What is Monero (XMR)?


Monero is an open-source cryptocurrency that was created in April 2014. It is focused on privacy and anonymity, and it uses a variety of techniques to ensure that transactions cannot be traced back to specific individuals.

Key Takeaways

  • Monero is a decentralized cryptocurrency that is designed to be private, secure, and untraceable. It uses advanced cryptography and a proof-of-work consensus algorithm to protect the privacy of its users and to secure its network.
  • Monero uses a proof-of-work (PoW) consensus algorithm to secure its network and validate transactions with the network’s token – XMR.
  • Monero (XMR) transactions are untraceable in the blockchain, and the addresses remain anonymous.
  • The main benefit of Monero is its focus on privacy and anonymity. While other cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, can be traced through the blockchain, Monero is designed to be untraceable. This makes it a popular choice for users who value privacy and want to keep their financial transactions private.

How does Monero work?

Monero is a decentralized cryptocurrency that is designed to provide privacy and anonymity for its users. To achieve this, Monero uses two key concepts: stealth addresses and ring signatures.

Stealth Addresses

Stealth addresses allow a sender to generate a one-time public address on behalf of the recipient for each transaction. However, the recipient can still use a single public address to receive all of their payments, similar to how Bitcoin works. Each Monero user has a private view key and a private spend key.

The private view key allows them to see all of the transactions associated with their account, while the private spend key is used to authorize payments, similar to a Bitcoin private key.

Ring Signatures

Ring signatures are a concept from cryptography that refer to a digital signature that can be signed by any member of a specific group of people with private keys. When a Monero transaction is made, the Monero wallet forms a ring of other users’ keys from the blockchain. It is impossible for an observer to determine which key was used to sign the transaction, making it anonymous.

In addition to these technologies, Monero also uses the Invisible Internet Project (I2P) and Dandelion++ to conceal the sender, recipient, and amount of a transaction on its blockchain.


Another encryption technology is later introduced to the network called RingCT, or Ring Confidential Transactions, encrypts the amount of a transaction so that only the sender and recipient know the amount.

Before the introduction of Ring Confidential Transactions (RingCT), Monero required transactions to be divided into denominations for the purpose of ring signatures. For example, if a user wanted to initiate a transaction of 12.5 Monero, it would be divided into three separate ring denominations of 2, 0.5, and 10. This ensured that there was always a sufficient number of ring members on the network, since ring signatures can only be created with outputs of the same value.

However, this technique had the drawback of allowing outsiders to see the amounts being transacted. RingCT was implemented to address this issue and allow users to hide the value of their transactions.

Proof of Work

Monero uses the proof-of-work consensus mechanism to process transactions. Like Bitcoin, it relies on mining to validate blocks of transactions and award rewards. However, Monero’s proof-of-work algorithm is resistant to specialized mining hardware called ASICs, which require a lot of energy to use. Instead, Monero miners can use consumer-grade hardware such as CPUs and GPUs, which require less energy. This makes Monero’s mining process more energy-efficient compared to Bitcoin’s.

How to Mine Monero

Monero uses proof-of-work mining, an algorithm that provides security for cryptocurrencies and prevents issues like double-spending.

The Monero network can be run on a variety of operating systems, including Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and FreeBSD. It supports a mining process in which individuals can earn rewards for their participation by joining mining pools or mining coins individually.

Monero mining does not require specialized hardware such as application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs), which are commonly used to mine cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin but are expensive. Instead, you can use the CPU or GPU of your own computer to mine Monero.

A list of compatible hardware can be found on the Monero website, and certain software can be installed for a developer fee.

Monero’s Problem

Monero’s focus on privacy has contributed to its rapid adoption, but it also presents certain challenges. One concern is that the anonymity features of Monero are attractive to individuals or organizations engaging in illegal or questionable activities, such as drug trafficking or gambling. In the past, certain dark web markets, including AlphaBay and Oasis, were known to accept Monero as a payment method.

There have also been reports of hackers using malicious software to infect computers and mine Monero, which was then sent to North Korea. These incidents highlight the potential for Monero to be used for illicit transactions and to evade law enforcement, as transactions involving the cryptocurrency are not easily traceable and are not subject to centralized control.

