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What is Monero? | The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide

What is Monero

Boasting security and privacy, including untraceable transactions, Monero (XMR) is among the most popular and controversial cryptocurrencies in an increasingly saturated market. Like other cryptocurrencies, Monero features an open-source blockchain that records transactions and creates new units through mining. What sets Monero apart is its opaque blockchain, which prevents transactions and their amounts from being…

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Boasting security and privacy, including untraceable transactions, Monero (XMR) is among the most popular and controversial cryptocurrencies in an increasingly saturated market. Like other cryptocurrencies, Monero features an open-source blockchain that records transactions and creates new units through mining. What sets Monero apart is its opaque blockchain, which prevents transactions and their amounts from being traced to specific addresses — providing an extra layer of protection to the identities of its users.

In this beginner’s guide to Monero, we will go over:

The history of Monero starts in 2013 when a white paper outlining an application layer protocol for powering digital currencies called CryptoNote was released. The author of the paper used the pseudonym Nicolas van Saberhagen to protect their identity similar to Satoshi Nakamoto, the mysterious creator of Bitcoin.

Typically, white papers lay out a mission statement and then introduce technical plans for a technology’s implementation. The CryptoNote white paper, however, doubles as a thorough criticism of Bitcoin — citing major privacy and censorship issues.

Saberhagen quickly addresses their concern with the privacy of Bitcoin:

“Unfortunately, Bitcoin does not satisfy the untraceability requirement. Since all the transactions that take place between the network’s participants are public, any transaction can be unambiguously traced to a unique origin and final recipient. Even if two participants exchange funds in an indirect way, a properly engineered path-finding method will reveal the origin and final recipient.”

Not long after the paper was published, developers began working on realizing the platform’s mission, resulting in the creation of the transitory digital currency Bytecoin.

It didn’t take long for the controversy to start with Bytecoin as the founding team decided to “pre-mine” coins and distribute amongst themselves before the currency was available to the public. This, along with other questionable behavior, resulted in an eruption of drama that is chronicled here.

Some of the developers, led by Riccardo Spagni, decided to carry out a re-launch through a hard fork of the Bytecoin network. They decided to call it BitMonero (Monero is the Esperanto word for coin). Supporters of the digital currency decided on a shortened name of Monero.

Monero climbed the ranks of cryptocurrencies, with incredible growth in market capitalization throughout 2016 largely due to adoption by darknet marketplace AlphaBay, which has since been shut down due to illegal activity. The untraceability of Monero predictably lends itself to use among seedy individuals for illegal transactions.

The high-flying digital currency has been making its way into headlines for more than just a meteoric rise in market cap.

Recently, there have been a number of instances of hackers distributing malware that turn infected web pages into mining systems without the consent of users. Monero is uniquely susceptible to such problems because — unlike other cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, which require specialty hardware — it is possible to mine Monero with normal CPUs.

Team

Monero has a thriving community made up of more than 240 active developers contributing to the Monero project, including 30 core developers. Much of the Monero core team is made up of a group of pseudonymous developers who tend to stay out of the crypto limelight, the exception being the outspoken Riccardo Spagni also known by his twitter handle @fluffypony.

Spagni, the controversial face of Monero, is a South African resident who seems to thrive on disrupting the world, particularly the banking system. A self-described Twitter troll, Spagni is notorious for repeatedly claiming that he lost his private keys “in a series of horrible boating accidents,” while simultaneously flaunting his love for Rolex watches and elaborate wine racks.

In regard to the re-launch of Monero, Spagni was quoted as saying,

“I thought, ‘I’m going to pump it and dump it,’ because I was interested in taking the ideas and implementing them in bitcoin. The bitcoin code base was far more interesting to me than Monero, and I thought, ‘I’m not going to work on this codebase, it’s terrible,’”

Despite his initial disinterest in Monero, Spagni stuck around with the Monero team and remains the cryptocurrency’s loudest voice and lead maintainer.

Three different privacy measures are used in the Monero blockchain to maintain the anonymity of users.

Ring signatures allow the sender in the transaction to hide among a group of sending addresses on the network. Basically, when a transaction occurs, there is a group of possible senders represented by their keys but the actual sender is never revealed in the data recorded on the blockchain.

Ring Signature Example

Here is a visualization of ring signature tracking.

Cryptonote ambiguity

Ring confidential transactions or RingCT, is how transaction amounts are hidden. It was implemented on the Monero blockchain in January of 2017 and after September 2017, all transactions on the network feature RingCT by default. This upgrade improved upon ring signatures and other transactional components by allowing for completely hidden amounts, destination and origin address, and trustless coin generation.

