Halloween is a wonderful time of year!
Businesses and consumers alike dress up, children go door to door naively asking strangers for candy, and everyone parties celebrating things like death and evil.
In the spirit of Halloween storytelling, let me tell you a scary story.
There once was a Canadian cryptocurrency exchange. It had one of the simplest user interfaces, the CEO was well known in person and trusted throughout the country for over half a decade, and it had several deposit and withdrawal methods. It was the first to register as a money services business and for much of its history, it was one of the most legally compliant exchanges. It even looked to be headed for public listing on the TSX. The exchange operated for 6 years, assuring users that all funds “are stored in cold storage, using some of the most secure cryptographic procedures possible.” Unfortunately, while we celebrate Halloween by dressing up and wearing masks once a year, the wonderful people who brought us this exchange played “dress up” for over half a decade and time will only tell if there are any more “masks” to come off in this story.
There’s no better or more fitting time to explore one of the darkest realities of the Canadian cryptocurrency space - exactly what is backing any of the cryptocurrency on Canadian exchanges. It’s easy to lose sight that there are real people behind these funds. Most people spend most waking hours working for their money. It literally is their lives. Impacts to victims are not just financial, but psychological and social as well. Victims of exchange fraud go through depression, anxiety, and trauma. They lose their trust and faith in humanity. They withdraw from friends and family in shame and humility.
In the spirit of exploring dark and evil things, let’s examine exactly what evidence there is that any of your crypto is backed on any Canadian exchange. This is a continuation of research I’ve been working on since May/June. I hope it will be enlightening and help you better protect your funds that you worked hard for.
I’ve done a detailed analysis of all Canadian exchanges I could find that handle any sort of custody of funds, and grouped them into 3 categories:
- Not Audited. The only assurance I was able to find that any crypto on the exchange is backed are their words. I was unable to locate any public audit or report of an audit.
- Audited. This means that at some point in the past, the exchange invited someone with a reasonable level of credibility, who they showed the wallets to. This person/group, at that point, was sufficiently convinced that funds were actually held by the exchange.
- Proof of Reserves. An advanced real time public audit algorithm. It shows that funds exist right on the blockchain, validates access to those funds, and uses a hash tree to enable any customer to verify that their balance is included in the total.
Non-Audited Exchanges (“trust us, we haven't spent your money, we promise")
Bitvo - The service “utilizes a proprietary cold storage solution”. Proprietary, as in, definitely better than established non-proprietary solutions. If you can’t withdraw, they “will credit your account for [their] withdrawal fee”. They’re not an MSB that I could find, nor are they audited.
Coinfield - MSB
. No audit. Luckily it’s the "most secure trading platform in Canada" - though apparently not the other 150+ countries, including Estonia where they’re based. No matter which country you pick, the “Security” page still says "most secure trading platform in Canada".
Coinsmart - MSB
. Not sure what "[i]ndustry leading cold storage" is, but luckily they’re so "accountable to [their] clients, community and to each other" and "committed to being open and honest" that they don’t need any audit.
Coinut - MSB
. Also "the most secure cryptocurrency exchange platform". In addition to not using multi-sig and "not us[ing] USB drives, as the online computer may be infected with virus", they also don’t use audits.
Einstein - You can get “your money deposited and withdrawn faster than any other exchange”. As one customer said "With so many hacks and exit scams, it gives me confidence knowing Einstein is backed by hard-working people just like me." Just check the user experience on their subreddit
from their "220,000+ satisfied customers".
EZ-BTC - As they said, “All your coins are kept in cold storage. They’re safe.”
They have “strong security”. The supposed presence of physical ATMs was one of the strategies to build customer confidence and they promised 9% annual return on stored funds.
NDAX - MSB
. Luckily also “Canada’s most secure trading platform” with "fast withdrawals". I couldn’t find any audit but at least there’s a full page risk disclosure
. You can sleep peacefully knowing that they’re legally protected.
Netcoins - MSB
. The best assurance I could find of solvency is that they “can process large transactions”. Although they don’t waste time with audits or links at the bottom of their website, apparently “[a]ll transactions happen quickly and securely” “within the same day”.
Newton - MSB
. “No-fees”! Your funds are stored in the "professional custody" of Balance
, which doesn’t appear to be a registered MSB. I couldn't find any audit of the funds but they "audit [their] policies and controls". They "publish the reports", but I couldn't find any reports. Simply storing funds somewhere else doesn’t give any assurance they cover customer balances.
QuadrigaCX - Operated since 2013, with “vast cryptocurrency reserves” right up to the end. "Bitcoins that are funded in QuadrigaCX are stored in cold storage, using some of the most secure cryptographic procedures possible."
Their "cryptographic" procedures are so secure that nobody can access any funds, even now!
