Monero is a cryptocurrency released in April 2014 to address privacy concerns among cryptocurrency users. As a result of bitcoin’s public ledger allowing transactions to be tracked, Monero was created as an alternative with a different protocol with features to obfuscate its blockchain. Monero has since risen to become one of the most popular cryptocurrencies and among the largest in market capitalization, ranking consistently in the top 15 throughout 2017. Along with bitcoin, it is used in the darkmarket AlphaBay due to its anonymity.
Monero was originally named BitMonero, though it was quickly shortened to Monero, which means “coin” in Esperanto. It was the first fork of the cryptocurrency Bytecoin. Monero developers worked to improve faulty code that they had found in Bytecoin.
Monero is open-source and uses proof-of-work, and will issue a total of about 18 million coins by 2025, with inflation under one percent afterwards. Any Monero wallet can be restored by using a 25 word mnemonic seed on a system using Monero software. Monero works with Windows, Linux, Mac, and FreeBSD.
In January of 2017, Monero introduced ring confidential transactions, which were developed by bitcoin core developer Gregory Maxwell. Monero also added a privacy feature to prevent those not involved in a transaction from seeing their amounts. The cryptocurrency also uses stealth addresses that are randomly generated for recipients during each transaction, and the Monero sent to this address goes to another address associated with the recipient. Thus, information about transactions cannot be gleaned based on a published address. Monero developers are currently working to add an additional layer of privacy by masking the IP addresses of users.
Due to its focus on privacy, Monero has many potential uses, such as circumventing capital controls, promoting liberty, allowing individuals businesses to keep transactions confidential, and lowering transaction fees by users. Due to the confidentiality of Monero transactions, its users cannot be blacklisted by merchants or governments, thus establishing it as a truly fungible currency.
Monero is better able to scale than bitcoin core due to a lack of restriction on its block size, though too high of a block size triggers a block reward penalty.
Monero (symbol XMR) can be obtained on major exchanges such as Poloniex, Bittrex, Kraken, and Bitfinex. Users can also mine the cryptocurrency, and doing so does not require the expensive equipment that bitcoin currently does.
Due to the focus on privacy among developers and due to a strong community of loyal users, Monero will remain one of the leading cryptocurrencies of the future. A strong community will be key to ensuring the survival and widespread use of a cryptocurrency.