Bitcoin is, among all cryptocurrencies, the most famous alternative. Today, however, we will talk about another alternative: the virtual currency Monero, which could become the most widely used on the Deep Web.
Bitcoin is, among all cryptocurrencies, the most famous alternative. Today, however, we will talk about another alternative: the virtual currency Monero, which could become the most widely used on the Deep Web. Monero is a more private and anonymous virtual currency than Bitcoin, born in 2014 and which can “boast” of having become, due to its security features, the preferred one for a large segment of the Internet black market.
Although Bitcoin is – not escentralizada regulated by any agency control-, can not be copied and eliminates the middlemen, thus being used by major black markets operating through the controversial search engine Tor, some criminals of the hemisphere The dark network does not consider this famous cryptocurrency as a sufficiently anonymous payment method due to the tracking possibilities that emerge from its configuration.
What is and how does Monero work?
According to Mickael Mosse, The first notable feature of Monero is that, unlike other rivals of the most famous virtual currency today, it was not written using the code of Bitcoin, but is based on a protocol called CryptoNote. Thus, despite the fact that this new anonymous currency has similarities with the operation of Bitcoin, like the blockchain, it also presents great differences to achieve the desired online anonymity that many users dedicated to illegal transactions crave.
While those who use bitcoins use a single virtual wallet address. Monero creates unique addresses for each transaction, with a private viewing key that only allows the recipient – and whoever is given the password – to have full access to the transaction data.
In addition, Monero also automatically combines the data of a transaction with others of similar size, generating confusion and making it impossible for anyone who tries to track an operation through the blockchain.
For now, since its inception, the authorities have barely shown interest in this virtual currency, although AlphaBay’s announcement on Reddit has caused its value to rise and eyes are directed towards its evolution, since other cryptocurrencies used in the Dark Web like Dash, formerly known as Darkcoin, received a lot of media attention in 2014, but two years later, said the currency has not been implemented in any famous black markets.
For the promised hyper-privacy to go smoothly, it is necessary that there be a large number of users who use Monero, since if not, large transactions – whether or not they are for illegal products – will stand out a lot. It will be necessary to wait a while to analyze its adoption rate and evaluate the use of this virtual currency and the increase in investments and hopes placed on it.
In principle, Monero (XMR) was born with the name of BitMonero, a union between ‘bit’ of Bitcoin and, literally, “currency” in the Esperanto language. So far, faithful to the philosophy of privacy as a fundamental human right, only two of his group of seven developers have revealed their names: Ricardo Spagni, an expert in software from South Africa, and Francisco Cabañas, a Canadian physicist; both also crypto enthusiasts.
Following the fork and name change, the developers took it upon themselves to improve their original code and integrate the CryptoNight algorithm for mining, where they vote on the order of transactions, new features in the protocol, and the fair distribution of money. On the other hand, specifically, the technology that allows the absolute privacy of Monero is called ring signatures (ring signatures). This is a group of cryptographic signatures in which the only one of those that appears is real, but there is no way to indicate which one it is or where it came from since when mixed together they all seem valid. So when making transaction anonymity is maintained except for the parties involved.
In addition to this, its developers are working on an additional protocol that will allow not only to hide the transactions on the blockchain but also the IP address from where the operations are carried out.
Monero, the alternative to Bitcoin that has become the currency of criminals
It is the cryptocurrency that grew the most in 2016, although it did so thanks to its popularity on the Dark Web. Despite having existed since 2014, it is now that the use of Monero in the illegal arms and drug markets of the ‘deep web’ has made this virtual currency take off, sadly turned into the favorite currency of criminals because of your total anonymity.
It is not the most famous and, in fact, it was not exactly designed to become the most popular cryptocurrency in the world. Although Monero shares some characteristics with Bitcoin, it is precisely what differentiates it from the currency created almost a decade ago by Satoshi Nakamoto that has made it the ideal tool for trading illegal products or services in the dark internet. The main reason for its success is that it provides complete anonymity when making transfers.
Its value almost multiplied by 27 in just one year. If twelve months ago a monero was barely exchanged for 50 euro cents, today the conversion is around 12 euros (with the usual fluctuations of cryptocurrencies).
The turning point came in August 201. It was then that AlphaBay, one of the main drug outlets on the dark internet, announced that it was beginning to accept payments in moneros for its illegal products. In addition, it is believed that AlphaBay itself bought a large number of moneros before saying that it was going to accept them to speculate themselves by manipulating the market.
Decentralization, scalability, and fungibility
True decentralization is another of the main characteristics that Monero offers, alluding to this that no government, foundation, or central body is in charge of the platform and that the maintenance is the responsibility of its developers, who in turn have had various collaborators without anyone occupying any particular position. Likewise, it is emphasized that its mining algorithm will not allow the centralization of this by large companies, as has happened with Bitcoin since until now it is not possible to develop ASIC devices for its algorithm.
