Monero is a cryptocurrency that is based on the CryptoNote protocol and is considered one of the blockchain based cryptocurrencies that provide high levels of anonymity to both senders and receivers of transactions. Monero XMR relies on “ring signatures” that render it almost impossible to link a given transaction to its actual sender. Moreover, Monero utilizes “stealth addresses” that obfuscate the receivers of transactions rendering it exponentially hard to determine the payee of a given transaction.
Monero witnessed many changes in the year 2017, regarding both the currency’s open source code as well as its price and market capitalization. Throughout this article, we will highlight how Monero changed during the year 2017.
Important Monero code developments in 2017:
By far, the RingCT (ring confidential transactions) hard fork was the most important change across Monero’s network in 2017. RingCTs were initially introduced in January 2017 as an advanced version of Monero’s “ring signatures” to yield better obfuscation of transactions. The hard fork was scheduled for September 21, 2017, but actually took place on September 16, 2017, due to unexpected growth of the network’s hash to more than 250,000,000 hash/second. The hard fork introduced mandatory use of RingCT for all of Monero’s transactions.
Helium Hydra was a mandatory update for Monero’s code that also took place in 2017. It was released on September 7, 2017, and was designed to prepare the network for the RingCT hard fork. Helium Hydra boosted the minimum size of ring signatures to 5, blacklisted duplicate members within a ring signature and enforced the usage of RingCTs for all of Monero’s transactions. The release also fixed multiple bugs and improved the speed of network synchronization. Helium Hydra also introduced optional compact blocks that were named “fluffy blocks”, which reduced the bandwidth requirements for all node operators. The update also introduced full node support for Android and iOS operating systems. Fluffy blocks are expected to promote improved synchronization times for full mobile nodes in the future, once they become more popular.
Growth in Monero’s Price and Market Capitalization in 2017:
The year 2017 was definitely the year of Monero, as its price grew from around $15 at the beginning of the year to around $360 in December 2017. Even more, Monero’s price reached a yearly high of around $480 earlier that month, before stabilizing between $350 and $360.
There were many factors that contributed to the great rise in Monero’s price and market capitalization in 2017. Monero is now considered one of the most anonymous cryptocurrencies available today, which urged Alpabay, the darknet marketplace, to start accepting Monero payments in 2016 (Alphabay was shut down by the US government in July 2017). Increased adoption in 2017, even by mainstream merchants, was also the main catalyst for the rise in Monero’s price. For example, as of today, there are around 45 musicians that accept Monero payments including Sia and Mariah Carey.
What to expect in 2018?
Even though 2017 was a great year for Monero, the upcoming year is expected to roll out some exciting developments that can increase the popularity and price of this CryptoNote cryptocurrency even more.
It is expected to see more and more darknet marketplaces accept Monero as a payment method. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have proven to be useless for both vendors and customers on various darknet marketplaces, due to lack of privacy, fungibility and untraceable transactions.
We expect to see Monero XMR implement support of multi signatures, which will definitely boost the adoption of Monero in 2018. The support of multi signatures will mean a lot to both of mainstream merchants and darknet marketplaces. Actually, the lack of multisignature support is one of the main reasons holding back wide scale Monero adoption on various darknet marketplaces.
Even though Monero is one of the cryptocurrencies with high levels of anonymity, the “Kovri project”, which is planned to be implemented in the year 2018, is expected to increase the privacy levels of Monero even more. The Kovri project is a big improvement to the currency’s protocol that integrates the I2P routing technology to Monero’s network. Adding Kovri to the newly implemented RingCT technology will guarantee the anonymity of every transaction across Monero’s network. Kovri is planned to be integrated by default with every transaction so that every user across Monero’s network would benefit from an additional layer of I2P anonymity.
Hardware wallet providers including Trezor and Ledger Wallet have recognized the increased adoption of Monero XMR and are now working to provide support for this highly anonymous cryptocurrency. We expect to see these top hardware wallet providers support Monero in 2018.
In the end, it is worth mentioning that the year of 2017 was full of adventures for all of Monero’s enthusiasts who enjoyed a %2,700 rise in the currency’s price and market capitalization. As the currency’s development board is working on increasing the privacy and anonymity features of Monero, we can expect to see even wider adoption and greater market growth throughout 2018.