Jump to content


Page semi-protected
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
(Redirected from Monero (cryptocurrency))

Original author(s)Nicolas van Saberhagen
White paper"CryptoNote v 2.0"
Initial release18 April 2014 (10 years ago) (2014-04-18)
Latest release0.18.3.3 / 2 April 2024 (2 months ago) (2024-04-02)
Code repositorygithub.com/monero-project/
Development statusActive
Project fork ofBytecoin [a]
Written inC++
Operating systemLinux, Windows, macOS, Android, FreeBSD
Source modelFOSS
LicenseMIT License
Timestamping schemeProof-of-work
Hash functionRandomX
Block rewardXMR 0.6 ≥[2][3]
Block time2 minutes
Circulating supply>18,444,828 (2024-06-02)
Supply limitUnlimited
  1. ^ Source code fork shouldn't be confused with hard forks or soft forks.

Monero (/məˈnɛr/; Abbreviation: XMR) is a cryptocurrency which uses a blockchain with privacy-enhancing technologies to obfuscate transactions to achieve anonymity and fungibility. Observers cannot decipher addresses trading Monero, transaction amounts, address balances, or transaction histories.[4]

The protocol is open source and based on CryptoNote v2, a concept described in a 2013 white paper authored by Nicolas van Saberhagen. Developers used this concept to design Monero, and deployed its mainnet in 2014. The Monero protocol includes various methods to obfuscate transaction details, though users can optionally share view keys for third-party auditing.[5] Transactions are validated through a miner network running RandomX, a proof-of-work algorithm. The algorithm issues new coins to miners and was designed to be resistant against application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) mining.

Monero's privacy features have attracted cypherpunks and users desiring privacy measures not provided in other cryptocurrencies. A Dutch-Italian study published in 2022 decisively concluded "For now, Monero is untraceable. However, it is probably only a matter of time and effort before it changes."[6]

Due to its perceived untraceablity Monero is gaining increased use in illicit activities such as money laundering, darknet markets, ransomware, cryptojacking, and other organized crime. The United States Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has posted bounties for contractors that can develop Monero-tracing technologies.[7]


Monero's roots can be traced back to CryptoNote v2, a cryptocurrency protocol first described in a white paper published by Nicolas van Saberhagen (presumed pseudonymous) in October 2013.[8] The author described privacy and anonymity as "the most important aspects of electronic cash" and called bitcoin's traceability a "critical flaw".[9] A Bitcointalk forum user "thankful_for_today" coded these ideas into a coin they dubbed BitMonero. Other forum users disagreed with thankful_for_today's direction for BitMonero, so forked it in 2014 to create Monero.[8] Monero translates to coin in Esperanto.[8] Both van Saberhagen and thankful_for_today remain anonymous.[8]

Monero has the third-largest community of developers, behind bitcoin and Ethereum.[9] The protocol's lead maintainer was previously South African developer Riccardo Spagni.[10] Much of the core development team chooses to remain anonymous.[11]

Improvements to Monero's protocol and features are, in part, the task of the Monero Research Lab (MRL), some of whom are anonymous.[citation needed]


Ring signatures create ambiguity in blockchain analysis

Monero's key features are those around privacy and anonymity.[12][8][11] Even though it is a public and decentralized ledger, all transaction details are obfuscated.[13] This contrasts to bitcoin, where all transaction details, user addresses, and wallet balances are public and transparent.[8][11] These features have given Monero a loyal following among crypto anarchists, cypherpunks, and privacy advocates.[9]

The transaction outputs, or notes, of users sending Monero are obfuscated through ring signatures, which groups a sender's outputs with other decoy outputs.[14] Encryption of transaction amounts began in 2017 with the implementation of ring confidential transactions (RingCTs).[8][15] Developers also implemented a zero-knowledge proof method, "Bulletproofs", which guarantee a transaction occurred without revealing its value.[16] Monero recipients are protected through "stealth addresses", addresses generated by users to receive funds, but untraceable to an owner by a network observer.[8] These privacy features are enforced on the network by default.[8]

