A common misconception is that Bitcoin is a private, untraceable digital currency. Where this mentality came from is unclear, but the reality is Bitcoin is as transparent as a currency could be. If your identity can be associated with your public key, all of your transactions and your current balance can be traced using the Bitcoin blockchain. While this is revolutionary, some transactions may require anonymity. Enter Monero.
Monero (XMR) is digital currency that cannot be traced, and hides transactions and balances of addresses. As of 14/12/2017, it’s the eighth largest cryptocurrency by market cap, with a value of $5,120,195,757 USD ($330.86 per XMR) and 15,475,415 XMR in circulation; it has risen ~1833.33% since the Jan 2017. The future looks promising for coins focusing on privacy, as regulation and control looms over the Wild West of crypto. Monero is arguably the best privacy coin.
Disclaimer: This is a high level overview of Monero and is intended for beginners in cryptocurrency. It will not be a financial analysis as an investment, nor a critique of the technology used. For those familiar with Monero: the CryptoNote whitepaper, Greg Maxwell on Confidential Transactions and these various links may be of more interest.
Monero is private, digital money; every transaction is always private. All development is open-source and funded through community donations. The origins of Monero can be traced to 2014, when user ““thankful_for_today” promoted it on BitcoinTalk as BitMonero, which was quickly shortened to Monero (translates to “coin” in Esperanto).
Monero is known as being completely “fungible”: Every Monero remains equal and identical to any other Monero (u/cryptonaire-). If an asset is fungible, it means that regardless of transactions that happen in the past, or will happen in the future, all units are capable of mutual substitution.
How does this compare to other cryptocurrencies? The Monero subreddit has created this helpful chart:
Financial privacy is a goal of many, and the rise of semi-private to private cryptocurrencies show that many people are willing to put their money where there mouth is (wherever that may be). It’s been linked to the Cypherpunkmovement, but the reality is people want privacy from banks, family, goverment etc. Regardless of whether this privacy is beneficial or detrimental to society, private cryptocurrencies will almost certainly increase in use and value as the uptake of crypto into society takes hold.
Future of Monero
Monero has a clear road map on their website, showing exciting and consistent progress of Monero into the future. Further, the community of ~270 contributors to the Monero project will only grow as it, and crypto, become more widespread. Finally, Monero is host to the Monero Research Lab (MRL), whose ongoing research will no doubt improve the project further in the future (see Kovri).
To follow the project, here are some resources:
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