Shakepay - MSB
. Many will trust the raccoon mascot promising “commission-free” trading. No audit found but the “majority of all digital assets on Shakepay are stored securely offline”. Whatever this means, it’s good to know that up to half might not be.
Audited Exchanges ("so and so swears we didn't spend your money, you can trust them, we showed them once before")
Bitbuy - MSB
- “So and so” is Cipherblade, a security consultant group founded by a guy named Richard Sanders.
- The audit was conducted on March 18th and 19th of 2019 and the full report is here.
- Overall assessment: Bitbuy has a long history of buying/selling bitcoin without custody, and is likely too new to offering custody to have been hacked yet. The fact they have taken proactive steps shows promise.
Coinberry - MSB
- According to the site, they "undergo annual 3rd party financial statement audits", but don’t mention by whom. According to “Newswire”, it’s a firm called MNP LLP.
- I was unable to find any published report on the audit, which was completed prior to January 17th, 2019.
- Overall assessment: It’s hard not to be a fan of Medium articles describing proactive steps that a company is taking, however without an actual report it can be difficult to assess the integrity of the reserves.
Coinsquare - MSB
- No audit is mentioned on their website, however multiple news sources report that one occurred. According to TechVibes, the audit was completed "by a national accounting firm whose identity is protected under an NDA", which is the best I was able to ascertain from several news sources.
- A report about the audit was found as early as September 27th, 2018. TechVibes indicates "the audit covered the operational years of 2015, 2016 and 2017 for Coinsquare, and concluded an “unmodified opinion,” which means the financial statements from those years are “free from material misinformation.”" Other articles had even less information, and I was unable to find any published report.
- Overall assessment: The fact that an audit was completed is a great step in the right direction, however the fact the firm is undisclosed by NDA, the audit is completely unmentioned on their website, and minimal details are available should be concerning. It also may be concerning that they claim to be "[t]he most secure trading platform" and also "100% proprietary". This would imply the team at Coinsquare is smarter than established security standards by experts all around the world at protecting your funds, contradicting recently reported incidents.
Kraken - Not a registered MSB in Canada (that I could find)
- “So and so” is Stephan Thomas, CTO of Ripple.
- The page literally says the audit was done "over the past several weeks", and since the page doesn’t have any date you might assume it’s recent. But look closely at the screenshot and you’ll see a date in 2014! Yes, that’s 5 years ago!
- Overall assessment: While it certainly feels good to know an audit was done, the opinion of one individual from 5 years ago doesn’t say much about the state of anything today and they openly admit all kinds of limitations.
Proof of Reserves ("here's your money, right here right now on the blockchain, and here's a proof that we included your balance in that total")
Rather than depend on outdated audits (or lack thereof), it’s actually possible to use the blockchain and cryptography to enable a public real-time audit. This can give assurance to every customer that their balances are fully backed. Giving everyone the ability to check the integrity of balances will keep us all safer. It immediately exposes any fraud, and in most major hacking cases there was advanced hacking that went unnoticed ranging from months (Bitgrail), or years (Mt. Gox). Having an aware public reduces the number of people trading on fraudulent exchanges, and can pressure the exchange to shut down trading or resolve the hack faster, so less funds are permanently lost.
To help explain exactly what this is and how it works, I’ve started a detailed tutorial. I did not come up with this algorithm - it was created in 2014 by a guy named Gregory Maxwell. Sometimes cryptography can be hard to understand. Hopefully this tutorial is simple:
Given what can often be at stake, I had hoped that maybe one of the “audited” exchanges might embrace Proof of Reserves. Sadly I haven’t had any such luck.
- Actually they reached out to me in response to one of my posts on Reddit July 14th, asking for detailed feedback on their services.
- I provided an extensive summary of my research (I’d just put together descriptions of every exchange for a business plan.)
- As of today, that response, which included Proof of Reserves among a multitude of other suggestions, is still unanswered.
- On the 4th of July I actually got a response from them to a casual mention where I was recommending their exchange (based on the Medium articles).
- Their response, which didn’t address the Proof of Reserves, included the statement “All coins on our platform are 100% secured offline in cold storage“. On their site, Coinberry shows 15 minute withdrawal times in one of the screenshots. Perhaps they have a team standing around “offline” and ready to service withdrawals 24/7.
- My subsequent response to them was not answered.
- On their website they expressly give reasons why they don’t want "public knowledge of exchanges’ or wallet providers’ bitcoin wallets and total holdings".
- They claim it has an effect on security, however public keys do not enable any access to funds - only private keys can. One would hope that their security of funds doesn’t depend on not knowing which wallets they own, since the blockchain is pretty public.
- They also claim an effect on user privacy, which is important. Nobody should have any illusion that transactions to or from an exchange are secret in any way. I would highly recommend using privacy coins and setting up new wallets regularly, given that transactions are completely public on the blockchain already.