Monero uses Dandelion++, a protocol which obscures the IP address of devices producing transactions. This is done through a method of transaction broadcast propagation; new transactions are initially passed to one node on Monero's peer-to-peer network, and a repeated probabilistic method is used to determine when the transaction should be sent to just one node or broadcast to many nodes in a process called flooding.[17][18]

Efforts to trace transactions

In April 2017, researchers highlighted three major threats to Monero users' privacy. The first relies on leveraging the ring signature size of zero, and ability to see the output amounts. The second, "Leveraging Output Merging", involves tracking transactions where two outputs belong to the same user, such as when they send funds to themselves ("churning"). Finally, "Temporal Analysis", shows that predicting the right output in a ring signature could potentially be easier than previously thought.[19] According to a blog post from Monero developers, they had already addressed the first concern with the introduction of RingCTs in January 2017, as well as mandating a minimum size of ring signatures in March 2016.[20] In 2018, researchers presented possible vulnerabilities in a paper titled "An Empirical Analysis of Traceability in the Monero Blockchain".[21]

In September 2020, the United States Internal Revenue Service's criminal investigation division (IRS-CI), posted a $625,000 bounty for contractors who could develop tools to help trace Monero, other privacy-enhanced cryptocurrencies, the Bitcoin Lightning Network, or other "layer 2" protocol.[7][9] The contract was awarded to blockchain analysis groups Chainalysis and Integra FEC.[9]


Monero GUI running on a remote node

Monero uses a proof-of-work algorithm, RandomX, to validate transactions. The method was introduced in November 2019 to replace the former algorithm CryptoNightR.[22][23] Both algorithms were designed to be resistant to ASIC mining, which is commonly used to mine other cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin.[24][25] Monero can be mined somewhat efficiently on consumer-grade hardware such as x86, x86-64, ARM and GPUs, a design decision which was based on Monero project's opposition to mining centralisation which ASIC mining creates,[26] but has also resulted in Monero's popularity among malware-based non-consensual miners.[27][28]

Mining is not very profitable at June 2024 prices. However, the consistency of the payouts for an XMR miner are clear. Examine the graphic, "Monero XMR Mining Profits", for an example of a five computer P2Pool cluster mining XMR with one of the machines hosting the full Monero blockchain and a mining pool daemon (P2Pool). These older consumer model systems are almost paying for their electrical needs in a quite predictable manner.

Monero XMR Mining Profits

Illicit use

Monero's privacy features have made it popular for illicit purposes.[13][29][30]

Darknet markets

Monero is a common medium of exchange on darknet markets.[8] In August 2016, dark market AlphaBay permitted its vendors to start accepting Monero as an alternative to bitcoin.[8] The site was taken offline by law enforcement in 2017,[31] but it was relaunched in 2021 with Monero as the sole permitted currency.[32] Reuters reported in 2019 that three of the five largest darknet markets accepted Monero, though bitcoin was still the most widely used form of payment in those markets.[13]

Mining malware

Hackers have embedded malware into websites and applications that hijack victim CPUs to mine Monero (sometimes called cryptojacking).[10][33] In late 2017, malware and antivirus service providers blocked Coinhive, a JavaScript implementation of a Monero miner that was embedded in websites and apps, in some cases by hackers. Coinhive generated the script as an alternative to advertisements; a website or app could embed it, and use website visitor's CPU to mine the cryptocurrency while the visitor is consuming the content of the webpage, with the site or app owner getting a percentage of the mined coins.[34] Some websites and apps did this without informing visitors, or in some cases using all possible system resources. As a result, the script was blocked by companies offering ad blocking subscription lists, antivirus services, and antimalware services.[35][33] Coinhive had been previously found hidden in Showtime-owned streaming platforms[36] and Starbucks Wi-Fi hotspots in Argentina.[10][37] Researchers in 2018 found similar malware that mined Monero and sent it to Kim Il-sung University in North Korea.[38]


