What is it?
Established in 2014, Monero (XMR) is a cryptocurrency that is used to purchase goods and services online and to transfer funds digitally. As with other cryptocurrencies, Monero is stored in a wallet.
This wallet is an online address which Monero is sent to and from, therefore there is no need to entrust your funds with a third party, as each user has his or her own wallet.
A buyer can purchase Monero via an exchange using fiat money such as USD or using another cryptocurrency like Bitcoin.
What is the Advantage of Using Monero?
The system used for transactions is similar to other cryptocurrencies. A decentralised ledger has blocks added to it with every transaction. However, the advantage of Monero is that it allows users to undertake private transactions, should they wish.
A ring signature is used to hide the sender’s address by combining several users’ signatures, therefore making a user unable to determine from the ring signature the user who sent the Monero. To hide the transaction amount, a ring conditional transaction (Ring CT) is used. In addition, stealth addresses hide the receiver’s address by creating a one-time address by the sender on the receivers’ behalf.
Should a user wish, they can send a view key to other users to allow them to see their wallet and the incoming transactions to the account. The anonymous nature means Monero transactions are more secure than blockchain.
All coins are fungible as the previous use of coins is untraceable. Typically, if a coin could be traced and it was found to be used in crime, it would likely be devalued.
In addition, there is no risk of trades being blocked at the exchange as the use, value, sender and receiver of the transaction are unknown.
Further advantages are that there is no limit to the transaction size and no risk from capital controls unlike fiat money.
In August 2016, the market capitalisation and trade volume increased as dark web market; AlphaBay started using it for payment. This raised the price of Monero, and recent increases in prices have followed the market trend of increased demand for crypto-coins (as seen in the graphs below of Monero, Bitcoin and Ethereum) as more individuals are becoming comfortable with the technology. The graphs below show its performance against the USD.
As of July 2017, its market cap is now the 9th largest of the cryptocurrencies, according to Coinmarketcap.com, at a value of between $650m and $700m.
However, the coin has a way to go to match the market capitalisation of Bitcoin, which is worth 60 times that of Monero, but with the secrecy available to the user, further increases in demand could cause the value of Monero to climb further.
The low value compared to bitcoin and the relative newness of the coin, combined with increasing media presence presents a large upside. Those who are thinking about investing may be inclined to give Monero a closer look.
What is the Future?
The community that works on Monero is continually developing the currency and chain. Due to the secrecy Monero brings and its use on the Dark Web, a large security risk is presented; contraband supply can be hidden, as well as fraud and other crime.
Therefore, it is only inevitable that soon regulators and governments will put strong restrictions in place to protect users and to regulate its use.