- I was unable to get any clarification, either in live chat or multiple Reddit posts. Understandable, given the size of their operation.
- Given that this was their stance after Mt. Gox, it seems unlikely to change based on recent events half a decade later affecting a much smaller exchange.
As such, the bottom line is that present exchanges don’t want to share public keys and offer the kind of transparency which is necessary to enable customers to know their funds are backed. Attempting to get answers doesn’t reveal them, and I’m left with an unnerving silence not unlike the end of Halloween night, like I’m asking questions nobody should ask.
Having spent the last 8 months of my life watching and being part of a large group of people suffer through a grueling bankruptcy, where we’ll be “lucky” to only lose 90% of our funds, I want this fixed. I don’t want to live in a reality where fraud can happen just buying/selling on the largest and most trusted exchanges. Especially now that I’ve learned blockchain provides the capability for even greater transparency and a level of public audit far beyond even what's possible with fiat.
If you feel the same way, I invite you to join Quadriga Initiative
, where we are fighting for a Proof of Reserves future
and also enabling businesses to help Quadriga victims with an innovative token recovery project
. Every sign-up helps us reach our goal and launch the project!
If any information in this post is incorrect, please let me know so I can fix it! Thanks! I’m happy to update the audit status of any exchange given reasonable evidence, or provide a review of any other custodial exchange I might have missed.
/////Your Guide to Monero, and Why It Has Great Potential///// Marketing
It's a dirty word for most members of the Monero community.
It is also one of the most divisive words in the Monero community. Yet, the lack of marketing is one of the most frustrating things for many newcomers.
This is what makes this an unusual post from a member of the Monero community.
This post is an unabashed and unsolicited analyzation of why I believe Monero to have great potential.
Below I have attempted to outline different reasons why Monero has great potential, beginning with upcoming developments and use cases, to broader economic motives, speculation, and key issues for it to overcome.
I encourage you to discuss and criticise my musings, commenting below if you feel necessary to do so.
///Upcoming Developments/// Bulletproofs - A Reduction in Transaction Sizes and Fees
Since the introduction of Ring Confidential Transactions (Ring CT), transaction amounts have been hidden in Monero, albeit at the cost of increased transaction fees and sizes. In order to mitigate this issue, Bulletproofs will soon be added to reduce both fees and transaction size by 80% to 90%
. This is great news for those transacting smaller USD amounts as people commonly complained Monero's fees were too high! Not any longer though! More information can be found here
. Bulletproofs are already working on the Monero testnet, and developers were aiming to introduce them in March 2018, however it could be delayed in order to ensure everything is tried and tested. Multisig Multisig has recently been merged!
Mulitsig, also called multisignature, is the requirement for a transaction to have two or more signatures before it can be executed. Multisig transactions and addresses are indistinguishable from normal transactions and addresses in Monero, and provide more security than single-signature transactions. It is believed this will lead to additional marketplaces and exchanges to supporting Monero. Kovri Kovri
is an implementation of the Invisible Internet Project (I2P) network. Kovri uses both garlic encryption and garlic routing to create a private, protected overlay-network across the internet. This overlay-network provides users with the ability to effectively hide their geographical location and internet IP address. The good news is Kovri is under heavy development and will be available soon. Unlike other coins' false privacy claims, Kovri is a game changer as it will further elevate Monero as the king of privacy. Mobile Wallets
There is already a working Android Wallet called Monerujo
available in the Google Play Store. X Wallet
is an IOS mobile wallet. One of the X Wallet developers recently announced
they are very, very close to being listed in the Apple App Store, however are having some issues with getting it approved
. The official Monero IOS and Android wallets, along with the MyMonero IOS and Android wallets, are also almost ready to be released, and can be expected very soon. Hardware Wallets
Hardware wallets are currently being developed and nearing completion. Because Monero is based on the CryptoNote protocol, it means it requires unique development in order to allow hardware wallet integration. The Ledger Nano S will be adding Monero support by the end of Q1 2018
. There is a recent update here too.
Even better, for the first time ever in cryptocurrency history, the Monero community banded together to fund the development of an exclusive Monero Hardware Wallet, and will be available in Q2 2018, costing only about $20!
In addition, the CEO of Trezor has offered a 10BTC bounty
to whoever can provide the software to allow Monero integration. Someone can be seen to already be working on that here
. TAILS Operating System Integration
Monero is in the progress of being packaged in order for it to be integrated into TAILS
and ready to use upon install. TAILS is the operating system popularised by Edward Snowden and is commonly used by those requiring privacy such as journalists wanting to protect themselves and sources, human-right defenders organizing in repressive contexts, citizens facing national emergencies, domestic violence survivors escaping from their abusers
, and consequently, darknet market users.
