your opinion about this proposal below.
The random coinbase unlock time will be dropped and fixed to 1 day (288 blocks) unlock time.
The fork will also include Bulletproofs+, a new range proof that will make transactions smaller and improve verification performance. You can read more about it here. Many upstream updates and bug fixes are included in the update.
For a step by step guide on how to solo mine with Wownero, check out: How to Solo Mine
Full disclosure: This is all very experimental and we have no idea if this will actually work. If shit is broken, we can later fork pools back in or consider other alternatives like P2Pool mining, merge mined derivative “hash coin”. We are nimble… float like a butterfly, sting like a bee!