One of the primary mandates of blockchain technology is to provide users with unwavering privacy. Bitcoin as the first ever decentralized cryptocurrency relied on this premise to market itself to a wider audience that then needed a virtual currency that was free from government interference.
Unfortunately, along the way, Bitcoin has been riddled with several weaknesses, including a lack of scalability and a volatile blockchain. All transactions and addresses are recorded on the blockchain, making it easy for anyone to connect the dots and reveal users’ personal data based on their existing records. Some government and non-government agencies are already using blockchain analytics to read data into the Bitcoin platform.
Such shortcomings have led to developers looking for alternative blockchain technologies with improved security and speed. One of these projects is Monero, commonly represented by the XMR ticker.
What is Monero?
Monero is a privacy-oriented cryptocurrency project whose main goal is to provide better privacy compared to other blockchain ecosystems. This technology protects users’ information through hidden addresses and Ring signatures.
A stealth address refers to creating a single address for a solo transaction. No two addresses can be attached to one transaction. The resulting coins go to a completely different address, making the whole process unclear to an outside observer.
Ring signature, on the other hand, refers to mixing account keys with public keys, thus creating a “ring” of multiple signers. This means that a monitoring agent cannot associate a signature with a specific account. Unlike cryptography (a mathematical method for securing crypto projects), ring signature is not a new kid on the block. Its principles were researched and recorded in a 2001 report by the Weizmann Institute and MIT.
Cryptography has certainly won the hearts of many blockchain developers and fans, but the truth is that it is still a nascent tool with a handful of applications. Since Monero uses Ring’s already tested signature technology, it stands out as a legitimate project worth adopting.
Things you need to know before you start trading Monero
The Monero Market
The Monero market is similar to that of other cryptocurrencies. If you want to buy it then Kraken, Poloniex and Bitfinex are some of the exchanges you should visit. Poloniex was the first to adopt it, followed by Bitfinex and finally Kraken.
This virtual currency most often seems to be pegged to the dollar or against other cryptocurrencies. Some of the available pairs include XMR/USD, XMR/BTC, XMR/EUR, XMR/XBT and many more. The trading volume and liquidity of this currency record very good statistics.
One of the good things about XMR is that anyone can participate in mining either as an individual or by joining a mining pool. Any computer with significantly good processing power can mine Monero blocks with a few hiccups. Don’t bother choosing ASICS (Application Specific Integrated Circuits) which are currently mandatory for Bitcoin mining.
While it’s a great cryptocurrency network, it’s not that special when it comes to volatility. Virtually all altcoins are extremely volatile. This should not worry any keen trader as this factor is what makes them profitable in the first place – you buy when prices are falling and sell when they are in an uptrend.
In January 2015, XMR was trading at $0.25, then rose to $60 in May 2017 and is currently hovering above the $300 mark. Monero coin recorded its ATH (all-time high) of $475 on January 7, before starting to fall along with other cryptocurrencies to $300. At the time of writing, virtually all decentralized currencies are in a price correction phase, with Bitcoin hovering between $10-11k from its glorious ATH of $19,000.
Substitutability and adoption
Due to its ability to offer reliable privacy, XMR has been adopted by many people who make their coins easily exchangeable for other currencies. In simple words, Monero can easily be exchanged for something else.
All bitcoins on the bitcoin blockchain are recorded, and therefore when an incident such as a theft occurs, every coin involved will be decommissioned, making them irreplaceable. With monero, you cannot tell one coin from another. Therefore, no seller can reject any of them because it is related to a bad incident.
Currently, the Monero blockchain is one of the trendiest cryptocurrencies with a significant following. Like most other blockchain projects, its future looks great despite looming government crackdowns. As an investor, you should do your due diligence and research before trading any cryptocurrency. Whenever possible, seek help from financial experts to get you on the right track.