Monero Development

Monero was created in April 2014. The development of Monero was led by a group of seven individuals, who went by the pseudonyms “thankful_for_today”, “smooth”, “psychocrypt”, “eizh”, “tacotime”, “NoodleDoodle”, and “binaryFate”. The identity of the Monero core team is not publicly known to this day.

Monero was created as a fork of the Bytecoin cryptocurrency, with the goal of adding privacy and anonymity features that were not present in the original Bytecoin code.

Since its inception, Monero has undergone several major updates and improvements to its technology and features. Here is a brief overview of the development of Monero:

  • 2014: Monero was launched as a fork of Bytecoin and quickly gained a following due to its focus on privacy and anonymity. It used the CryptoNote protocol and a proof-of-work (PoW) consensus algorithm to secure its network.
  • 2015: Monero implemented a feature called “ring signatures,” which allowed users to sign a message without revealing their identity. It also introduced “stealth addresses,” which allowed users to create one-time use addresses for each transaction to further obscure the identity of the sender and recipient.
  • 2016: Monero implemented “Ring Confidential Transactions” (RingCT), which allowed users to hide the value of their transactions. This was a major milestone for Monero, as it allowed it to provide privacy for all transactions on its network.
  • 2017: Monero implemented an upgrade called “Bulletproofs,” which improved the efficiency of its transactions and reduced their size on the blockchain. It also released a version of Monero called “MoneroV,” which was a hard fork of the Monero blockchain.
  • 2018: Monero implemented “Kovri,” a technology that allows users to conceal their IP addresses and further protect their privacy. It also released a new version of Monero called “Monero 0.13,” which included several updates and improvements to the Monero protocol.
  • 2020: Monero released “Monero 0.15,” which included a major update called “Oxygen Orion.” This update introduced a number of improvements to Monero, including increased scalability, faster transaction speeds, and lower fees. It also introduced a new proof-of-work algorithm called “RandomX,” which was designed to be resistant to specialized mining hardware.

Monero Research Lab

Monero Research Lab (MRL) is a research group focused on financial privacy. MRL was founded in 2014 by researchers who were interested in exploring the technical aspects of Monero and its underlying cryptographic protocols. MRL conducts research on a variety of topics related to Monero, including privacy, scalability, and distributed systems.

The group is made up of a diverse team of researchers, including academic researchers, industry professionals, and open-source contributors. MRL publishes its research findings in technical papers, blog posts, and other forms of documentation, and it also hosts conferences and workshops to share its research with the broader community.

MRL is an independent organization that is not affiliated with the Monero project, but its research is widely respected and often used to inform the development of the Monero software.

The Monero community is organized in various platforms of communication. Monero community members can meet, chat and work in various IRC channels that can be accessed via Taiga boards, Matrix servers, and the Webplate platform.

Monero FAQ

What makes Monero (XMR) unique?

Monero and Bitcoin may have some similarities, such as their open-source code base and anonymous developers, but they differ in the way they handle updates. While Bitcoin tends to be cautious when it comes to forks and may take a long time to implement even minor upgrades, Monero’s software is programmed to update automatically every six months.

In 2018, Monero became the first major cryptocurrency to implement “bulletproofs,” a technology that significantly improved the efficiency of XMR transactions, resulting in an average transaction size reduction of 80% and lower fees for users.

Monero is widely regarded as the most well-known privacy coin and has the highest market capitalization among privacy coins. It also offers privacy by default, unlike some alternatives such as Zcash, where privacy must be manually enabled.

Who created Monero?

The development of Monero was led by a group of seven individuals, who went by the pseudonyms “thankful_for_today”, “smooth”, “psychocrypt”, “eizh”, “tacotime”, “NoodleDoodle”, and “binaryFate”. The identity of these individuals is not publicly known.

Is Monero (XMR) Illegal?

Contrary to some misconceptions, Monero (XMR) is a legitimate cryptocurrency that was designed to prioritize privacy and anonymity. While this feature may make it attractive for use on the darknet and in certain illegal or questionable activities, it is important to note that Monero is not an illegal cryptocurrency. Instead, it is a tool that can be used for a wide range of purposes, including legal transactions and exchanges.

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