Monero is a blockchain focused on providing an useful, secure, and anonymous currency above all else. How well they do that, or the details about their decidedly unique blockchain will have to wait. This post is all about why Monero will thrive in 2018.
The most common use for Bitcoin is to hodl it, since BTC has proven to be a resillient store of value in recent years, but not so with Monero. Monero is a much younger blockchain, and it’s all about being a usable currency – a useful means of exchange.
One indicator that a blockchain is viable in the marketplace is that usage is stable or increasing over time.
So how can we really tell actual use apart from speculating and other activity?
Hardware wallets are useful indicators of investment, since they measure demand for longer term storage of the private keys locally – suggesting more than simply taking an arbitrage position. There is no support yet for Monero by Trezor, Digital Bitbox, or KeepKey but there has been collaboration with the Ledger Nano team. There is a project to create an open source Monero hardware wallet as well.
Another critical measure of usage is building support among vendors. This is notably lacking, although there is much chatter on reddit about darkweb vendors being eager to adopt Monero. With Bitcoin fees soaring and transactions getting processed as slowly as ever, markets of all types are seeking more efficient means of exchange. Monero is well positioned to be a winner in niche markets including the illicit ones.
So what are the common use cases? Who is really using it?
Marginalized groups, for all the same reasons the dark markets, may be adopting Monero. In fact it represents a promising new income stream for this dominatrix who is literally cashing in with Monero.
Monero has become all the rage among those publishers looking for alternate ways to monetize their websites and/or content. Coinhive is the most popular, used by many sites and probably a dozen WordPress plugins, but there’s a new competitor called Crypto-Loot with lower fees and improved code.
This is cited as dangerous because the behavior is not limited to specific websites you visit. A chrome extension called Safebrowse was recently found to be hiding the same Coinhive miner. This extension was downloaded by 140,000 people, and did other unfriendly stuff, but was usually fairly obvious, since it consumed almost all available resources.
More recently, criminals have spread Digimine malware, a modified version of open-source Monero miner XMRig. It has been observed spreading via Facebook Messenger – posing as a zipped video file.
There is also a Monero-mining botnet that is growing, as noted by F5 Security.
So regardless of poor vendor adoption, it seems like there’s a loyal user base for Monero. For reasons too long to detail in this post I like the technical direction Monero is taking as well. I find reasons to be bullish on XMR in the same places its detractors find fault – the core dev team is reckless, innovative, a bit suspicious, doing amazing work, and above all actively working on this project! For all these reasons and more, I am bullish on Monero for 2018.