In the meantime, for those users who wish to use TAILS with Monero, u/Electric_sheep01
has provided Sheep's Noob guide to Monero GUI in Tails 3.2
, which is a step-by-step guide with screenshots explaining how to setup Monero in TAILS, and is very easy to follow. Mandatory Hardforks
Unlike other coins, Monero receives a protocol upgrade every 6 months in March and September. Think of it as a Consensus Protocol Update
. Monero's hard forks ensure quality development takes place, while preventing political or ideological issues from hindering progress. When a hardfork occurs, you simply download and use the new daemon version, and your existing wallet files and copy of the blockchain remain compatible. This reddit post
provides more information. Dynamic fees
Many cryptocurrencies have an arbitrary block size limit. Although Monero has a limit, it is adaptive based on the past 100 blocks. Similarly, fees change based on transaction volume. As more transactions are processed on the Monero network, the block size limit slowly increases and the fees slowly decrease. The opposite effect also holds true. This means that the more transactions that take place, the cheaper the fees! Tail Emission and Inflation
There will be around 18.4 million Monero mined at the end of May 2022. However, tail emission will kick in after that which is 0.6 XMR, so it has no fixed limit. Gundamlancer explains
that Monero's "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 inflatio starting with 0.87% yearly inflation around May 2022) to prevent the lack of incentives for miners once a currency is not mineable anymore. Monero Research Lab
Monero has a group of anonymous/pseudo-anonymous university academics actively researching, developing, and publishing academic papers in order to improve Monero. See here
. The Monero Research Lab are acquainted with other members of cryptocurrency academic community to ensure when new research or technology is uncovered, it can be reviewed and decided upon whether it would be beneficial to Monero. This ensures Monero will always remain a leading cryptocurrency. A recent end of 2017 update from a MRL researcher can be found here
///Monero's Technology - Rising Above The Rest/// Monero Has Already Proven Itself To Be Private, Secure, Untraceable, and Trustless
Monero is the only private, untraceable, trustless, secure and fungible cryptocurrency. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are TRACEABLE through the use of blockchain analytics
, and has lead to the prosecution of numerous individuals, such as the alleged Alphabay administrator Alexandre Cazes
. In the Forfeiture Complaint which detailed the asset seizure of Alexandre Cazes
, the anonymity capabilities of Monero were self-demonstrated by the following statement of the officials after the AlphaBay shutdown: "In total, from CAZES' wallets and computer agents took control of approximately $8,800,000 in Bitcoin, Ethereum, Monero and Zcash, broken down as follows: 1,605.0503851 Bitcoin, 8,309.271639 Ethereum, 3,691.98 Zcash, and an unknown amount of Monero"
Privacy CANNOT BE OPTIONAL and must be at a PROTOCOL LEVEL. With Monero, privacy is mandatory, so that everyone gets the benefits of privacy without any transactions standing out as suspicious. This is the reason Darknet Market places are moving to Monero, and will never use Verge, Zcash, Dash, Pivx, Sumo, Spectre, Hush or any other coins that lack good privacy. Peter Todd (who was involved in the Zcash trusted setup ceremony) recently reiterated his concerns
of optional privacy after Jeffrey Quesnelle published his recent paper
stating 31.5% of Zcash transactions may be traceable, and that only ~1% of the transactions are pure privacy transactions (i.e., z -> z transactions). When the attempted private transactions stand out like a sore thumb there is no privacy, hence why privacy cannot be optional. In addition, in order for a cryptocurrency to truly be private, it must not be controlled by a centralised body, such as a company or organisation, because it opens it up to government control and restrictions. This is no joke, but Zcash is supported by DARPA and the Israeli government!
Monero provides a stark contrast compared to other supposed privacy coins, in that Monero does not have a rich list! With all other coins, you can view wallet balances on the blockexplorers. You can view Monero's non-existent rich list here
to see for yourself.
