Microsoft has acquired GitHub, the code repository and open-source hub for developers in a $7.5 billion deal. However, this has had different reactions in the cryptocurrency world as many coders are worried as this may pose problems for privacy-oriented cryptocurrencies like Monero, which use GitHub as a platform.
By this acquisition, Microsoft is taking on much responsibility for GitHub’s activities. Since its launch, the San Francisco-based firm has allowed developers to contribute and discover new code and is the go-to for coders across the globe. Statistics show that over 28 million developers from around the world use GitHub as a repository.
Microsoft’s CEO, Satya Nadella, assured coders that with the acquisition of GitHub, Microsoft would like GitHub to continue running as it has before the acquisition. It plans to allow developers to collaborate on and deploy their code to the cloud.
GitHub, according to Microsoft, will remain independent although many are not convinced so. This lack of trust has led to a sharp increase in demand for GitLab, GitHub’s biggest competitor.
Monero (XMR) is looking to suffer the most from the acquisition as it is a cryptocurrency that is designed to be anonymous. Its users do not have to trust third-parties to keep their funds safe. Monero is different from some leading cryptocurrencies since its blockchain obscures all receiving and sending addresses, and transaction amounts which provide additional privacy to its users making it almost impossible to link the Monero blockchain to a particular user or make a real-world identity match. In addition, the coin is mineable at home without the need for specialized mining rigs making it increasingly popular.
There have been many talks of whether Monero should leave or stay at GitHub with the Microsoft acquisition. However, this remains to be seen as many speculate that it will all depend on how Microsoft plans on handling its acquisition and if the developer’s think of it as wise.
In the meantime, for Monero, it is business as usual, it has finally integrated full Ledger support in a new release of its software whose purpose is to tackle blockchain inefficiencies. The main reason for this was the April 6th network update, which also saw the increase of the minimum ring signature size, it sorted inputs so as not to leak wallet choice by inference, and slightly altered the proof-of-work algorithm to prevent DoS attacks by ASICs.
Monero also increased its minimum ring size to 7, making transactions more anonymous than before and allowing for multi-signature wallets. For now, the concern of privacy oriented cryptos over Microsoft’s management of GitHub remains theoretical. In the past, GitHub has published a transparency report that showed how many times they took down repositories, and why.
With Microsoft coming into the picture, could this report change to reflect Microsoft’s values? Could Microsoft, a centralized company, turn a blind eye to the crypto wild west? The cryptocurrency community needs to debate and strategize how to handle the entry of centralization in a decentralized economy.
For the acquisition to run smoothly, it would be advisable for Microsoft to keep GitHub as an independent organization. Also giving a detailed press release to reassure developers that their data is safe.