Altcoin

Wiki: what is Monero (XMR)? All information at a glance!

All about Bitcoin's anonymous brother: technical analysis, anonymity, possible applications, mining, wallets and forecasting


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Wiki: what is Monero (XMR)? All information at a glance! (c): getmonero.org Material

07.02.2018

Monero (XMR) is a highly interesting Altcoin, because it automatically anonymizes transactions completely and thus disguises the payment transactions. In addition, Monero enables fast transfer times thanks to its free scalability - two major advantages compared to Bitcoin. Unlike many other crypto-currencies, Monero tries to convince through performance features and not through a large marketing budget. Whether this is successful, you can read below.





Summary: Monero at a glance

  • since April 2014 on the market, current price of Monero
  • Monero is not based on the Bitcoin code, but on the in-house CryptoNote protocol
  • real anonymity through ring signatures, RingCT and stealth addresses
  • 15.632 million coins available
  • by May 2022, there will be 18.132 million coins (approximately 35 million coins until 2130, basically no upper limit, Bitcoin: 21 million coins until 2130), i.e. 0.6 XMR per 2 minutes
  • Monero can be divided up into 12 decimal places
  • block generation interval is 2 minutes (Bitcoin: 10 minutes), but can be changed as needed, see below
  • proof of work = energy-intensive transactions that are currently being optimized, developers will eventually switch to the energy-efficient proof of stake
  • mining difficulty is continuously adjusted based on the last 720 blocks (Bitcoin: two week intervals)
  • free scalability: dynamic block size without limitation (Bitcoin: 1 MB)

The term 'Monero' comes from Esperanto language and simply means 'coin'. The crypto-currency has been available since April 2014 and was not - in contrast to many other Altcoins such as Bitcoin Gold (all info here) - pre-mined by the developers; that means, that there was no personal gain of the involved developers through so-called pre-mining.

Our assessment:

The renunciation of premining makes the Coin, but especially the underlying development team very pleasant. According to the developers, who can certainly also live on the increasing values of their private crypto-portfolios, they do their work on Monero on a donation basis.


Who is behind Monero?

The team behind Monero is - as it is common in the crypto-industry - largely anonymous. In general, according to Monero , the company abstains from large-scale marketing and does not want to cause artificial price explosions because of hypes, but create a new crypto-currency on a donation basis. In addition they try to avoid many problems which Bitcoin and other Altcoins have. You can read more about it in the technical analysis below.
While most of the more than 30 developers are listed as pseudonyms on Monero's website, the core employees of Monero have at least stated their e-mail addresses. Two of the core developers are known by name, but independent of various tweets and posts: Who can know whether these are their real names? And even if there were images, could you really know that they are their real faces?

Monero © "getmonero.org Material"

Our assessment:

It's like everywhere else in the crypto-business: not only the 'digital money' should be anonymous, but also the creative minds behind it. It's not about official entrepreneurship within a country, but about a global, hard-to-limit community that is (like Bitcoin) far from speaking with one voice.
Anyone looking for a responsible contact person or a press office with a company address at Monero or most other crypto-currencies will not be successful on the crypto-market.
An investment in the crypto-market is a risk therefore, with the risk of total loss.

Technical Analysis: ring signatures, RingCT and Stealth Addresses

Most of you should be aware of the fact, that Bitcoin is a pseudo-anonymous system: payments between individual addresses can be transparently seen in the blockchain and always (!). Once you have clear names linked to a transaction address, the cash flows between them can be traced without any problems.
In the case of the forced release of personal data from Bitcoin.de in mid-2017 and Coinbase at the end of 2017, this also led to arrests.

Monero is focusing on becoming a pioneer of the crypto-world as far as anonymity is concerned. Researched on the Internet, even after a long search, there are no indications that Monero transactions could ever be traced back or analyzed.
The reason for this high level of anonymity is based on three features:

  • ring signatures
  • Ring Confidential Transactions (RingCT)
  • stealth addresses

Our assessment:

By combining these three mechanisms, Monero manages to completely anonymize the sender through ring signatures, the amount through RingCT and the receiver through stealth addresses.
Unlike other anonymous Altcoins (see Dash, Zcash), any Monero transaction is automatically conceiled.
The result is not just a completely anonymous payment system, but also a so-called fungibler coin: since all ever transferred Monero coins were used with the same probability for both legal and illegal purposes, all coins are clean because of the 'presumption of innocence'. So there are no good and bad Monero coins, since they are all clean (or dirty!).

