Tagged “crypto” because the book goes into detailed explanations of the cryptography used in Monero and it’s purposes. Educational.
Disclaimer: I don’t own any Monero, or other cryptocurrency. Occasionally I will buy in at ATHs to short some given cryptocurrency.
I always kinda found it funny people promoted and talked about Bitcoin like it was an anonymous currency when it was anything but. At least Monero actually seems to deliver on its promises of privacy.
I haven’t read this yet but it looks pretty interesting. Monero is the one cryptocurrency I’ve consistently been interested in. Like others have already mentioned it seems to actually deliver on its promises of security and privacy.
It does seem to [he expounded, having skimmed ⅔ of the document skipping most of the math]. But I was disappointed to see that the coin mining is based on proof-of-work, which means that like Bitcoin it tends toward profligate energy consumption.
The key difference between Monero’s PoW and Bitcoin’s though is that Monero is best mined with general-purpose hardware. This improves network security through decentralization of hashing power, and also should result in fairer reward distribution (since one does not have to make as significant a capital investment to become a miner). So at least with Monero’s PoW you get more bang for your buck per unit energy, in terms of network benefits.
On the flip side of that coin, there is a lot more general-purpose hardware which could be repurposed to 51% attack Monero (imagine all of AWS co-opted for this purpose). Bitcoin ASICs are the most efficient silicon for mining SHA256 and would be resistant to attack even from massive corporate clouds. Through this lens, it’s Bitcoin which gets more “bang for your buck” in terms of network security per kWh.
Furthermore, the Monero devs have to keep hardforking in order to change their mining algorithm to keep it ASIC-resistant. Even if it helps decentralize hashrate, it puts lots of power in the hands of the developers, which is a different form of centralization.
Lastly, the lion’s share of energy spent on mining Bitcoin and Monero is to earn newly created coins, not transaction fees. Monero has permanent tail inflation to incentivize mining, whereas Bitcoin asymptotically approaches zero inflation (and therefore far less energy consumed per market cap).
All that said, Monero has very interesting cryptography and I hope we can learn from it. I’m not sure if RingCT privacy is worth sacrificing supply auditability, but better privacy is great if you can achieve it without significant tradeoffs.