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 experienced rapid growth in market capitalization (from US$5M to US$185M) and transaction volume during the year 2016, partly due to adoption in 2016 by major darknet market AlphaBay (closed July 2017 by law enforcement).
|Date of introduction||18 April 2014|
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.
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.
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.
"Monero is powered strictly by Proof of Work, but specifically, it employs a mining algorithm that has the potential to be efficiently tasked to billions of existing devices (any modern x86 CPU)." Monero uses the CryptoNight Proof of Work (PoW) algorithm, which is designed for use in ordinary CPUs.
The smart mining feature allows transparent CPU mining on the user's computer, far from the de facto centralization of mining farms and pool mining, pursuing Satoshi Nakamoto's original vision of a true P2P currency. Smart mining is currently available in the CLI wallet for all operating systems.
Monero has no hardcoded maximum block size, which means that unlike Bitcoin it does not have a 1 MB block size limit preventing scaling. However, a block reward penalty mechanism is built into the protocol to avoid a too excessive block size increase: The new block's size (NBS) is compared to the median size M100 of the last 100 blocks. If NBS>M100, the block reward gets reduced in quadratic dependency of how much NBS exceeds M100. E.g. if NBS is [10%, 50%, 80%, 100%] greater than M100, the nominal block reward gets reduced by [1%, 25%, 64%, 100%]. Generally, blocks greater than 2*M100 are not allowed, and blocks <= 60kB are always free of any block reward penalties.
Release 0.10.1 added a dynamic fee system using the formula Fee=(R/R0)*(M0/M)*F0. As usage of Monero increases, the per-transaction fees will decrease while the total transaction fees will increase.
The Monero Core Team also released a standard called OpenAlias, which permits much more human-readable addresses and "squares" the Zooko's triangle. OpenAlias can be used for any cryptocurrency and is already implemented in Monero, Bitcoin (in latest Electrum versions) and HyperStake.
Ongoing work and side projectsEdit
- RingCT: a way to implement confidential transactions in Monero. Confidential transactions (CT) is a method for hiding the value of transactions in Bitcoin. 
- OpenAlias: an extensive aliasing blockchain-based system;
- Kovri: a privacy solution for integrating I2P in Monero;
- URS: the proof-of-concept of an anonymous voting system, based on ring signatures 
- 0MQ: a C API library used by clients to connect to the Monero daemon service.
- Electrum's mnemonic seeds for deterministic -key creation in webwallet 
- The Monero Core Team continues to depart from the original Bytecoin code with numerous patches and improvements to its implementation of the CryptoNote protocol.
|Version||Release Date||Major Updates|
|0.8.8.6||8 December 2014||Fixed Windows builds, multilanguage mnemonic|
|0.9.0 "Hydrogen Helix"||1 January 2016||ARM support, 32-bit Windows support, OpenAlias, LMDB, block time increased to 2 minutes|
|0.9.1 "Hydrogen Helix"||15 January 2016||Bug fixes and security improvements|
|0.9.2 "Hydrogen Helix"||16 March 2016||LMDB improvements, bug fixes|
|0.9.3 "Hydrogen Helix"||21 March 2016||Windows 32-bit, bug fixes|
|0.9.4 "Hydrogen Helix"||2 April 2016||Bug fixes|
|0.10.0 "Wolfram Warptangent"||18 September 2016||RingCT, performance improvements to HDDs, ARMv8 support, key image import and export|
|0.10.1 "Wolfram Warptangent"||13 December 2016||RingCT improvements, dynamic fee system, support for "fluffy blocks", GUI support|
|0.10.2 "Wolfram Warptangent"||22 February 2017||Android support, smart mining on Linux, speed improvements to RingCT, fix to exploit vulnerability.|
|0.10.3 "Wolfram Warptangent"||25 March 2017||Wallet scanning improvements, peer bugfixes|
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