Monero (XMR) is an open-source cryptocurrency created in April 2014 that focuses on privacy, decentralisation and scalability. Unlike many cryptocurrencies that are derivatives of Bitcoin, Monero is based on the CryptoNote protocol and possesses significant algorithmic differences relating to blockchain obfuscation. Monero’s modular code architecture has been praised by Wladimir J. van der Laan, a Bitcoin Core maintainer. Monero experienced rapid growth in market capitalization (from US$5M to US$185M) and transaction volume during the year 2016, partly due to adoption by major darknet market AlphaBay at the end of summer 2016.As of April 2017, Monero was the 6th most traded cryptocurrency, with a market-cap of over $600,000,000.
Monero was launched on 18 April 2014 originally under the name BitMonero, which is a compound of Bit (as in Bitcoin) and Monero (literally meaning “coin” in Esperanto). Five days later the community opted for the name to be shortened just to Monero. It was launched as the first fork of CryptoNote-based currency Bytecoin, however was released with two major differences. Firstly, the target block time was decreased from 120 to 60 seconds, and secondly, the emission speed was decelerated by 50% (later Monero reverted to 120 seconds block time while keeping the emission schedule by doubling the block reward per new block). In addition, the Monero developers found numerous incidents of poor quality code that were subsequently cleaned and re-constituted.
A few weeks after launch, an optimized GPU miner for CryptoNight proof-of-work function was developed.
On 4 September 2014, Monero recovered from an unusual and novel attack executed against the cryptocurrency network.
On 10 January 2017, the privacy of Monero transactions strengthened further with the optional use of Bitcoin Core developer Gregory Maxwell’s algorithm Ring Confidential Transactions, starting at block #1220516. A ring signature algorithm introduced an additional layer of confidentiality by not displaying the amounts implicated in a transaction to someone who did not directly take part in it. RingCT transactions are enabled by default, but it is still possible to send a transaction without RingCT until the next hard fork in September 2017. By early February, over 95% of all non-coinbase transactions used the optional RingCT feature.
Monero is an open-source pure proof-of-work cryptocurrency. It runs on Windows, Mac, Linux and FreeBSD.
Its main emission curve will issue about 18.4 million coins to be mined in approximately 8 years. (more precisely 18.132 Million coins by ca. end of May 2022) After that, a constant “tail emission” of 0.6 XMR per 2-minutes block (modified from initially equivalent 0.3 XMR per 1-minute block) will create a sub-1% perpetual inflation (more precisely [see ref. above] starting with 0.87% yearly inflation around May 2022) to prevent the lack of incentives for miners once a currency is not mineable anymore. The emission uses a smoothly decreasing reward with no block halving (any block generates a bit less monero than the previous one, formula: Emission per 2-minutes block = max(0.6, floor((M − A)×2−19)×10−12) XMR, with M = 264 − 1 and A = 1012 times the amount of XMR already emitted). The smallest resolvable currency unit is 10−12 XMR. The proof-of-work algorithm, CryptoNight, is AES-intensive and “memory heavy”, which significantly reduces the advantage of GPU over CPU.