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Interview with Mike: ChangeNOW Was_Almost the Only Platform to Support

Interview with Mike: ChangeNOW Was_Almost the Only Platform to Support

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The popular privacy coin Monero (XMR) successfully implemented an uncontested hard fork on August 13 with a block height of 2,688,888, further strengthening its security and privacy capabilities. This update introduced the Bulletproofs+ algorithm, which reduces typical transaction sizes by 5-7% and improves verification performance by 5-7%. Additionally, a total of 16 signatories are now required to approve ring signatures, down from 11. Wallet sync time has also been sped up by 30-40% thanks to watch tags. Several other updates were also made.

The event could potentially cause XMR prices to rise, prompting many users to go to crypto exchanges to buy cryptocurrencies. However, XMR withdrawals and deposits were not available on many platforms before and after the hardpoint, while trading remained unchanged.

Still, the crypto community is still reeling from recent painful experiences like Celsius where users were unable to withdraw their digital assets, so this time they are looking for XMR withdrawal options.

Binance, Huobi, CoinEx, OKX, Changelly were popular crypto platforms that suspended both XMR withdrawals and deposits.

Meanwhile, non-custodial cryptocurrency exchange ChangeNOW was one of the few that does not restrict XMR transactions in any way.

To find out how ChangeNOW was able to continue to offer XMR exchanges that would lead to XMR withdrawals with regular CEX, which was not available at the time, we reached out to ChangeNOW’s PR Manager, Mike Ermolaev.

Bitcoinist: Mike, thanks for taking the time to answer our questions. To get the ball rolling, please explain what ChangeNOW is and how it differs from a centralized crypto exchange for those who are new.

Mike: It is my pleasure. Okay, ChangeNOW is a non-custodial platform that differs from a centralized exchange in this respect. First, we don’t have access to users’ private keys. You may have heard the saying, “Not your keys, not your coins.” So we don’t store your coins. With us, you get the money directly into your wallet after the exchange. In other words, our basic mission is to help you get the digital resources you need. It’s that simple. Additionally, in addition to operations on over 500 assets, we offer a full ecosystem of crypto-themed products and services, such as the NOW Wallet, a versatile, non-custodial repository that is widely used.

Bitcoinist: Good to know. Let’s jump straight to the point. Despite Monero’s successful hard fork, most exchanges stopped allowing XMR withdrawals and deposits before and after the hard fork. Why was this?

Mike: Apparently they had to handle all the technical upgrades on their side while avoiding a liquidity crisis. The Monero network was working flawlessly right after the hardfork, so that was probably a safe moment for gaming.

Bitcoinist: I understand, but ChangeNOW continued to offer XMR exchanges, which would be the equivalent of a CEX cancellation. How did you make it happen?

Mike: We didn’t disable XMR because we knew our Users needed it, so we wanted to provide a seamless experience. To be honest, it was not an easy journey as we had to balance liquidity from reserve exchanges and relied on our own liquidity pool to keep things going. Our partner Cake Wallet also helped us with its liquidity.

So basically we collected liquidity from all corners of the pools, in and out of the doors of different service providers one at a time – a true spirit of adventure. It’s good that there are so many of these doors, because they are certainly useful for our users.

Bitcoinist: Is it true that the XMR exchange was not closed on ChangeNOW at all during the Monero hardpoint?

Mike: We only stopped them for four hours on the hard fork itself on August 13th to make sure we were on the right side of the fork after the update and that payments and deposits were handled correctly.

In addition to that, we provided unlimited XMR functionality to our users all this time. That’s always the case with forks – they have a big impact on the coin’s price (see the Ethereum chart before the upcoming merger), and people want to profit from it by buying, selling or trading the coin depending on its price change.

Bitcoinist: Have you dealt with similar cases before?

Mike: This situation somehow reminds me of ChangeNOW’s experience with Dogecoin in early 2021, when it went into an upward spiral after a lot of hype. Although other exchanges decommissioned it, we continued to process it at favorable prices for users, albeit at a great loss to us. We have since learned our lessons and evolved significantly, including adding liquidity providers and the ability to handle periods of market volatility. So this XMR situation was definitely something we were prepared for.

Bitcoinist: What could hypothetically go wrong during a hard fork besides breaking away from the real blockchain?

Mike: Hard forks are fundamental blockchain updates that are not backwards compatible. It’s not as simple as a straight line. The previous rules and structures of cryptocurrency expire. All previously mined users, nodes and blocks must be updated to be compatible with the new version. It is possible that there will be problems with the network’s consensus mechanism, such as during the Berlin Ethereum upgrade, which took 12% of the network’s nodes offline shortly after the upgrade.

Bitcoinist: It is very interesting! Mike, thanks for your insightful explanations and good luck with ChangeNOW.

Mike: You’re welcome! Thank you!

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