Dogecoin has officially switched to auxiliary proof-of-work (AuxPoW) mining.
The update now enables litecoin miners to process transactions, while providing an additional layer of security to the decentralized network.
The altcoin's switch to auxiliary proof-of-work, also known as merge mining, has been in the works for some time. The move was announced this August after months of serious and, at times, passionate debate within the dogecoin community. The merge mining concept was suggested in April by litecoin creator Charlie Lee.
Dogecoin creator Jackson Palmer told CoinDesk that AuxPoW was necessary as the gradual decline in price had removed some of the incentive for miners to mine dogecoin. Further, any resulting network hashrate drop could have created the conditions for potentially malicious transactions to be fraudulently committed and confirmed.
"One of the harsh realities of proof-of-work based cryptocurrencies is that their security is reliant on mining being profitable for those dedicating their hashing power to the network. By enabling AuxPoW, we're no longer competing for people's hashrates with other scrypt-based coins."
The hard fork that enables AuxPoW kicked in at block 371337.
Community celebrates fork
While some during the merge mining debate felt that other options were more viable, the community itself has largely come together in support of the AuxPoW initiative. For example, many in the dogecoin community turned the day leading up to the AuxPoW launch into a kind of celebration, hosting giveaways on both the altcoin's subreddit as well as its official IRC chatroom.
Reddit user GoodShibe, who writes a daily column entitled "Of Wolves and Weasels" on the dogecoin subreddit, said that the fork represents the work of many individuals, both inside and outside of the DOGE community.
GoodShibe told CoinDesk:
"This, of course, is all thanks to our incredible, hard-working dogecoin dev team and the gentle, and sometimes not-so-gentle, prodding of our litecoin friends - including litecoin creator Charlie Lee - who continued to try and win us over despite our Shibe pride (my own included)."
Subreddit moderator TheLobstrosity echoed what many others remarked upon, in that by solving the security question for the time being, dogecoin has more room to grow. The mod noted that it was broad support for the fork's purpose that made the changeover that much easier, adding that "shibes have embraced the change and optimistically await the results."
Peoplma, another subreddit moderator, told CoinDesk that the event is a great example of how communities can come together on certain issues despite the belief that coins are in open competition with one another, saying:
"I think this will be good for both the [dogecoin] and [litecoin] communities, and hopefully will foster some goodwill. Despite occasional inter-coin drama, hopefully we realize we are all part of the same larger crypto community."
Open road ahead
One question remains - Where does the nine month-old altcoin go from here?
Initiatives utilizing dogecoin continue to grow and develop today. An effort to raise money for flood relief in Kashmir has raised 1.7 million DOGE so far. The funds will be used to provide fresh water and medicine to affected areas. Grassroots donation drives like this are proof that dogecoin, despite its challenges, continues to be a vehicle for good causes.
GoodShibe suggested that, as always, it's up to the community to figure out what dogecoin does with what some have called its second wind. One of the ideal outcomes would be that the added security and merge-mining with litecoin actually encourages more mining and participation from those outside of dogecoin circles.
Adding that "it's an exciting time to be a shibe", GoodShibe explained:
"We have access now to a much larger potential pool of hash power to ensure our long-term survival, but we must continue to work on building our DOGEconomy and encouraging the slow, steady, stable growth of our coin in order win it. In short, the more our coin is worth, the more people who will be inspired to mine it."
Palmer suggested that some litecoin miners might find themselves becoming fans of the meme-themed cryptocurrency, joking: "I think we all know that litecoiners are going to convert to shibes pretty quickly."
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