We will take a closer look at all three technical developments below.

Ring signatures and ring size

Monero ring signatures protect the sender of a transaction. This is accomplished by mixing the sender's data (that is the account key) with a set of public keys taken from the blockchain using a triangular distribution method.
This makes it impossible for outsiders (e.g. government agencies) to understand who the actual sender of a transaction is: by swapping the actual key with randomly selected keys, all displayed data could be the corresponding sender with equal probability.

For other methods public keys are used multiple times for simulating potential subscribers. Due to the principle of excluding keys which were used several times, the security was not guaranteed to the same extent as with Monero transactions.
For ring signatures, all ring members are alike and valid because all ring members are real transactions.
There is no way for an external observer to know which of the possible signatories in a signature group belongs to the corresponding executing account. Ring signatures thus ensure that transaction tasks cannot be assigned.

Monero © "getmonero.org Material"

Ring size

The ring size indicates the total number of possible signatories in a ring signature. Since the Monero update of 15th  September 2017, the ring size is at least 5 signatories. This means that in addition to the "real" output there are 4 more external outputs. A higher ring size offers more privacy than a lower number.

The ring signatures are automatically applied by Monero and not - as e.g. by Zcash (!) - only if the sender sets this manually. In the case of Zcash, concealing increases the costs of the transaction. Technically, the sender cannot be traced back for Monero and Zcash.

However, full transparency is optional: if you want to voluntarily disclose your transaction, you can do that by using the View Key.

What's behind View Key, Spend Key and Payment ID?

The Monero blockchain only allows those who have the wallet owner's permission to view a wallet or transaction.
To regulate the individual rights, there are the so-called View Key, Spend Key and the Payment ID available. What are these?

If you own a View Key, you can view transactions or the coin stock of a wallet. This does, for example, make sense for foundations or charitable organizations to make their charitable character transparent.

The Spend Key, in turn, allows transactions to be executed on a wallet. This should never fall into the clutches of third parties!

The payment ID is an arbitrary and optional transaction element consisting of 32 bytes (64 hexadecimal characters) or 8 bytes (with integrated addresses). It is used to identify transactions to traders and stock exchanges: given Monero's built-in privacy features, which typically use a single public address for incoming transactions, the payment ID is particularly useful for linking incoming payments to user accounts, and thus assigning payments. The wallet behind the payment remains anonymous.

Since version 0.9 Hydrogen Helix, payment IDs can be encrypted and embedded in a payment address. The payment IDs of this type should be 64-bits in size and encrypted with a random one-time key known only to the sender and the recipient.

A public key, for a generally public block chain - as in the case of Bitcoin - does not exist for Monero.

Briefly summarized: Monero is private by default and optionally semitransparent!

Our assessment:

Monero can protect data, i.e. all hatches are closed! In some cases, however, it may still make sense for business partners to at least get some transparency in payment transactions. Therefore, we consider the division into View Key, Spend Key and Payment ID very reasonable and helpful.

Ring Confidential Transaction (RingCT)
With the Monero update 05th January 2017 also so-called Ring Confidential Transactions, short RingCTs, were introduced, which is actually an evolution of the ring signature and, with the help of them, transaction amounts are hidden in Monero.
Since the update of 15th September 2017, this feature is a standard for all transactions.
RingCT works similar to the sender's anonymization through ring signatures via a "multilayer connectable spontaneous anonymous group signature". What does that mean?
This group signature hides amounts, origins and destinations of transactions. To succeed, the amount of a transaction, which is to be sent, is split into several smaller installments. Although the receiver actually receives the identical amount of the total amount sent, the highlight is that partial amounts are not directly sent from the corresponding sender, as with the ring signatures, but they are mixed with partial amounts of the ring members.

Example for the RingCT:
This can be imagined as if, for example, each of 5 transmitters of one RingCT throws 1 Monero in a swimming pool (filled with Monero). These 5 x 1 Monero go to 5 different recipients, but not 1: 1, but mixed by portions, e.g. 0.2 Monero each.
Theoretically, 1 receiver could have received 0.2 Monero from each of the 5 transmitters - from whom the original transaction exactly originated cannot be understood.The following graphic illustrates the example:

Monero © "getmonero.org Material"

Unlike the simplified example, neither the 5 channels exactly know whom their Monero-Coin is sent to, nor do the 5 recipients know from whom they received their Monero coin.