Ransomware deployed in 2021 by REvil. The hackers are demanding payment in Monero.[39]

Monero is sometimes used by ransomware groups. According to CNBC, in the first half of 2018, Monero was used in 44% of cryptocurrency ransomware attacks.[40]

The perpetrators of the 2017 WannaCry ransomware attack, which was attributed by the US government to North Korean threat actors,[41] attempted to exchange the ransom they collected in Bitcoin to Monero. Ars Technica and Fast Company reported that the exchange was successful,[42][10] but BBC News reported that the service the criminals attempted to use, ShapeShift, denied any such transfer.[43] The Shadow Brokers, who leaked the exploits which were subsequently used in WannaCry but are unlikely to have been involved in the attack, began accepting Monero as payment later in 2017.[42]

In 2021, CNBC, the Financial Times, and Newsweek reported that demand for Monero was increasing following the recovery of a bitcoin ransom paid in the Colonial Pipeline cyber attack.[11][9][44] The May 2021 hack forced the pipeline to pay a $4.4M ransom in bitcoin, though a large portion was recovered by the United States federal government the following month.[44] The group behind the attack, DarkSide, normally requests payment in either bitcoin or Monero, but charge a 10–20% premium for payments made in bitcoin due to its increased traceability risk.[9] Ransomware group REvil removed the option of paying ransom in bitcoin in 2021, demanding only Monero.[9] Ransomware negotiators, groups that help victims pay ransoms, have contacted Monero developers to understand the technology.[9] Despite this, CNBC reported that bitcoin was still the currency of choice demanded in most ransomware attacks, as insurers refuse to pay Monero ransom payments because of traceability concerns.[11]

Regulatory responses

The attribution of Monero to illicit markets has influenced some exchanges to forgo listing it. This has made it more difficult for users to exchange Monero for fiat currencies or other cryptocurrencies.[11] Exchanges in South Korea and Australia have delisted Monero and other privacy coins due to regulatory pressure.[45]

In 2018, Europol and its director Rob Wainwright wrote that the year would see criminals shift from using bitcoin to using Monero, as well as Ethereum, Dash, and Zcash.[46] Bloomberg and CNN reported that this demand for Monero was because authorities were becoming better at monitoring the Bitcoin blockchain.[47][46]

On 20 February 2024, the cryptocurrency exchange Binance delisted Monero, citing regulatory compliance.[48]

On 11 April 2024, Kraken announced they would be delisting Monero for users located in Ireland and Belgium on June 10, 2024. As of the 10th of May 2024 Monero deposits and trades have been suspended.[49]


  • After many online payment platforms shut down access for white nationalists following the Unite the Right rally in 2017, some of them, including Christopher Cantwell and Andrew Auernheimer ("weev"), started using and promoting Monero.[50][51]
  • In December 2017, the Monero team announced a partnership with 35 musicians for Monero to be used as a form of payment for their online stores.[10]
  • In November 2018, Bail Bloc released a mobile app that mines Monero to raise funds for low-income defendants who cannot otherwise cover their own bail.[52][53]
  • In April 2020, the Monero Film Workgroup released Monero Means Money: Cryptocurrency 101, Live from Leipzig, a documentary feature film that was the second highest grossing film in the United States for the weekend of April 10, 2020 according to The Numbers (when theaters were shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic). Proceeds of the film went to independent theaters.[54][55]

