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The Parabolic Rise of Monero (XMR)

Monero (XMR) has seen some big moves over the past few years off its lows in the low $0.20s to recent highs over $55 a coin. Currently trading just under it’s all time highs XMR is gaining big attention after reports surfaced that the Wannacry operators exchanged the 50.2 bitcoins they gained from the international cyberattack into the equivalent in Monero (XMR).

Over the past year the trading volume on XMR has skyrocketed from averaging well under $100,000 a day to currently doing over $10 million a day and many days much more.

Monero (XMR) is a decentralised open-source cryptocurrency forked from Bytecoin in April 2014. The coin’s fundamental feature is privacy – it aims to be a digital medium of exchange with untraceable payments, unlinkable transactions and resistance to blockchain analysis. This is achieved thanks to a proof-of-work algorithm called CryptoNight, developed by the CryptoNote project. CryptoNote uses so-called “ring signatures”, a sophisticated scheme that demands several different public keys from a group of users for verification. As such, the exact person behind a Monero transaction is not known; this results in considerable increase of privacy compared to Bitcoin and its forks.

XMR privacy was strengthened further on January 10, 2017 after Bitcoin Core developer Gregory Maxwell’s algorithm Ring Confidential Transactions, starting at block #1220516. Ring signaturs used by XMR are a concept first described by academics from MIT and the Weizmann Institute in a 2001 paper. XMR also uses stealth addresses to obscure the identity of senders and recipients. Ring signatures combine or ‘mix’ a user’s account keys with public keys obtained from monero’s blockhead to create a ‘ring’ of possible signers, meaning outside observers cannot link a signature to a specific user. Ping transactions are enabled by default, but it is still possible to send a transaction without RingCT until the next hard fork in September 2017. By early February, over 95% of all non-coinbase transactions used the optional RingCT feature.

Monero has made several large improvements since launch. The blockhead was migrated to a different database structure to provide greater efficiency and flexibility, minimum ring signature sizes were set so that all transactions were private by mandate. Nearly all improvements have provided improvements to security or privacy, or they have facilitated use. Monero continues to develop with goals of privacy and security first, ease of use and efficiency second.

Like Bitcoin it is not known exactly who created Monero; it was first outlined in an October 2013 whitepaper by the pseudonymous figure Nicolas van Saberhagen and called Cryptonote. The idea was later coded into a currency called Bitmonero by another pseudonymous individual known only as “thankful_for_today.” Open-source coders on the Bitcointalk forum disagreed with thankful_for_today’s direction for the currency and forked it in 2014 to create Monero.

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Monero (XMR) has gained big attention in recent days after the operators of the WannaCry cryptoransomware worm exchanged the 50.2 bitcoins earned from the attack into XMR, the “untraceable” private digital currency backed by Monero. The transaction was detected by the bot created by Quartz’s Keith Collins.

The bitcoin was converted using the ShapeShift and Changelly exchanges who recently made this statement “As of today, we have taken measures to blacklist all addresses associated with the WannaCry attackers that are known to the ShapeShift team, as is our policy for any transactions we deem breach our terms of service,” a statement from the exchange reads Thursday.

In recent news Marcus Hutchins, the british hacker credited with stopping the Wannacry cryptoransomware worm was arrested over ‘creation’ of notorious banking malware in Las Vegas where he was taking part in a hacking conference. The indictment claimes that Hutchins, 23 who describes himself as a security researcher created and then advertised the banking Trojan known as “Kronos” on a number of internet forums. He has been charged with six separate hacking crimes according to the filing, first released by Motherboard. Hutchins was granted bail of $30,000 on Friday and has been released.

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