Our assessment:

The graph illustrates how complex the clutter of Monero transactions is with just one RingCT. Since stealth addresses are also used, as can be seen below, monitoring the block chain by analyzing the payment transaction is absolutely ineffective since it does not lead to any result.
What was invented here is therefore very impressive. There might not exist the perfect encryption method for all time - but Monero seems to be very close with their concept.

Stealth addresses

Stealth addresses enhance the user's privacy in addition to ring signatures and RingCT.
The unique stealth addresses generated for each transaction are randomly created for the recipient. Each address is created exactly once and it receives exactly one transaction. This is also referred to as one-time addresses, which are generated from the view key and the spend key, and only the sender and recipient can determine where a payment was sent to.

Unlike Bitcoin, it is thus impossible to track the payment transactions of Monero transactions from the outside or to identify regular business contacts between two users.

Our assessment:

Stealth addresses are an important part of Monero’s inherent privacy. They allow and require the sender to create random one-time addresses for each transaction on behalf of the recipient.

Privacy: is Monero completely anonymous?

In one word: yes.

Monero is an anonymous crypto-currency in every respect of the word, even overshadowing the use of cash: the sender, transaction amount, and recipients are unintelligible to outsiders. They are completely concealed.

Monero © "getmonero.org Material"

Unlike, for example, Zcash, Monero has enabled stealth mechanisms - Ring Signatures, RingCT, and Stealth addresses - by default avoiding the problems of most other crypto-currencies: fundamental anonymity for low transaction costs. In addition, automatic anonymity quashes the suspicion that anonymous transactions, which could have been non-anonymous as well, are also necessarily illegal.

So Monero and its anonymous brothers like Dash, Zcash or Bytecoin darken the Blockchain. The Blockchain as a collection of previous transactions is limited to the purpose of preventing double spends.

Our assessment:

Monero's great strength, the complete anonymity, is undeniable and probably hard to hack for many years and decades. At the earliest in ten years, there will be the first ready-to-use quantum computers - but we can assume that Monero will not stay up to date with the current trend, but they will continue to develop.

At the same time, however, Monero's big asset could be a double-edged sword: even though a decentralized crypto-currency cannot by definition be banned by one country (or worldwide), nationwide regulation of crypto-currencies will be required in the coming years. A thorn in the side of states will be fully-anonymous currencies like Monero, because regulation also means transparency.
It remains highly exciting how this conflict can be resolved.
Monero will not disappear anyway ...

Possible application: Monero as a remedy or shadow currency?

Searching for the actual areas of application for Monero, abysses open quickly: you can read about ransomware-waves and darknet-markets, which preferably accept Monero now, for example AlphaBay since autumn 2016, since Bitcoin is not anonymous enough.

And just the annoying ransomware, i.e. malicious software that finds its way to your home or mainframe computer with fake e-mail attachments or phishing sites; there it encrypts all data and releases them only for payment of ransom money.

Currently, Monero is where Bitcoin stood for many years: in the dark corner of the internet, in the dark net, where cybercriminals and hackers commit their deeds.
The first have already switched from the prominent Bitcoin to Monero, more will follow.
This is not a nice scenario if you belong to the victims.

Certainly, there are also useful applications of a completely anonymous crypto-currency. For example, when authoritarian states monitor and harass dissident critics in their ordinary manners, when banks freeze their deposits, or when it is simply no longer possible to take their own seed capital abroad for their exile. Here, Monero can mean a savior, more than Bitcoin or Ethereum ever could.

Our assessment:

However, as described above, in the case of regulation of the crypto-market, governments will find it difficult to accept Monero. But states have no choice, because Monero may be forbidden easily, but certainly not stopped.

Monero is decentralized: is there still a difference?

As a typical blockchain child, the crypto-currency Monero is also organized in a decentralized way. So there is no host on which the system Monero depends.
This also applies to other crypto-currencies and is one of the great strengths of Blockchain technology.