Stealth addresses allow the sender to create a one-time address for a transaction that is randomly generated. The transaction is recorded as taking place between these addresses, yet they cannot be linked back to either the recipient or sender.

Unsurprisingly, there are those who are concerned about the secrecy of Monero transactions. The obfuscating of senders, recipients, and transaction amounts are the perfect features for criminals looking to do business and avoid detection. But privacy is something that people hold dear. Everyone has things that they would like to be kept private and the vast majority of those things are perfectly legal.

Fungibility is an economic term that is used to describe individual units of a good or commodity that are interchangeable. The easiest example of this is to use something like US dollars. Two 10 dollar bills can be exchanged for a 20 dollar bill without any value being gained or lost on either end of the transaction.

Most digital currencies, including Bitcoin, follow the basics of fungibility, as one Bitcoin will typically be worth 1 Bitcoin. However, one of the weaknesses of Bitcoin pointed out by the creators of Monero is its transparency that leaves users open to censorship and other problems.

Say that there was an exchange hack and Bitcoins were stolen from users who left their funds in their exchange’s wallet (try to avoid doing this). Those coins could be given to unsuspecting users, not aware that the coins are stolen, and then be rendered useless by those with the knowledge and means to identify the stolen funds.

Imagine that you were given cash in exchange for an item or service sold to someone else. If some or all of that cash is found to be counterfeit, you lose out on that money and are potentially open to an investigation into how you obtained that illegal currency, despite you doing nothing wrong.

Monero’s privacy features protect users from something like this happening, but it has also earned Monero a bit of an unsavory reputation. The untraceability of Monero transactions undoubtedly attracts some as a way to conduct illicit activity, but its supporters would point to this being a natural side effect of the currency’s effectiveness as a form of digital cash.

Mining is the process in which transactions on a blockchain network are compiled and verified until a block of transactions and their data are completed. Using a proof-of work system, miners connected to the network are essentially volunteering the computing power of their hardware to solve puzzles that, when completed, deliver a reward in the form of the network’s currency. This is how new coins are created and how these systems incentivize people to maintain the network.

Monero is built around the CryptoNight proof-of-work hash algorithm — one of the features of CryptoNote that was designed to create a more egalitarian approach to cryptocurrency mining compared to Bitcoin.

Bitcoin started out as a currency that could be mined using graphics processing units (GPUs). As the system grew, the complexity of the puzzles that needed to be solved in order to complete blocks and earn rewards had to be increased. At this point, GPU miners did not have the power to mine in any sort of profitable way and they gave way to specialized hardware in the form of application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs).

Monero is designed to be ASIC resistant, meaning that the mining process can be carried out using a mixture of GPU and central processing unit (CPU) functions. This is possible due to the system’s proof-of-work mechanism. Instead of a standard proof-of-work hash algorithm, the network is really a voting system where users vote for the right order of transactions on the blockchain.

Every participant has equal rights using this method, and it was specifically developed to create a more uniform distribution of coins throughout the lifetime of the currency. ASIC resistance is bolstered further by regular hard forks with the explicit goal of keeping ASICs at bay.

While Monero’s egalitarian approach allows almost anyone with computer access to participate in the maintenance of the network, it does have some exploitable features.

Coinhive is a Monero miner that is implemented through JavaScript, allowing websites to turn web traffic into full-scale mining operations. Basically, when Coinhive is active on a web page, any visitor on the website is now having their electricity and computer’s processing power used to mine Monero, often without permission. Examples of illegal Coinhive operation were common over the last couple of years. However, Coinhive recently announced that they would be shutting the platform down because the business model was no longer “economically viable.”

Monero (XMR) is available for trading on many of the major cryptocurrency exchanges.  A handful of exchanges allow Monero to be traded for fiat currencies such as the US dollar, Euro, and British pound. However, most exchanges only allow for trading pairs between Monero and other cryptocurrencies, most often Bitcoin and Ether, the Ethereum network’s cryptocurrency. For those interested in obtaining XMR, we recommend using Bitcoin or Ethereum to buy Monero on the Binance exchange.

Like all other digital currencies, Monero needs to be stored in a wallet which can be in the form of a desktop application on your computer or smart phone, a web wallet, or a hardware wallet. Despite the popularity of Monero, the wallet options are actually pretty sparse. This is because the security measures built into the Monero blockchain pose a challenge to many of the most common wallets. But due to its standing in the market cap rankings, a good portion of wallets are working on Monero integration.

For a comprehensive guide to the best Monero wallets, check out our guide.

Monero is an interesting digital currency that truly lives up to the term digital cash. Fast, cheap, and anonymous transactions are possible thanks to the unique technology that underlies the Monero blockchain. It was developed not to increase the wealth of the already wealthy, but as a means of transacting for the common person who wants to break free from the often restrictive practices of traditional financial institutions and their instruments.

