Monero

Monero symbol
Monero (XMR) is an open-source cryptocurrency created in April 2014 that focuses on privacy and decentralization that runs on Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS, and FreeBSD. Monero uses a public ledger to record transactions while new units are created through a process called mining. Monero aims to improve on existing cryptocurrency design by obscuring sender, recipient and amount of every transaction made as well as making the mining process more egalitarian.

The focus on privacy has attracted illicit use by people interested in evading law enforcement. The egalitarian mining process made it viable to distribute the mining effort opening new funding avenues for both legitimate online publishers and malicious hackers who covertly embed mining code into websites and apps.

History

The underlying CryptoNote protocol that Monero is based on was originally launched by pseudonymous author Nicolas van Saberhagen in October 2013.
Monero was originally launched by a Bitcointalk forum user only known as "thankful_for_today" under the name BitMonero which is a compound of Bit (as in Bitcoin) and Monero (literally meaning "coin" in Esperanto). Five days later, the currency's supporters opted for the name to be shortened to Monero.
In September 2014, Monero was attacked when an unknown party exploited a flaw in CryptoNote that permitted the creation of two subchains that refused to recognize the validity of transactions on each other. CryptoNote later released a patch for the flaw, which Monero implemented.
Monero experienced rapid growth in market capitalization and transaction volume during the year 2016, partly due to adoption in 2016 by major darknet market AlphaBay, which was closed in July 2017 by law enforcement.
On January 10, 2017, the privacy of Monero transactions were further strengthened by the adoption of Bitcoin Core developer Gregory Maxwell's algorithm Confidential Transactions, hiding the amounts being transacted, in combination with an improved version of Ring Signatures.

Architecture

Unlike many cryptocurrencies that are derivatives of Bitcoin, Monero is based on the CryptoNight proof-of-work hash algorithm, which comes from the CryptoNote protocol. It possesses significant algorithmic differences relating to blockchain obfuscation.By providing a high level of privacy, Monero is fungible, meaning that every unit of the currency can be substituted by another unit. This makes Monero different from public-ledger cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, where addresses with coins previously associated with undesired activity can be blacklisted and have their coins refused by other users.

In particular, the ring signatures mix the spender's input with a group of others, making it exponentially more difficult to establish a link between each subsequent transaction.Also, the "stealth addresses" generated for each transaction make it impossible to discover the actual destination address of a transaction by anyone else other than the sender and the receiver. Finally, the "ring confidential transactions" mechanism hides the transferred amount.

Monero is designed to be resistant to application-specific integrated circuit mining, which is commonly used to mine other cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. It can be mined somewhat efficiently on consumer grade hardware such as x86, x86-64, ARM and GPUs.