Monero (XMR) has survived an eternity by crypto coin standards - turning four today, with a price of above $200. Back in 2014, XMR was off to a rough start as a fork of Bytecoin, and for years drifted with a relatively low price before joining the altcoin boom in 2016 and 2017.

On its fourth birthday, XMR traded at $225.41, up more than 13% in a single day, a not unusual feat for the coin, as the markets are on the mend. XMR has always kept relatively high levels against BTC, and is one of the coins that has established itself as an alternative to the leading digital asset, due to its longer history and anonymous features.

But now, the Monero blockchain is once again mined by a collection of voluntary GPUs, or the occasional CoinHive script. Without the ASIC additions, the hashrate has fallen by 80% and stays consistently lower at 500 MH/S.

Because building an ASIC is expensive, and having a reasonable hashrate is always a good sign for a network, several projects decided to keep mining on the blockchain without an update, using the original Monero protocol, and adding a name change. Hence, immediately after Monero updated its code to disable ASIC mining, there appeared Monero Classic, eMonero, and the upcoming MoneroV hard fork is also supposed to be open to ASIC miners. The forks remain niche projects, and the coming months will show if the presence of ASIC mining benefits them. The forks are still unlisted by CoinMarketCap.

In the past months, the Monero team discussed only in theory the threat of ASIC, but quickly fulfilled its promises to change the protocol. This led to a discussion on whether ASIC resistance hurts or helps a coin, with so far no clear preference for either side of the debate. Ethereum (ETH), for now, has decided against an ASIC-disabling hard fork.

After four years, Monero’s uniqueness as a confidentiality project has somewhat waned, as there are many coins forked from the same protocol, with anonymous features. At the moment, Verge (XVG) is a prominent one, and projects like Bitcoin Private (BTCP) aim for the same privacy niche, with varying success.