The Monero developers have officially confirmed the 0.15 release of their core software will be released this year. It introduces a lot of prominent changes designed to strengthen the ecosystem as a whole. No major issues should arise because of this new upgrade, although service providers may want to pay attention to what is going on exactly.
The Introduction of RandomX
Not too long ago, it became apparent the Monero developers had taken a strong interest in exploring a new proof-of-work algorithm. That is rather uncommon in the cryptocurrency industry. That being said, Monero is not a traditional altcoin where only minor changes and improvements are introduced. The team is more than determined to remain ASIC resistant, thus changing the algorithm makes a lot of sense.
The new algorithm is known as RandomX, a protocol recently audited by a third party. In terms of providing ASIC resistance, it seems unlikely that any mining hardware manufacturer will build something specifically for this algorithm. Even if they did, there is very little chance it would be a successful or lucrative venture. The Monero team wants to offer CPU and GPU miners access to mining XMR, and this algorithm should allow for doing so. It is also the first time any cryptocurrency utilizes this algorithm, thus there is some anticipation associated with the network upgrade scheduled for November 30.
Removing Long Payment IDs
When a cryptocurrency project focuses on privacy and anonymity at all times, there is plenty of room for improvement. According to the developers, getting rid of long payment IDs is an integral step forward. It will allow for a higher degree of privacy, while also reducing “support work” for services and exchanges. This does mean all service providers will need to upgrade their software as soon as possible to avoid any issues down the line.
Any service currently still utilizing long payment IDs need to upgrade to integrated addresses or subaddresses. Both of these features are already accessible in the current Monero iteration. That should give services ample time to ensure they can serve the XMR community to the best of their abilities at all times. Users who struggle with this switch can always get support on IRC in the appropriate channel.
Other Minor Changes
It is evident the Monero team wants to focus on privacy with the upcoming 0.15 release. To do so, they will introduce two more changes that aim to facilitate this goal. First of all, all transactions will require a minimum of two outputs. A very interesting change, although one that also makes sense. More outputs will make the tracing of any transactions even more difficult than it has been to date.
Secondly, there will be a lock time for incoming transactions. For those who use Monero this lock time will equal to 10 blocks, or roughly 20 minutes. This change will be enforced at the protocol level and is not something users and services can opt out of. Another somewhat unusual development, but one which most users will certainly appreciate.