See also


  1. ^ "Moneropedia: Denominations". Archived from the original on 29 June 2022. Retrieved 29 June 2022.
  2. ^ Zero to Monero: Second Edition (PDF) (v2.0.0 ed.). 4 April 2020. pp. 64–65. Retrieved 5 June 2024.
  3. ^ "Examining the Implications of Monero's Latest Fork". www.binance.com. Retrieved 5 June 2024.
  4. ^ Braun-Dubler, Nils; Gier, Hans-Peter; Bulatnikova, Tetiana; Langhart, Manuel; Merki, Manuela; Roth, Florian; Burret, Antoine; Perdrisat, Simon (16 June 2020). Blockchain: Capabilities, Economic Viability, and the Socio-Technical Environment. vdf Hochschulverlag AG. pp. 165–167. ISBN 978-3-7281-4016-6. Archived from the original on 29 October 2023. Retrieved 22 July 2023.
  5. ^ Lacity, Mary C.; Lupien, Steven C. (8 August 2022). Blockchain Fundamentals for Web 3.0: -. University of Arkansas Press. pp. 9–33. ISBN 978-1-61075-790-4. Archived from the original on 29 October 2023. Retrieved 22 July 2023.
  6. ^ Bahamazava K, Nanda R. The shift of DarkNet illegal drug trade preferences in cryptocurrency: The question of traceability and deterrence. For Sci Int: Dig Investigation. 2022;40 doi: 10.1016/j.fsidi.2022.301377.
  7. ^ a b Franceschi-Bicchierai, Lorenzo (2020-09-12). "The IRS Wants to Buy Tools to Trace Privacy-Focused Cryptocurrency Monero Archived 2020-12-02 at the Wayback Machine". Motherboard. Retrieved 2020-12-17.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Monero, the Drug Dealer's Cryptocurrency of Choice, Is on Fire". WIRED. Archived from the original on 10 December 2018. Retrieved 22 November 2017.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i Murphy, Hannah (22 June 2021). "Inside monero, emerging crypto of choice for cybercriminals". Financial Times. Archived from the original on 3 November 2021. Retrieved 22 June 2021.
  10. ^ a b c d e Melendez, Steven (18 December 2017). "Highly Anonymized Cryptocurrency Monero Peeks Out Of The Shadows". Fast Company. Archived from the original on 18 December 2017. Retrieved 22 June 2021.
  11. ^ a b c d e f Sigalos, MacKenzie (13 June 2021). "Why some cyber criminals are ditching bitcoin for a cryptocurrency called monero". CNBC. Archived from the original on 13 June 2021. Retrieved 22 June 2021.
  12. ^ Hern, Alex (11 December 2017). "Missed the bitcoin boom? Five more baffling cryptocurrencies to blow your savings on". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Archived from the original on 15 December 2018. Retrieved 11 December 2018.
  13. ^ a b c Wilson, Tom (15 May 2019). "Explainer: 'Privacy coin' Monero offers near total anonymity". Reuters. Archived from the original on 6 October 2023. Retrieved 11 June 2021.
  14. ^ "Moneropedia: Ring Signature". getmonero.org, The Monero Project. Archived from the original on 23 April 2022. Retrieved 26 April 2023.
  15. ^ "Bittercoin: true blockchain believers versus the trough of disillusionment". TechCrunch. 13 March 2017. Archived from the original on 20 December 2018. Retrieved 19 December 2018.
  16. ^ Alsalami, Nasser; Zhang, Bingsheng (2019). "SoK: A Systematic Study of Anonymity in Cryptocurrencies". 2019 IEEE Conference on Dependable and Secure Computing (DSC). pp. 1–6. doi:10.1109/DSC47296.2019.8937681.
  17. ^ Bojja Venkatakrishnan, Shaileshh; Fanti, Giulia; Viswanath, Pramod (13 June 2017). "Dandelion: Redesigning the Bitcoin Network for Anonymity". Proceedings of the ACM on Measurement and Analysis of Computing Systems. 1 (1): 22:1–22:34. arXiv:1701.04439. doi:10.1145/3084459.