I will reiterate here that Monero is TRUSTLESS. You don't need to rely on anyone else to protect your privacy, or worry about others colluding to learn more about you. No one can censor your transaction or decide to intervene. Monero is immutable, unlike Zcash, in which the lead developer Zooko publicly tweeted the possibility of providing a backdoor for authorities to trace transactions
. To Zcash's demise, Zooko famously tweeted:
" And by the way, I think we can successfully make Zcash too traceable for criminals like WannaCry, but still completely private & fungible. …"
Ethereum's track record of immutability is also poor. Ethereum was supposed to be an immutable blockchain ledger, however after the DAO hack this proved to not be the case. A 2016 article on Saintly Law
summarised the problematic nature of Ethereum's leadership and blockchain intervention:
" Many ethereum and blockchain advocates believe that the intervention was the wrong move to make in this situation. Smart contracts are meant to be self-executing, immutable and free from disturbance by organisations and intermediaries. Yet the building block of all smart contracts, the code, is inherently imperfect. This means that the technology is vulnerable to the same malicious hackers that are targeting businesses and governments. It is also clear that the large scale intervention after the DAO hack could not and would not likely be taken in smaller transactions, as they greatly undermine the viability of the cryptocurrency and the technology." Monero provides Fungibility and Privacy in a Cashless World
As outlined on GetMonero.org
, fungibility is the property of a currency whereby two units can be substituted in place of one another. Fungibility means that two units of a currency can be mutually substituted and the substituted currency is equal to another unit of the same size. For example, two $10 bills can be exchanged and they are functionally identical to any other $10 bill in circulation (although $10 bills have unique ID numbers and are therefore not completely fungible). Gold is probably a closer example of true fungibility, where any 1 oz. of gold of the same grade is worth the same as another 1 oz. of gold. Monero is fungible due to the nature of the currency which provides no way to link transactions together nor trace the history of any particular XMR. 1 XMR is functionally identical to any other 1 XMR. Fungibility is an advantage Monero has over Bitcoin and almost every other cryptocurrency, due to the privacy inherent in the Monero blockchain and the permanently traceable nature of the Bitcoin blockchain. With Bitcoin, any BTC can be tracked by anyone back to its creation coinbase transaction. Therefore, if a coin has been used for an illegal purpose in the past, this history will be contained in the blockchain in perpetuity.
A great example of Bitcoin's lack of fungibility was reposted
"Imagine you sell cupcakes and receive Bitcoin as payment. It turns out that someone who owned that Bitcoin before you was involved in criminal activity. Now you are worried that you have become a suspect in a criminal case, because the movement of funds to you is a matter of public record. You are also worried that certain Bitcoins that you thought you owned will be considered ‘tainted’ and that others will refuse to accept them as payment."
This lack of fungibility means that certain businesses will be obligated to avoid accepting BTC that have been previously used for purposes which are illegal, or simply run afoul of their Terms of Service. Currently some large Bitcoin companies are blocking, suspending, or closing accounts that have received Bitcoin used in online gambling or other purposes deemed unsavory by said companies. Monero has been built specifically to address the problem of traceability and non-fungibility inherent in other cryptocurrencies. By having completely private transactions Monero is truly fungible and there can be no blacklisting of certain XMR, while at the same time providing all the benefits of a secure, decentralized, permanent blockchain.
The world is moving cashless. Fact. The ramifications of this are enormous as we move into a cashless world in which transactions will be tracked and there is a potential for data to be used by third parties for adverse purposes
. While most new cryptocurrency investors speculate upon vaporware ICO tokens in the hope of generating wealth, Monero provides salvation for those in which financial privacy is paramount. Too often people equate Monero's features with criminal endeavors. Privacy is not a crime, and is necessary for good money. Transparency in Monero is possible OFF-CHAIN, which offers greater transparency and flexibility. For example, a Monero user may share their Private View Key
with their accountant for tax purposes.
Monero aims to be adopted by more than just those with nefarious use cases. For example, if you lived in an oppressive religious regime and wanted to buy a certain item, using Monero would allow you to exchange value privately and across borders if needed. Another example is that if everybody can see how much cryptocurrency you have in your wallet, then a certain service might decide to charge you more, and bad actors could even use knowledge of your wallet balance to target you for extortion purposes. For example, a Russian cryptocurrency blogger was recently beaten and robbed of $425k
. This is why FUNGIBILITY IS ESSENTIAL. To summarise this in a nutshell:
"A lack of fungibility means that when sending or receiving funds, if the other person personally knows you during a transaction, or can get any sort of information on you, or if you provide a residential address for shipping etc. – you could quite potentially have them use this against you for personal gain"
For those that wish to seek more information about why Monero is a superior form of money, read The Merits of Monero: Why Monero Vs Bitcoin
over on the Monero.how
website. Monero's Humble Origins
Something that still rings true today despite the great influx of money into cryptocurrencies was outlined in Nick Tomaino's early 2016 opinion piece
. The author claimed that "one of the most interesting aspects of Monero is that the project has gained traction without a crowd sale pre-launch, without VC funding and any company or well-known investors and without a pre-mine. Like Bitcoin in the early days, Monero has been a purely grassroots movement that was bootstrapped by the creator and adopted organically without any institutional buy-in. The creator and most of the core developers serve the community pseudonymously and the project was launched on a message board (similar to the way Bitcoin was launched on an email newsletter)." The Organic Growth of the Monero Community
The Monero community over at monero
is exponentially growing. You can view the Monero reddit metrics here
and see that the Monero subreddit currently gains more than 10,000 (yes, ten thousand!) new subscribers every 10 days! Compare this to most of the other coins out there, and it proves to be one of the only projects with real organic growth. In addition to this, the community subreddits are specifically divided to ensure the main subreddit remains unbiased, tech focused, with no shilling or hype. All trading talk is designated to xmrtrader
, and all memes at moonero
. Forum Funding System
While most contributors have gratefully volunteered their time to the project, Monero also has a Forum Funding System in which money is donated by community members to ensure it attracts and retains the brightest minds and most skilled developers. Unlike ICOs and other cryptocurrencies, Monero never had a premine, and does not have a developer tax. If ANYONE requires funding for a Monero related project, then they can simply request funding from the community, and if the community sees it as beneficial, they will donate. Types of projects range from Monero funding for local meet ups, to paying developers for their work. Monero For Goods, Services, and Market Places There is a growing number of online goods and services
that you can now pay for with Monero. Globee
is a service that allows online merchants to accept payments through credit cards and a host of cryptocurrencies, while being settled in Bitcoin, Monero or fiat currency. Merchants can reach a wider variety of customers, while not needing to invest in additional hardware to run cryptocurrency wallets or accept the current instability of the cryptocurrency market. Globee uses all of the open source API's that BitPay does making integrations much easier! Project Coral Reef
is a service which allows you to shop and pay for popular music band products and services using Monero.