Though Monero is not free from scandal, the use of the currency for illegal purposes is not encouraged by the underlying technology or caused by any flaws within its design. Monero was developed to be a truly disruptive force in the world of personal finance. “Be your own bank” is a phrase often uttered in cryptocurrency conversations, and while sometimes Monero is more like “A digital mattress stuffed with cash”, it definitely has utility in a market full of projects without much to offer outside of mere potential.

Source: https://unhashed.com/cryptocurrency-coin-guides/what-is-monero-xmr/

Blockchain

Binance to cease these crypto-derivative offerings in Australia

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Once upon a time, regulators around the world weren’t confident about handling the crypto-ecosystem. This attitude, however, has changed of late thanks to the industry’s growth and the interest it has seen from traditional institutions and major investors.

The aforementioned change isn’t universal, alas, with some crypto-entities still coming under a lot of regulatory fire. Binance is a case in point. The platform has come under increased scrutiny from a growing number of regulators worldwide, including regulatory authorities from the U.K, the U.S, the Netherlands, and Canada.

Australia too has now been added to this ignominious list.

According to an official announcement made by the exchange, Binance will no longer offer Futures and Options trading in Australia. It read,

“As Binance constantly evaluates its product and service offerings to comply with local regulations, we will cease offering the following products to existing Australian users: Futures, Options, Leveraged Tokens”

Moreover, it revealed that ‘existing Australian users will have 90 days to reduce and close their positions for these products.’ Post 23 December, users will no longer be able to manually reduce their positions, and all remaining open positions will cease.

What does this mean for Binance and its executives?

Well, the aforementioned step is in alignment with its executives’ aim – To create a sustainable ecosystem around blockchain technology and digital assets. In fact, according to one of its executives,

“Binance welcomes developments to our industry’s regulatory framework as they pose opportunities for the market players to have greater collaboration with the regulators. We are committed to working constructively in policy-making that seeks to benefit every user.”

This move followed last month’s restrictions on Options, margin products, and leveraged tokens (New accounts were barred from engaging in).

And the “nightmare” continues… 

Binance took a similar hit in a different part of the world less than two weeks ago. It discontinued support for trading pairs in the Singapore dollar (SGD), again due to regulatory crackdown(s).
Binance found itself in troubled waters earlier this year, with regulators around the world zeroing in on the top exchange. The regulatory pressure forced the leading crypto-company to adopt a proactive approach to compliance. That being said, the jury is still out on whether these steps have been making any difference?
Moreover, US authorities are probing possible insider trading and market manipulation allegations involving Binance. The exchange, for its part, has denied these speculations. Binance has a “zero-tolerance policy for insider trading,” a statement said.
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Source: https://ambcrypto.com/binance-to-cease-crypto-derivative-offerings-in-australia

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Robinhood Testing New Cryptocurrency Wallet as Demand Rises

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The millennial-focused trading portal is edging closer to launching a long-awaited app that will enable its growing user-base to send and receive cryptocurrencies.

A beta version of Robinhood’s iPhone app showed the company’s latest upgrades on the new digital asset features, according to Bloomberg.

There is a hidden image showing a waiting list for users eager to get their hands on the app and code referring to crypto transfers, it added.

Delving Deeper into Crypto

Robinhood users can already buy and sell cryptocurrencies on the platform but they need to convert them to and from USD. With a native app, users will be able to send crypto assets to each other directly and set up two-factor authentication for additional security.

Robinhood Chief Executive Officer Vlad Tenev stated that adding crypto wallets is a priority for the company’s developers and they are actively working on such.


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“The ability to deposit and withdraw cryptocurrencies is tricky to do with scale, and we want to make sure it’s done correctly and properly.”

He did not specify a launch date, but the beta app leak suggests it is not too far away. Users of the new functions will need to activate crypto sending and receiving and the registration page will require an identity check, the report added.

On Sept. 11, CryptoPotato reported that Robinhood had launched incentives to promote longer-term cryptocurrency investing. The zero-fee recurring purchase feature enables users to schedule digital asset purchases for regular intervals with buys as low as a dollar.

This will encourage customers to build their cryptocurrency portfolios over time and “become a whole coiner,” stated Robinhood.

Robinhood Users Hungry For Crypto

Cryptocurrency trading has been one of the biggest drivers of revenue for Robinhood this year. Dogecoin has been the crown jewel, according to the company. It reported that 62% of its $233 million in second-quarter crypto income came from DOGE trading.

It added that more than half of all transaction-based revenue on the platform came from digital asset trading. The firm did warn that Q3 would not be as prosperous due to “seasonal headwinds and lower trading activity across the industry.”

