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What is Monero? The ultimate guide to XMR
If you’re looking for a secure, anonymous, and untraceable currency, you should consider whether Monero has you covered.
Monero (XMR) appears to have become synonymous with anonymity and secure transactions. While many people believe that bitcoin is already anonymous, this is definitely not the case as we’ll see in this guide. The anonymous nature of bitcoin is very much up for debate and Monero is the natural outcome of that debate.
What is Monero?
|Icon||Symbol||Initial release date||Algorithm type||Max. supply|
|XMR||April 2014||CryptoNight||18.4 million XMR|
Rising from a need identified by developers to make a more secure, anonymous and untraceable cryptocurrency, Monero was released in April 2014. It presents itself as standing for three core values:
- Security. Without trust, no cryptocurrency can survive and none of them are more reliant on that trust than Monero, whose users not only trust it with their money but also with keeping their transactions anonymous.
- Privacy. Monero claims that they need to be able to protect their users’ anonymity, even in a court of law – including, as their website states “in extreme cases, from the death penalty”.
- Decentralisation. Monero isn’t run by anyone. It’s unlike some other coins where there’s a central agency that runs the network, or blockchain. In the case of Monero, not only does this central, controlling agency or business not exist, but the development decisions and the developer meeting logs are published and available online for anyone to see.
How is Monero different from bitcoin?
Monero focuses on anonymity, and this is where it diverges significantly from bitcoin. Many believe that bitcoin already is anonymous, but that’s just a very common misconception, as we’ll see.
The problem with public transactions
Bitcoin is built over what is known as the public ledger, or blockchain. This was done so that users of bitcoin can verify other people’s transactions, especially in cases where these payments need to be transparent (eg, government spending and not-for-profit organisations (NPOs).
The issue is that once you share your bitcoin address, all past and future transactions and how much money you’re sending/receiving will always be linked with you. Buyers may not always find this desirable. It’s not only an issue of revealing that users may be purchasing or paying for illegal services/products. You just might not want your employer to know that you sent money to WikiLeaks, or maybe you don’t want to have freelance clients know how much you’re charging other clients.
Bitcoin did come up with somewhat of a temporary solution or a user guideline, so to speak. The idea is that whenever you’re requesting money from someone you should always provide them with a temporary wallet address. This address is related to your actual wallet but would be a one-time-use address and then will be destroyed, making it harder to trace your wallet’s main address back to you. This solves the problem for one-off payments, but organisations and businesses who want a public address visible on their website, for example, would still have all their transactions traceable back to them.
Monero presents a solution to this problem by using what is known as Ring Signatures and Stealth Addresses.
Monero mixes addresses for a user’s transactions with another user’s addresses making the path between sender and receiver virtually untraceable. Analysis of the Monero blockchain would reveal nothing more than a cryptographic hash of the transaction.
Similar to the explanation of bitcoin’s suggested solution, Monero hides addresses behind one-time-use ones, which are then destroyed so that the transaction cannot be traced back to a public address.
Today’s Monero price
Where can I use Monero?
Many of the merchants that currently accept bitcoin and the other more common cryptocurrencies already accept Monero.
How do I buy Monero?
Here’s a list of exchanges for you to consider:
Frequently asked questions
Image sources: Shutterstock, CoinMarketCap
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