So far well known - is there a difference in the decentralization of Monero?
Yes, even if it seems a small one, Monero works like Bitcoin according to the proof-of-work process, i.e. transactions are confirmed by mining - the decentralized updating of the blockchain. However, as will be seen in the next section, Monero's mining algorithm allows traditional home PCs to economically take part in mining.
For Bitcoin this is no longer profitable, unless you live in countries with cheap electricity rates (Canada, Iceland, Venezuela or China).

Monero mining

Part of the proof-of-work process, after which Monero's blockchain is constantly updated, is mining. Monero mining uses the CrypoNite algorithm rather than SHA256, as Bitcoin does. This algorithm gives preference to the CPU (processor) and does not allow economic mining via Asics or GPU (graphics card).
One goal of the developers is to preserve the decentralized nature of the Altcoin. An important cornerstone for the realization of this goal is therefore to allow the economic mining of Monero also for your home PC. Monero mining remains completely anonymous. In contrast to the top dog Bitcoin, Monero mining is still profitable with a standard PC.

The block time of Monero is about 2 minutes. Monero offers miners a "permanent block reward" described on Monero's website as follows:
"The block reward will never fall below 0.3 XMR, making Monero a disinflationary currency: inflation will be about 1% in 2022 and tends to decline, but nominal inflation will remain at 0.3 XMR per minute. That means there will always be more Monero."

It is a long-term incentive for the miners to mine Monero and keep the Blockchain alive, with or without fees.

How you can mine on your own with the GUI and the home PC

It is very easy to work with the official GUI (Graphical User Interface).
The official GUI can be downloaded from the Monero website and is available for several operating systems: Windows, Mac OS, Linux and others are supported.

Monero © "getmonero.org Material"

After the setup has been run and the GUI has been started, you need to be patient while is Monero synchronizing with the network. If "connected" is displayed in the lower left corner, mining can start.

An accurate step-by-step guide can be found here.

Mining with XMRig and Docker
This is the fastest way to operate Monero-mining with your CPU. The software that supports both Nvidia and AMD is open source.

Exact step-by-step instructions can be found here.

Mining software according to the Monero website.

How you can mine on a pool with xmr-stak CPU
Also, mining in a Monero pool is possible, i.e. you join a larger network instead of mining alone.
There are many Monero pools to choose from, a list can be found on moneropools.com.

Mining on a larger pool usually means more frequent payouts, but mining on a smaller pool helps to keep the network decentralized. Here you have to decide whether you want to act selfishly or idealistically.

Just like pools, there are many CPU miners to choose from. The right choice depends on the hardware you want to work on. Monero recommends xmr-stak-cpu here. Alternatives are Wolf's CPUMiner and sgminer-gm.

Mining software according to Monero website: https://getmonero.org/get-started/mining/

How many Monero can there be?

Unlike Bitcoin, Monero has no limit on any coins available. Theoretically, an endless number of Monero coins can be generated.
Currently (as stated at the end of January 2018) there are exactly 15,632,331 XMRs on the market.
With each new block - about every 2 minutes - there are currently 0.6 XMR credited as a reward. The developers also promise that this reward can never fall below 0.3 XMR per block.

If you continue calculating with these key figures, there are approx. 18.1 million coins in the middle of 2022, approximately 21 million coins in 2040 and approximately 35 million coins in 2130. By comparison, Bitcoin will reach its maximum limit in the year 2130 with about 21 million coins.

The developers justify the fact that there is no upper limitbecause of the continuous loss of coins, which can never be recovered and thus affecting the use of Monero. This scenario occurs, for example, while losing the Spend Keys. In addition, the attractiveness of mining should remain at a high level.

At the same time, Monero is programmed in a way, that inflation does not have too much impact, so the level of rewards - and thus the degree of inflation – is adjusted automatically.

Our assessment:

Monero allows a little bit of inflation rather than setting a fixed upper limit. From a macroeconomic point of view, this decision makes sense, because Monero still remains a scarce resource, the fact that there is no upper limit compensates for loss or idle lying coins piece by piece.
How many times have you read that tens of thousands of Bitcoins, or more precisely their private keys, have been lost on some discarded hard drive? The number of available Bitcoins is thus constantly smaller, especially if all 21 million Bitcoin are on the market. As a scarce resource, the Bitcoin will rise in price - but can it still be useful as an everyday payment method?
Probably not! Rather as digital value, comparable to gold.

