- Monero is a decentralized and privacy-oriented cryptocurrency built around the principle of protecting the user’s anonymity. This coin is used for making confidential and almost untraceable transactions.
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The Monero cryptocurrency (XMR) was designed with one mission statement in mind: making it possible for each user to control the level of visibility of their personal data online. Its story started in 2012 with the launch of Bytecoin as the implementation of the CryptoNote protocol. Monero itself was launched in July 2014 after Bytecoin’s failure. Its designers David Latapie and Riccardo Spagni named it after the Esperanto, a constructed auxiliary language, word for “money.”
In addition to the CryptoNote protocol, Monero’s designers added ring signature and stealth address technologies to Monero to enable more secure and almost untraceable transactions. Both the users behind the transactions and the amounts in it are supposed to stay hidden from third parties. This is made possible due to CryptoNote’s increased flexibility with scalability and management of block sizes, meaning that transactions with Monero’s require more data and cryptographic inputs. As a result, its users can enjoy the benefits of selective transparency, meaning that some transactions may be made visible and others untraceable. This raised some concerns that Monero will become popular among criminals.
Monero was supposed to correct Bitcoin’s “pseudonymity” that was often mistaken for true anonymity. The same goes for Monero’s quality of fungibility, meaning that its coins are interchangeable and resistant to being tainted by being involved in hacking or theft, for example. In addition, Monero team developed Kovri as a decentralized anonymous layer built around I2P’s (The Invisible Internet Project) architecture which resembles TOR, free software for enabling anonymous communication, in its function. All of this makes Monero one of the best-known privacy coins currently in the market.
You can find a list of Monero merchants here.
The amount of Monero coins in supply is not capped. Initially, 18.4 million XMR will be released, with the fixed production of 0.3 XMR per minute planned to go indefinitely. The coin’s market capitalization in November 2018 stands at USD 1.7 billion, down from USD 6.8 billion it reached in early 2018.
Monero coins are generated by mining, with its CryptoNight algorithm designed for fostering decentralized mining. The mining is done mostly with GPUs, with CPUs being a much less efficient option. In order to combat ASIC-based mining, Monero has forked into several coins in addition to the initial one: Monero 0 (ZMR), Monero Classic (XMC), Monero Original (XMO), MoneroV (XMV).