Linux, Veracrypt, and a whole array of VPNs now accept Monero.
There is a new Monero only marketplace called Annularis currently being developed
which has been created for those who value financial privacy and economic freedom, and there are rumours Open Bazaar
is likely to support Monero once Multisig is implemented.
In addition, Monero is also supported by The Living Room of Satoshi
so you can pay bills or credit cards directly using Monero.
Monero can be found on a growing number of cryptocurrency exchange services such as Bittrex, Poloniex, Cryptopia, Shapeshift, Changelly, Bitfinex, Kraken, Bisq, Tux, and many others
For those wishing to purchase Monero anonymously, there are services such as LocalMonero.co
you can pay Bitcoin addresses directly with Monero. There are no other fees than the miner ones. All user records are purged after 48 hours. XMR.TO has also been added as an embedded feature into the Monerujo android wallet. Coinhive Browser-Based Mining
Unlike Bitcoin, Monero can be mined using CPUs and GPUs. Not only does this encourage decentralisation, it also opens the door to browser based mining. Enter side of stage, Coinhive browser-based mining. As described by Hon Lau on the Symnatec Blog
The main Monero subreddit has weekly Skepticism Sundays
which was created with the purpose of installing "a culture of being scientific, skeptical, and rational"
. This is used to have open, critical discussions about monero as a technology, it's economics, and so on.
///Speculation/// Major Investors And Crypto Figureheads Are Interested
Ari Paul is the co-founder and CIO of BlockTower Capital. He was previously a portfolio manager for the University of Chicago's $8 billion endowment, and a derivatives market maker and proprietary trader for Susquehanna International Group. Paul was interviewed on CNBC on the 26th of December and when asked what was his favourite coin was, he stated "One that has real fundamental value besides from Bitcoin is Monero"
and said it has "very strong engineering"
. In addition, when he was asked if that was the one used by criminals, he replied "Everything is used by criminals including the US dollar and the Euro"
. Paul later supported these claims on Twitter, recommending only Bitcoin and Monero as long-term investments
. There are reports
that "Roger Ver, earlier known as 'Bitcoin Jesus' for his evangelical support of the Bitcoin during its early years, said his investment in Monero is 'substantial' and his biggest in any virtual currency since Bitcoin
Charlie Lee, the creator of Litecoin, has publicly stated his appreciation of Monero. In a September 2017 tweet directed to Edward Snowden explaining why Monero is superior to Zcash, Charlie Lee tweeted
All private transactions, More tested privacy tech, No tax on miners to pay investors, No high inflation... better investment.
John McAfee, arguably cryptocurrency's most controversial character at the moment, has publicly supported Monero numerous times over the last twelve months(before he started shilling ICOs), and has even claimed it will overtake Bitcoin
Playboy instagram celebrity Dan Bilzerian is a Monero investor, with 15% of his portfolio made up of Monero
Finally, while he may not be considered a major investor or figurehead, Erik Finman, a young early Bitcoin investor and multimillionaire, recently appeared in a CNBC Crypto video interview
, explaining why he isn't entirely sold on Bitcoin anymore, and expresses his interest in Monero, stating:
"Monero is a really good one. Monero is an incredible currency, it's completely private."
There is a common belief that most of the money in cryptocurrency is still chasing the quick pump and dumps, however as the market matures, more money will flow into legitimate projects such as Monero. Monero's organic growth in price is evidence smart money
is aware of Monero and gradually filtering in. The Bitcoin Flaw
A relatively unknown blogger named CryptoIzzy
posted three poignant pieces regarding Monero and its place in the world. The Bitcoin Flaw: Monero Rising
provides an intellectual comparison of Monero to other cryptocurrencies, and Valuing Cryptocurrencies: An Approach
outlines methods of valuing different coins.