  18. ^ Fanti, Giulia; Venkatakrishnan, Shaileshh Bojja; Bakshi, Surya; Denby, Bradley; Bhargava, Shruti; Miller, Andrew; Viswanath, Pramod (13 June 2018). "Dandelion++: Lightweight Cryptocurrency Networking with Formal Anonymity Guarantees". Proceedings of the ACM on Measurement and Analysis of Computing Systems. 2 (2): 29:1–29:35. arXiv:1805.11060. doi:10.1145/3224424.
  19. ^ Kumar, Amrit et al. (2017). "A Traceability Analysis of Monero's Blockchain Archived 2017-07-10 at the Wayback Machine". Cryptology ePrint Archive. Retrieved 2020-12-20.
  20. ^ "An Unofficial Response to 'An Empirical Analysis of Linkability in the Monero Blockchain' Archived 2020-11-24 at the Wayback Machine". GetMonero.org. Retrieved 2020-12-20.
  21. ^ Moser, Malte et al. (2018). "An Empirical Analysis of Traceability in the Monero Blockchain". Proceedings on Privacy Enhancing Technologies. 2018 (3): 143. doi:10.1515/popets-2018-0025.
  22. ^ "RandomX is a new Proof-of-Work (PoW) algorithm used where decentralisation matters". www.monerooutreach.org. 5 June 2019. Archived from the original on 13 August 2019. Retrieved 13 August 2019.
  23. ^ ErCiccione. "Monero "Carbon Chamaeleon" released". Monero. Archived from the original on 8 December 2019. Retrieved 16 January 2020.
  24. ^ "How a few companies are bitcoining it". The Economist. 19 May 2018. ISSN 0013-0613. Archived from the original on 9 December 2018. Retrieved 11 December 2018.
  25. ^ Gibbs, Samuel (13 December 2017). "Billions of video site visitors unwittingly mine cryptocurrency as they watch". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Archived from the original on 13 November 2020. Retrieved 11 December 2018.
  26. ^ Oberhaus, Daniel (9 April 2018). "What Is an ASIC Miner and Is It the Future of Cryptocurrency?". www.vice.com. Vice Media. Archived from the original on 18 August 2022. Retrieved 8 January 2022.
  27. ^ Brandom, Russell (19 December 2017). "Backdoor coin-mining hacks are spreading as prices rise". The Verge. Archived from the original on 11 December 2018. Retrieved 11 December 2018.
  28. ^ Palmer, Danny. "Cyber attackers are cashing in on cryptocurrency mining - but here's why they're avoiding bitcoin". ZDNet. Archived from the original on 26 March 2019. Retrieved 11 December 2018.
  29. ^ Kshetri, Nir (2018). "Cryptocurrencies: Transparency Versus Privacy". Computer. IEEE Computer Society. 51 (11): 99–111. doi:10.1109/MC.2018.2876182.
  30. ^ "Meet Monero, the Currency Dark Net Dealers Hope Is More Anonymous Than Bitcoin". Motherboard. 23 August 2016. Archived from the original on 18 November 2018. Retrieved 18 November 2018.
  31. ^ Statt, Nick (14 July 2017). "Dark Web drug marketplace AlphaBay was shut down by law enforcement". The Verge. Vox Media. Archived from the original on 15 July 2017.
  32. ^ Greenberg, Andy (23 September 2021). "He Escaped the Dark Web's Biggest Bust. Now He's Back". Wired. Condé Nast Publications. Archived from the original on 23 September 2021.
  33. ^ a b Tung, Liam. "Android security: Coin miners show up in apps and sites to wear out your CPU". ZDNet. Archived from the original on 5 December 2017. Retrieved 22 November 2017.
  34. ^ Thomson, Iain (19 October 2017). "Stealth web crypto-cash miner Coinhive back to the drawing board as blockers move in". The Register. Archived from the original on 7 November 2017. Retrieved 3 November 2017.
  35. ^ Goodin, Dan (30 October 2017). "A surge of sites and apps are exhausting your CPU to mine cryptocurrency". Ars Technica. Archived from the original on 3 November 2017. Retrieved 3 November 2017.
