Coin Story: Monero
Shhhh…I’m shy and very very private…Let’s hide together and keep quiet…Nobody can follow us…It’s fun, isn’t it?…Can you see Bitcoin and Ether? …there, in the corner…But no one can see us… What’s your name?… I’m Monero… It means ‘coin’ in Esperanto.
Monero (XMR) is an altcoin which was launched in 2014 as a fork (i.e., a software upgrade) of Bytecoin. Monero is a secure, private and decentralised cryptocurrency. It is untraceable, as it uses complex cryptographic technology (ring signatures originating in MIT research in the early 2000s and ring confidential transactions) to obfuscate the amounts, origins and destinations of all transactions. If a Bitcoin address is shared publicly, anyone can view the balance and all other bitcoin addresses that have been transacted with. Individuals and companies may not necessarily want this feature if they value financial privacy, which has become a serious problem after several credit card security breaches. This is where Monero comes in. Monero offers strong privacy features by default as well as optional transparency, allowing its users to selectively disclose transactional history to selected parties. Wealthy individuals who are often targets of cybercriminals and individuals who do not want unsolicited ads from digital marketers may also appreciate Monero’s features.
To match the secrecy of the coin, the core Monero team has several pseudonymous contributors. Monero regularly undergoes upgrades adding new features and security enhancements. Other blockchains (e.g., ZCash and Dash) have implemented privacy solutions, but Monero has the most momentum of all the live privacy projects. One of the most interesting aspects of Monero is that the project gained traction without a crowd pre-sale launch, without venture capital funding and without a pre-mine. Monero has fully committed to decentralisation: it is not run by any large group, and an accessible proof-of-work algorithm makes it easy to mine Monero on normal computers, preventing a concentration of mining power. A block is mined every two minutes, offering miners a “permanent block reward.”
Monero is traded on most exchanges. Because of its wider acceptance and visibility, it is less volatile than other privacy coins. Some industry observers believe that, even though the coin has undergone tremendous growth (it was the fastest growing currency in 2016), it is undervalued and is one of the altcoins that has the potential of ‘making it big’ because of its differentiated privacy features. As more people become aware of their lack of privacy online, Monero could become particularly attractive.
References and further reading:
Xie, L. (2017) A beginner’s guide to Monero https://firstname.lastname@example.org/a-beginners-guide-to-monero-7a5df2c50ed9
Tomaino, N. (2017) Meet the best performing digital currency of 2016: Monero https://thecontrol.co/meet-the-best-performing-digital-currency-of-2016-monero-e6010768e54a