Robinhood share prices have already fallen 43% since their all-time high of a little over $70 in early August. They are currently trading down 1.68% since Monday’s open at $40.70 according to Yahoo! Finance.

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Source: https://cryptopotato.com/robinhood-testing-new-cryptocurrency-wallet-as-demand-rises/

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Snoop Dogg Reveals His Connection With Twitter Account on NFTs

Snoop Dogg Twitter

Rate this post American rapper Snoop Dogg tweeted on Monday that he’s the owner of a Twitter account that talks about nonfungible tokens (NFTs). The account, named @CozomoMedici, shares “insights and tales from the wild world of NFTs” and has 27.7K followers at the moment. Snoop Dog Claims to Be Popular NFT Advocate on Twitter Snoop Dogg left the crypto community stunned this week after he revealed himself as the owner of a Twitter account dedicated to NFTs.  The account Cozomo de’ Medici, named after an Italian banker, is only a month old. However, it has already garnered attention from industry watchers and even a mention from crypto-focused news outlet The Block.   According to The Verge, the person behind the Medici account had been creating hype around their real identity for “at least a few days” and even conducted a poll for their followers to take a guess. The poll featured Democratic congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Matt Bellamy, the lead singer of the rock band Muse. Snoop, however, was not mentioned in the poll. On September 20, @CozomoMedici tweeted that they were about to reveal their identity from their account. Shortly after, Snoop Dogg tweeted “I am @CozomoMedici.”   Interestingly, after making this revelation, the Medici account bought two weed-themed collectibles from an artist named NyanDogg, The Verge reported. Additionally, Snoop’s alleged OpenSea account has been sent  “a cloud of blunt and Snoop-themed NFTs” following the reveal. Is Medici Account an Elaborate Prank? The Medici account could likely turn out to be an elaborate prank, one that Snoop might have engineered himself or just participated in. Many reactions to Medici’s reveal have also expressed skepticism about Snoop’s involvement. “I have a hard time accepting that this account is Snoop Dogg. Like seriously Snoop Dogg muted his live stream for a week (?) by accident. And he is that deep into NFTs out here owning crypto punks… Owning Eth using OpenSea. Would love that to be true but I can’t believe it,” Twitter user @Brandolf485 wrote in the comments. Nonetheless, the crypto community will have to continue looking for concrete proof till Snoop’s involvement with the account is confirmed. 

The post Snoop Dogg Reveals His Connection With Twitter Account on NFTs appeared first on Cryptoknowmics-Crypto News and Media Platform.

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American rapper Snoop Dogg tweeted on Monday that he’s the owner of a Twitter account that talks about nonfungible tokens (NFTs). The account, named @CozomoMedici, shares “insights and tales from the wild world of NFTs” and has 27.7K followers at the moment.

Snoop Dog Claims to Be Popular NFT Advocate on Twitter

Snoop Dogg left the crypto community stunned this week after he revealed himself as the owner of a Twitter account dedicated to NFTs. 

The account Cozomo de’ Medici, named after an Italian banker, is only a month old. However, it has already garnered attention from industry watchers and even a mention from crypto-focused news outlet The Block.  

According to The Verge, the person behind the Medici account had been creating hype around their real identity for “at least a few days” and even conducted a poll for their followers to take a guess. The poll featured Democratic congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Matt Bellamy, the lead singer of the rock band Muse. Snoop, however, was not mentioned in the poll.

On September 20, @CozomoMedici tweeted that they were about to reveal their identity from their account. Shortly after, Snoop Dogg tweeted “I am @CozomoMedici.”

Interestingly, after making this revelation, the Medici account bought two weed-themed collectibles from an artist named NyanDogg, The Verge reported. Additionally, Snoop’s alleged OpenSea account has been sent  “a cloud of blunt and Snoop-themed NFTs” following the reveal.

Is Medici Account an Elaborate Prank?

The Medici account could likely turn out to be an elaborate prank, one that Snoop might have engineered himself or just participated in. Many reactions to Medici’s reveal have also expressed skepticism about Snoop’s involvement.

“I have a hard time accepting that this account is Snoop Dogg. Like seriously Snoop Dogg muted his live stream for a week (?) by accident. And he is that deep into NFTs out here owning crypto punks… Owning Eth using OpenSea. Would love that to be true but I can’t believe it,” Twitter user @Brandolf485 wrote in the comments.

Nonetheless, the crypto community will have to continue looking for concrete proof till Snoop’s involvement with the account is confirmed. 

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Source: https://www.cryptoknowmics.com/news/snoop-dogg-reveals-his-connection-with-twitter-account-on-nfts/

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