We therefore see no disadvantage of the coin in the cautiously growing Monero crowd: according to the developers, hyperinflation is not possible.

By the way, from 2022 on inflation should remain constant at 1%. By comparison, the European Central Bank (ECB) has the goal of targeting inflation at 2%.

Monero is interchangeable: full fungibility

The cryptographic methods described above provide another important long-term advantage for every single Monero-coin: it is fungible. But what does that mean?

Let's take Bitcoin as a counterexample:
Since the Bitcoin blockchain is open to the public and therefore every Bitcoin can be traced back, you theoretically know the history of each coin and whether it has already been illegally owned, e.g. on the darknet for drugs. This could mean that this "drug Bitcoin" is no longer accepted by a dealer: the Bitcoin would permanently be associated with the former drug deal - and it is thus perhaps less wanted, that means: less valuable (!) than a Bitcoin with a clean history.

Due to the anonymity of each transaction, the course of a Monero-coin can no longer be traced, so you cannot see any differences between two coins, all have the same unknown history. Every Monero coin is worth the same: it is fungible.

So there is no reason for traders to not accept Monero.

Our assessment:

By the way, Monero achieves another goal with the protection of privacy: all Monero are equal, since their past is unknown. Bravo!
Bitcoin and other crypto-currencies, that cannot solve this problem on their own, can only handle a wallet with an integrated coin mixer or coinjoin: Bitcoin transactions are mixed or bundled.
However, this feature is an exception! Monero is more than a step ahead here.

Scalability of Monero: how flexible is the crypto-currency?

One of the main problems of Bitcoin is scalability: each block is only 1 MB in size; i.e. the space for transactions in the 10-minute block is naturally limited. Although SegWit ignores unimportant information, which creates more space, the hardfork for the 2 MB variant was cancelled in November 2017 at short notice. Bitcoin Cash comes with a block size of 8 MB, but the size also leads to a further centralization of the crypto-currency, since the computing power of smaller miners with the 'big ones at the table' cannot sufficiently keep up.

Monero wants to change the problem with a dynamically scalable block size. So there is simply no fixed size for a block. Instead it is regularly recalculated based on the last 720 blocks.

Our assessment:

Monero evades one of the main criticisms that currently concern many other crypto-currencies. First and foremost, Bitcoin, of course, for whose limited scalability the increased demand is the purest poison.

Monero follows its own way here. That is good!

How will Monero develop? What will happen in 2018?

Approximately every six months there is a Monero hardfork. However, the blockchain of the Altcoin is not shared as it has recently been with Bitcoin in Bitcoin Gold, Super Bitcoin, Bitcoin Platinum, but similar to Ethereum it is an update.

Thus Monero is continuously developed. Very welcome!

So there were hardforks in January, April and September in 2017; in 2016 there were at least two hardforks.

Also in 2018 there will be some innovations for Monero:

  • General increase in blockchain efficiency
  • Developers also want more efficient evidence concerning range for RingCT to reduce transaction size
  • The budding Kovri project will route and encrypt transactions through I2P Invisible Internet Project nodes. This conceals the IP address of a sender and provides further protection against network monitoring. According to the website's roadmap, an alpha version has already been tested in 2017. I2P is a hidden network like Tor. Kovri is a Monero-independent project, but it will work with Monero and several other projects
  • Friends of mining can look forward to the 2018 HUI for Android
  • In addition, at least one hardware wallet will appear in 2018, more about it after the next chapter. There is already a Light-Wallet, see next chapter.

Monero Mobile Wallet and Light Wallet

The wallet MyMonero offers a developer-supported, genuine, secure Monero wallet.

Monero © "getmonero.org Material"

Sending Monero is as easy as you would expect it from other crypto-currencies: just enter the destination address and the amount and press "send". To get Monero, you simply give the sender your own public address.

Support for various Android apps is also planned for 2018.

Which hardware wallets are supported?

Currently altcoin Monero does not support any hardware wallets. This is mainly due to the difficult technical implementation, as Monero has its own Bitcoin independent code, unlike many other Altcoins.
However, in the course of 2018 Ledger will integrate Ledger Blue and Nano S Monero with its two products.

In addition, the Monero developers themselves work on hardware wallet integration. A date of release is still unknown, but this is an important target for 2018.