CryptoIzzy's most recent blog published only yesterday titled Monero Valuation - Update and Refocus
is a highly recommended read. It touches on why Monero is much more than just a coin for the Darknet Markets, and provides a calculated future price of Monero.
CryptoIzzy also published The Power of Money: A Case for Bitcoin
, which is an exploration of our monetary system, and the impact decentralised cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Monero will have on the world. In the epilogue the author also provides a positive and detailed future valuation based on empirical evidence. CryptoIzzy predicts Monero to easily progress well into the four figure
range. Monero Has a Relatively Small Marketcap
Recently we have witnessed many newcomers to cryptocurrency neglecting to take into account coins' marketcap and circulating supply, blindly throwing money at coins under $5 with inflated marketcaps and large circulating supplies, and then believing it's possible for them to reach $100 because someone posted about it on Facebook or Reddit.
Compared to other cryptocurrencies, Monero still has a low marketcap
, which means there is great potential for the price to multiply. At the time of writing, according to CoinMarketCap
, Monero's marketcap is only a little over $5 billion, with a circulating supply of 15.6 million Monero, at a price of $322 per coin.
For this reason, I would argue that this is evidence Monero is grossly undervalued. Just
a few billion dollars of new money invested in Monero can cause significant price increases. Monero's marketcap only needs to increase to ~$16 billion and the price will triple to over $1000. If Monero's marketcap simply reached ~$35 billion (just over half of Ripple's $55 billion marketcap), Monero's price will increase 600% to over $2000 per coin.
Another way of looking at this is Monero's marketcap only requires ~$30 billion of new investor money to see the price per Monero reach $2000, while for Ethereum to reach $2000, Ethereum's marketcap requires a whopping ~$100 billion of new investor money. Technical Analysis
There are numerous Monero technical analysts, however none more eerily on point than the crowd-pleasing Ero23. Ero23's charts and analysis can be found on Trading View
. Ero23 gained notoriety for his long-term Bitcoin bull chart published in February, which is still in play today. Head over to his Trading View page to see his chart: Monero's dwindling supply. $10k in 2019 scenario
, in which Ero23 predicts Monero to reach $10,000 in 2019. There is also this chart
which appears to be freakishly accurate and is tracking along perfectly today. Coinbase Rumours
Over the past 12 months there have been ongoing rumours that Monero will be one of the next cryptocurrencies to be added to Coinbase. In January 2017, Monero Core team member Riccardo 'Fluffypony' Spagni presented a talk at Coinbase HQ. In addition, in November 2017 GDAX announced the GDAX Digit Asset Framework
outlining specific parameters cryptocurrencies must meet in order to be added to the exchange. There is speculation that when Monero has numerous mobile and hardware wallets available, and multisig is working, then it will be added. This would enable public accessibility to Monero to increase dramatically as Coinbase had in excess of 13 million users as of December
, and is only going to grow as demand for cryptocurrencies increases. Many users argue that due to KYC/AML regulations, Coinbase will never be able to add Monero, however the Kraken exchange already operates in the US and has XMfiat pairs, so this is unlikely to be the reason Coinbase is yet to implement XMfiat trading. Monero Is Not an ICO Scam
It is likely most of the ICOs which newcomers invest in, hoping to get rich quick, won't even be in the Top 100 cryptocurrencies next year. A large portion are most likely to be pumps and dumps, and we have already seen numerous instances of ICO exit scams
. Once an ICO raises millions of dollars, the developers or CEO of the company have little incentive to bother rolling out their product or service when they can just cash out and leave. The majority of people who create a company to provide a service or product, do so in order to generate wealth. Unless these developers and CEOs are committed and believed in their product or service, it's likely that the funds raised during the ICO will far exceed any revenue generated from real world use cases. Monero is a Working Currency, Today
Monero is a working currency, here today.
The majority of so called cryptocurrencies that exist today are not true currencies, and do not aim to be. They are a token of exchange. They are like a share in a start-up company hoping to use blockchain technology to succeed in business. A crypto-assest
is a more accurate name for coins such as Ethereum, Neo, Cardano, Vechain, etc.
Monero isn't just a vaporware ICO token that promises to provide a blockchain service in the future. It is not a platform for apps. It is not a pump and dump coin.
Monero is the only coin with all the necessary properties to be called true money. Monero is private internet money
Some even describe Monero as an online Swiss Bank Account or Bitcoin 2.0, and it is here to continue on from Bitcoin's legacy.
Monero is alleviating the public from the grips of banks, and protests the monetary system forced upon us.
Monero only achieved this because it is the heart and soul, and blood, sweat, and tears of the contributors to this project. Monero supporters are passionate, and Monero has gotten to where it is today thanks to its contributors and users.