  36. ^ "Showtime's Websites May Have Used Your CPU to Mine Cryptocoin While You Binged on Twin Peaks". Gizmodo. 25 September 2017. Archived from the original on 24 June 2021. Retrieved 22 June 2021.
  37. ^ "Hackers Hijacked an Internet Provider to Mine Cryptocurrency with Laptops In Starbucks". www.vice.com. 14 December 2017. Archived from the original on 24 June 2021. Retrieved 22 June 2021.
  38. ^ Kharpal, Arjun (9 January 2018). "Hackers have found a way to mine cryptocurrency and send it to North Korea". CNBC. Archived from the original on 9 July 2022. Retrieved 22 June 2021.
  39. ^ Barrett, Brian (2 July 2021). "A New Kind of Ransomware Tsunami Hits Hundreds of Companies". WIRED. Archived from the original on 3 July 2021.
  40. ^ Rooney, Kate (7 June 2018). "$1.1 billion in cryptocurrency has been stolen this year, and it was apparently easy to do". CNBC. Archived from the original on 6 September 2018. Retrieved 6 September 2018.
  41. ^ Uchill, Joe (19 December 2017). "WH: Kim Jong Un behind massive WannaCry malware attack". The Hill. Archived from the original on 13 June 2023. Retrieved 13 June 2023.
  42. ^ a b Gallagher, Sean (4 August 2017). "Researchers say WannaCry operator moved bitcoins to "untraceable" Monero". Ars Technica. Archived from the original on 22 July 2018. Retrieved 22 June 2021.
  43. ^ "Wannacry money laundering attempt thwarted". BBC News. 4 August 2017. Archived from the original on 13 July 2023. Retrieved 22 June 2021.
  44. ^ a b Browne, Ed (15 June 2021). "Monero developer expects more criminal groups to use the crypto for ransoms". Newsweek. Archived from the original on 21 March 2023. Retrieved 22 June 2021.
  45. ^ Ikeda, Scott (2020-11-17). "South Korea's New Crypto AML Law Bans Trading of "Privacy Coins" (Monero, Zcash) Archived 2020-12-16 at the Wayback Machine". CPO magazine. Retrieved 2020-12-17.
  46. ^ a b Kottasová, Ivana (3 January 2018). "Bitcoin is too hot for criminals. They're using monero instead". CNNMoney. Archived from the original on 11 February 2023. Retrieved 22 June 2021.
  47. ^ Kharif, Olga (2 January 2018). "The Criminal Underworld Is Dropping Bitcoin for Another Currency". Bloomberg. Archived from the original on 4 June 2021. Retrieved 4 June 2021.
  48. ^ "Binance Delisting Sparks Privacy Concerns". ft. Financial Times. Archived from the original on 21 February 2024. Retrieved 21 February 2024.(subscription required)
  49. ^ "Notice of asset delisting in Ireland and Belgium for Monero (XMR)". Kraken. Archived from the original on 15 April 2024. Retrieved 14 April 2024.
  50. ^ Hayden, Michael Edison (27 March 2018). "White supremacists are investing in a cryptocurrency that promises to be completely untraceable". Newsweek. Archived from the original on 7 April 2019. Retrieved 6 September 2018.
  51. ^ Cox, Joseph (5 March 2018). "Neo-Nazis Turn to Privacy-Focused Cryptocurrency Monero". Motherboard. Archived from the original on 6 September 2018. Retrieved 6 September 2018.
  52. ^ "Mining cryptocurrency helps raise bail for those who can't". CBC Radio. Archived from the original on 28 September 2018. Retrieved 18 November 2018.
  53. ^ "You Can Now Mine Cryptocurrency to Bail People Out of Jail". Motherboard. 15 November 2017. Archived from the original on 18 November 2018. Retrieved 18 November 2018.
  54. ^ "Weekend Domestic Chart for April 10, 2020". The Numbers. Archived from the original on 12 April 2023. Retrieved 12 April 2023.
  55. ^ Pearson, Jordan (24 April 2020). "How a Random Guy Made the #2 Movie in America for $1,000". Motherboard. Vice Media Group. Archived from the original on 12 April 2023. Retrieved 12 April 2023.

External links