Monero © "getmonero.org Material"

Alternatives to Monero: Zcash, Dash, Bytecoin or Bitcoin?
Other crypto-currencies may also be anonymous: Zcash, Dash, Bytecoin and many more.

For Zcash and Dash we have already written a short technical analysis, a detailed wiki will follow and linked here.

A short comment about Bytecoin: this is Monero's technical father. However, as the founders are said to have generously invested in themselves because of pre-mining, in turn parts of the community founded the much more successful Monero.

Our assessment:

Basically, it is important to provide users with real anonymity regardless of the name of the Altcoins. We believe that the market continues to have a legitimate need for anonymous transactions with increasing attention and thus analyzability, and we therefore welcome each stealth currency.

And Bitcoin?
Bitcoin is far from being fully developed! It can benefit from the concealment techniques to the anonymity of other crypto-currencies in turn! However, the features must also be implemented in the Bitcoin.
Currently the Bitcoin is struggling with scaling and power efficiency problems (see here). Both will hopefully be solved significantly in 2018.
Although the Bitcoin developers could then take care of the anonymity - but how likely is this to happen when Bitcoin actually wants to get out of the darknet corner in the course of the regulations?
We therefore do not believe that Bitcoin will make the move towards true anonymity.

Checking the past development (2014 to 2018)

From May 2014 to August 2016, 1 single Monero was always available for less than $ 2.
In September 2016, it passed the $10 mark for the first time.
In August 2017, Monero then passed the magic limit of 100 US dollars before it broke through a healthy consolidation phase in late November 2017, then the $200 limit and it continued to rise sharply.
Since mid-December, 1 Monero regularly has been moving between $300 and $470.

Our assessment:

There is definitely a clear upward trend that Monero is experiencing in 2017, which is considered a breakthrough for crypto-currencies.
This development seems optimistic for the future. More about it in the next chapter.

Monero © "getmonero.org Material"

Conclusion and prognosis: is the purchase of Monero coins still worth it?

As we have seen above, Monero is, so to speak, state-of-the-art when it comes to anonymity. The cryptography in the form of ring signatures, RingCT and Steath addresses seem to make Monero truly anonymous according to current technical understanding.
As a result, it is ahead of most other crypto-currencies for a unique feature, apart from competitors such as Zcash, Dash and so on.
Therefore, we consider Monero to be an important Altcoin which has the potential to survive Bitcoin and others through the nature of mining (any home PC!), including anonymity. In addition there is the flexible scalability of the Altcoin.
So Monero has significant advantages over its flagship Bitcoin (click here for our Bitcoin wiki).

As the mix of supply and demand dominates the price - and the demand for fully anonymous crypto-currencies is likely to increase rather than decrease, we consider the further development of Monero positive.
In addition to technical advances and general demand, further price developments in our view heavily depend on whether and when other crypto-exchanges include Monero in their product range or not.

Currently 1 Monero costs only a fraction of a Bitcoin. Considering that the quantities available are comparable but the technology is more advanced, we see Monero as the next generation of crypto-currencies that have great potential.
We believe that an investment today can be rewarding for the future. In any case, the Monero Coin forecast for 2018 and beyond looks positive.

However, the decision whether to buy or not must be made on your own!

Our assessment: No matter where you buy Monero, it is a very promising coin that will keep us busy for a long time to come. It is not a bad idea to have a few Monero in your portfolio!

Four crypto-exchanges where Monero can be bought easily

If you want to invest in Monero (XMR), you can read our purchase instructions here.
The purchase of Monero is very easy on all shown (and other) platforms.

  Binance LiteBit.eu Bitfinex Anycoindirect
 
Monero © "Binance.com"
Monero © "Litebit.eu"
Monero © "Bitfinex.com"
Monero © "Anycoindirect.eu"
type exchange broker exchange broker
security
exchange rate
user-friendliness
modes of payment (depending on country) Bitcoin, Ethereum GiroPay, SEPA, SOFORT, MyBank, iDEAL Bitcoin, US-Dollar, Euro GiroPay, SEPA, SOFORT, TrustPay, MyBank, iDEAL
our rating 92% 89% 91% 88%
  to Binance.com to Litebit to Bitfinex to Anycoindirect

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



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