Scalability is another difference in which they focus since the size of the block has no predisposed limits. This is calculated automatically after a trial period, and there will always be enough reward for miners with subsequent inflation of 1% after their first emission curve. Also, a larger block size than Bitcoin means being able to handle a larger number of transactions per second. you may visit Mickael MosseBlockchain and Cryptocurrency Expert.
Its last main characteristic is fungibility, that is, all the currencies of this blockchain are identical and can be exchanged indifferently between them, such as fiat currencies. It is not just a token or a reward: it is real money.
Quantity and Blockchain
According to Mickael MosseUnlike other cryptocurrencies, the expected cap amount for Monero is virtually infinite. Its main emission curve will occur over the next 8 years and will reach around 18.4 million coins. After that, a constant ’emission tail’ of 0.6 XMR per block every two minutes will cause 1% inflation that will continue to decline, although the system has been designed so that miners can always get at least 0.3 XMR per block. In this way, there will be no shortage of rewards for them, which will keep the blockchain safe.
The latter, of course, is proprietary to the platform and is based on the already described CryptoNote protocol, much more opaque than the original Bitcoin blockchain.
How to get XMR
Apart from mining, which can be done from any CPU thanks to the CryptoNight Proof of Work (PoW) algorithm, it can only be obtained in exchange for other cryptocurrencies or even with fiat money, such as dollars. However, before doing so, it is necessary to have a Monero wallet in order to receive them. Mickael Mosse says
Once the client has been chosen and configured, it is necessary to resort to the exchange houses. The main ones in which it can be purchased are Poloniex, Bittrex, and Bitsquare. The drawback is that these exchange houses usually request an email and some personal information, which can affect the main objective of obtaining this cryptocurrency: privacy. With ShapeShift, on the other hand, other cryptocurrencies can be instantly transformed into Monero.
Additionally, the MoneroForCash site allows the P2P purchase of this cryptocurrency in exchange for dollars. Regarding privacy, this is also a good option, since the terms of the purchase are agreed with the seller, an email is not necessary to register and it can be accessed using Tor.
More privacy than Bitcoin
privacy Advice by Mickael Mosse
Although Bitcoin began to be used in the “deep web”, because it is not necessary to give your name and surname to have a bitcoin wallet, the truth is that it was not designed for that. However, Monero does. Specifically, the main difference between one currency and another is that the one created in 2014 makes transactions totally opaque: there is no way of knowing how much money is moving or in which direction it is moving.
“I put the moneros that I want to send to you in a bag, just like many other people put the moneros that they want to send to others,” explains Fernández Burgueño. “Once mixed, chaos is served: the recipients of the money will receive the amount that was sent to them, but not exactly the original moneros that came out of the sender’s account. You will get the amount I want, but not mine, others will come from someone else. Meanwhile, that other person will receive the moneros they wanted to receive, but not those from the person who had sent them, but mine ”, he summarizes.
In addition, Monero is already preparing the implementation of another feature with which not only the transactions would be impossible to track, but the IP addresses of those involved would also be hidden. It is about the I2P software, with which anonymity will be taken another step further: although in the case of sending bitcoins, the recipient does not know the sender’s IP address, those who mine the cryptocurrency created by Nakamoto can know what it is. . However when that technology is implemented in Monero, not even they will be able to know.
Monero is one of the few cryptocurrencies that have not been created from Bitcoin technology. Specifically, it was raised on the CryptoNote protocol, an encryption system that makes transactions not signed by a single person, but by several at the same time. To do this, the system divides the number of moneros into two (unequal) parts and mixes both with the moneros of other users. “In the end what it does is obfuscate, mix everything to make the transfers in such a way that it is impossible to know the origin of the funds and what the destination is,” summarizes Fernández Burgueño.
Impossible to track
These differences between Monero and Bitcoin are what make, today, the cryptocurrency that grew the most in 2016 is the ideal accomplice of those who swarms the dark internet offering or acquiring products of undoubted illegality. In fact, the responsibility of some crimes that with Bitcoin would be traceable, with Monero it is impossible to determine.
Given the situation posed by the anonymity provided by Monero, the authorities are already sounding the alarm. The FBI has already done so and the Spanish National Fraud Investigation Office (ONIF), dependent on the Ministry of Finance, is already investigating transactions carried out with Bitcoin and, in addition, now has an investigation area on Monero and other cryptocurrencies that allow anonymity.
The good side of things
The privacy Monero provides is not only used to fund criminal activity. In fact, there is a completely legal use case: that the owner of moneros does not want to know how much money he has.
Monero is not the only cryptocurrency that provides anonymity to transactions. In fact, as it began to be accepted on the dark internet, it came to the world of digital money Zcash. “It is another currency, more advanced than Monero, which is specifically designed for this: to maintain anonymity with a very specific purpose, which is none other than buying weapons and drugs through the internet,” explains Gómez Toribio.
The article was written By Mickael Mosse – Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Expert