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Monero Hardfork and Temporary Issues With Transactions

On 17 October, Monero (XMR), a privacy-oriented cryptocurrency, conducted a major upgrade of its network called “Oxygen Orion.” The goal of the upgrade was to increase transaction speed, reducing transaction size and improving the overall performance of the network. However, users encountered some issues after the update: major liquidity providers shut down the operations for some time. ChangeNOW users also experienced some delays with Monero exchanges from 17th to 19th October. Here is our recollections of events and an official statement regarding those issues.

Monero Weekend Update

On October 17th Monero (XMR), a privacy-oriented cryptocurrency, conducted a major upgrade of its network called “Oxygen Orion”. The goal of the upgrade was to increase transaction speed. In other words, the developers aimed at reducing transaction size and improving the overall performance of the network. This Monero upgrade was significant enough to be considered a hard fork, so for the next few days customers experienced some instabilities in the network. Despite the fact this fork was an expected and necessary event, some worries about the previous version proved to be justifiable.

What Is A Hard Fork?

A hard fork is a change in a blockchain protocol that influences the structure of the blocks (including block hash), which forces customers to upgrade the block sequence. Along with it, the ‘old' information becomes invalid. Usually, hard forks are performed when there is a need to create a new coin and new network rules. But in some cases, if major software changes occur on the blockchain, the changes can also be described as a hard fork. In this case, customers have to go through the same update procedure. The recent Montero ‘CLSAG’ link signature protocol required all network participants to upgrade their software, so it can be considered a hard fork.

What Impact Did This Have On Monero Transactions?

After the upgrade, there was a minor bug present in v0.17. Some blocks got stuck, potentially affecting local operators, especially those who were not online during the XMR fork but wanted to sync soon afterwards. Thanks to Monero developers, the hotfix was implemented in just a few hours, and fortunately, the network was restored to smooth operation without major issues — only a few transactions got stuck, and people on the network at the time simply had to update manually.

Delayed Monero Transactions On ChangeNOW

Exchange platforms tend to prepare for events like hardforks, and some of our major liquidity providers temporarily turned off XMR payouts. From October 17th to October 19th, Huobi and Bitfinex alternately closed and opened Monero exchanges. We were not properly prepared for this hard fork and some exchanges were able get in the queue. Normally, we have standard protocol for such situations including a variety of steps:

  • Verifying the availability of coins from liquidity providers
  • Verifying our own liquidity resources
  • Planning downtime if necessary
  • Promptly announcing the downtime to our clients

In this particular case, the process led to a few failures, and as a result, the situation on Monday looked as follows:

  • Liquidity providers temporarily denied access to the coin
  • Our own liquidity reserves were not sufficient for long-term operations without an external liquidity provider.
  • We missed the moment when the queue of unfinished exchanges started to accumulate (due to monitoring failures).
  • As a result, on Monday, the coin had to be turned off for several hours to process all unfinished exchanges

Current Status And Conclusions

As of this moment, all exchanges are successfully finished. The situation was informative for us because we discovered a combination of errors that led to such a delay in our services. The main problem was that we were poorly prepared for potential instabilities on the network in advance, and the monitoring system wasn’t responsive enough in the process. The ChangeNOW team analyzed this case and the problems encountered. We made plans to reorganize the internal workflow, so that certain eventualities will not happen in the future, namely:

  1. Increased the liquidity reserves
  2. Improved the monitoring system
  3. Expanded our support team

We view such situations as an opportunity to learn and make our services even better. Therefore, we suppose it's necessary to review such cases in detail and prevent future missteps . Thank you for contacting our support team and for your patience while we were fixing these issues. If you have any other questions or inquiries left regarding this case, please contact our support team at [email protected]. Due to the issues you might've experienced, we'd like to make it up to you. All XMR transactions are 50% off till the end of the month. Exchange XMR in minutes on ChangeNOW.io and make sure this time we do our best.

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