///Key Issues for Monero to Overcome/// Scalability
While Bulletproofs are soon to be implemented in order to improve Monero's transaction sizes and fees, scalability is an issue for Monero that is continuously being assessed by Monero's researchers and developers to find the most appropriate solution. Ricardo 'Fluffypony' Spagni recently appeared on CNBC's Crypto Trader
, and when asked whether Monero is scalable as it stands today, Spagni stated that presently, Monero's on-chain scaling is horrible and transactions are larger than Bitcoin's (because of Monero's privacy features), so side-chain scaling may be more efficient. Spagni elaborated that the Monero team is, and will always be, looking for solutions to an array of different on-chain and off-chain scaling options, such as developing a Mimblewimble side-chain, exploring the possibility of Lightning Network so atomic swaps can be performed, and Tumblebit. In a post on the Monero subreddit
from roughly a month ago, monero
supports Spagni's statements. dEBRUYNE_1 clarifies the issue of scalability:
"In Bitcoin, the main chain is constrained and fees are ludicrous. This results in users being pushed to second layer stuff (e.g. sidechains, lightning network). Users do not have optionality in Bitcoin. In Monero, the goal is to make the main-chain accessible to everyone by keeping fees reasonable. We want users to have optionality, i.e., let them choose whether they'd like to use the main chain or second layer stuff. We don't want to take that optionality away from them."
When the Spagni CNBC video was recently linked to the Monero subreddit
, it was met with lengthy debate and discussion from both users and developers. u/ferretinjapan
summarised the issue explaining:
"Monero has all the mechanisms it needs to find the balance between transaction load, and offsetting the costs of miner infrastructure/profits, while making sure the network is useful for users. But like the interviewer said, the question is directed at "right now", and Fluffys right to a certain extent, Monero's transactions are huge, and compromises in blockchain security will help facilitate less burdensome transactional activity in the future. But to compare Monero to Bitcoin's transaction sizes is somewhat silly as Bitcoin is nowhere near as useful as monero, and utility will facilitate infrastructure building that may eventually utterly dwarf Bitcoin. And to equate scaling based on a node being run on a desktop being the only option for what classifies as "scalable" is also an incredibly narrow interpretation of the network being able to scale, or not. Given the extremely narrow definition of scaling people love to (incorrectly) use, I consider that a pretty crap question to put to Fluffy in the first place, but... ¯_(ツ)_/¯" u/xmrusher
also contributed to the discussion, comparing Bitcoin to Monero using this analogous description:
"While John is much heavier than Henry, he's still able to run faster, because, unlike Henry, he didn't chop off his own legs just so the local wheelchair manufacturer can make money. While Morono has much larger transactions then Bitcoin, it still scales better, because, unlike Bitcoin, it hasn't limited itself to a cripplingly tiny blocksize just to allow Blockstream to make money." Setting up a wallet can still be time consuming
It's time consuming and can be somewhat difficult for new cryptocurrency users to set up their own wallet using the GUI wallet or the Command Line Wallet. In order to strengthen and further decentralize the Monero network, users are encouraged to run a full node for their wallet, however this can be an issue because it can take up to 24-48 hours for some users depending on their hard-drive and internet speeds. To mitigate this issue, users can run a remote node, meaning they can remotely connect their wallet to another node in order to perform transactions, and in the meantime continue to sync the daemon so in the future they can then use their own node.
For users that do run into wallet setup issues, or any other problems for that matter, there is an extremely helpful troubleshooting thread on the Monero subreddit which can be found here
. And not only that, unlike some other cryptocurrency subreddits, if you ask a question, there is always a friendly community member who will happily assist you. Monero.how
is a fantastic resource too!
Despite still being difficult to use, the user-base and price may increase dramatically once it is easier to use. In addition, others believe that when hardware wallets are available more users will shift to Monero.
I actually still feel a little shameful for promoting Monero here, but feel a sense of duty to do so.
Monero is transitioning into an unstoppable altruistic beast. This year offers the implementation of many great developments, accompanied by the likelihood of a dramatic increase in price.
I request you discuss this post, point out any errors I have made, or any information I may have neglected to include. Also, if you believe in the Monero project, I encourage you to join your local Facebook or Reddit cryptocurrency group and spread the word of Monero. You could even link this post there to bring awareness to new cryptocurrency users and investors.
I will leave you with an old on-going joke within the Monero community - Don't buy Monero
- unless you have a use case for it of course :-) Just think to yourself though - Do I have a use case for Monero in our unpredictable Huxleyan society? Hint: The answer is ? Edit: Added in the Tail Emission section, and noted Dan Bilzerian as a Monero investor. Also added information regarding the XMR.TO payment service. Added info about hardfork
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