Monero (also known as XMR) was created in April 2014. This open-source cryptocurrency launched with a focus on privacy, decentralization, and fungibility, using a public ledger.
Anyone has the right to send or broadcast transactions for transparency, though no one external has access to the funds’ destination, value, or point of origin. The Proof of Work (PoW) algorithm issues new Monero coins and provides miners with an incentive to validate transactions, securing the Monero network.
One of the core aspects of Monero — the privacy — has helped this crypto to attract users looking to evade law enforcement during such situations as the WannaCry attacks (a form of ransomware) or purchasing illegal products/substances on the ‘dark web’.
However, Monero is still highly recommended for investors looking to take advantage of financial privacy, as balances and payments are kept hidden from others. This is not the norm for the majority of cryptocurrencies.
The beginning of XMR history
An essential point to discuss when talking about Monero history is the event which occurred in 2014, when a member of the Bitcointalk forum (recorded as thankful_for_today only) managed to fork the Bytecoin codebase into the title BitMonero. This catchy name was a compound of Bit and Monero (Esperanto for “coin”).
However, BitMonero’s release was received by the community which had backed it originally, and plans to enhance Bytecoin with a number of changes (such as tail emission and block time) were all ignored.
After this, the individual known as thankful_for_today vanished. But various other users, fronted by one Johnny Mnemonic (a name inspired by William Gibson’s cyberpunk short story) felt that the community would be the best option for taking charge of the project, and ultimately renamed BitMonero to simply Monero.
Thanks to the cryptocurrency’s impressive privacy capabilities, Monero managed to grow rapidly in transaction volume and market capitalization throughout 2016. It expanded and drew acclaim more quickly than any other cryptocurrency in that same twelve-month period. The main driver of the growth was its darknet market uptake, with users taking advantage of it to purchase questionable goods (drugs, guns, etc.). In July of the following year, the biggest darknet markets were shut down by authorities.
About Monero’s Darknet Past
Throughout Monero history, this crypto has been leveraged as a way to break connections between transactions from the start: some users will convert another cryptocurrency (such as Bitcoin) to Monero, before converting it back and sending it onto an unrelated address.
Monero’s transactions were made even more private in early 2017, with the adoption of Gregory Maxwell’s (a Bitcoin Core developer) Confidential Transactions algorithm. This hides the amount of transactions, working with an enhanced form of Ring Signatures.
Following a number of platforms facilitating online payments were closed down for white nationalists in the wake of 2017’s Unite the Right rally, certain individuals (such as Andrew Auernheimer and Christopher Cantwell) switched to Monero. They promoted it too.
Later in the same year, the people responsible for the WannaCry ransomware attack used Monero to convert their proceeds. Shortly after, the group behind the WannaCry code leak, began taking payments in Monero.
Coinhive created the script as an alternative to ads, allowing website visitors’ CPUs to mine Monero while they explored the webpage. The individual(s) owning the website or app would be given a percentage of the coins mined.
Some applications and websites conducted this underhanded practice without making their visitors aware, with certain hackers using it to drain said visitors’ CPUs. The script was soon blocked by businesses providing ad-block subscription lists, anti-malware services, and antivirus solutions.
What About Monero Future Incidents?
In early 2018, Bloomberg announced that the hackers responsible for stealing around 500 million NEM tokens (approximately $530m) from Coincheck would struggle to launder their purloined gains by selling them for Monero. The reason was that at least a single exchange — Shapeshift — had taken action and blocked NEM addresses connected to the high-profile theft.
Monero was utilized in more than 40 percent of cryptocurrency ransomware attacks in the first six months of 2018. In November of that year, Bail Block launched a mobile app designed to mine Monero, as a fund-raising initiative to aid low-income defendants unable to afford their own cash bail without assistance.
How Monero continues to be utilized in the future remains to be seen. But it’s fair to say XMR history is packed with more scandal than that of most other cryptocurrencies. Despite this crypto’s storied past, there are still many people interested in its powerful privacy.