What is Monero (XMR)?
Monero (XMR) was among the first cryptocurrencies to feature cryptography that offered real advances in privacy and fungibility over available alternatives.
Its key differentiator was its ability to allow users to send and receive transactions without making this data available to anyone examining its blockchain.
As such, Monero is often classed with other privacy cryptocurrencies such as Zcash (ZEC) that have sought to address privacy weaknesses in Bitcoin (BTC). (On Bitcoin, transactions reveal the amount exchanged as well as data about the sender and receiver by default.)
This, in turn, enables bitcoins to be traced, making them less fungible, as companies are able to identify and blacklist coins involved in suspected criminal enterprise, as an example.
However, while projects like Zcash enjoyed media fanfare and backing from venture capitalists, Monero’s origins are more comparable to Bitcoin’s, involving a small online tech community that grew quietly over time as the project gained credibility and market share.
But Monero has also differentiated in other areas apart from just privacy.
For example, Monero’s software is programmed to update every six months, a regular schedule that has helped it more aggressively add new features without much controversy.
This has meant that Monero has been able to continue to introduce cryptographic advances like stealth addresses (which allow users to create one-time addresses) and ring confidential transactions (which hide transaction amounts).
Given its willingness to pioneer such advances, Monero continues to attract interest from cryptographers and researchers looking to push the limits of what’s possible in cryptocurrency.