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Monero (XMR) is a decentralized, open-source cryptocurrency that focuses on privacy and scalability. It was launched in 2014 as a fork of the Bytecoin blockchain, and it is considered one of the most private and anonymous cryptocurrencies in the market.

Monero uses a technique called ring signatures, which allows a group of users to sign a transaction without revealing which one of them actually did it. Additionally, Monero uses stealth addresses, which creates a one-time address for each transaction that is not publicly linked to the sender or receiver’s real address. These two features provide a high level of transaction privacy and make it difficult for outside parties to trace the origin or destination of a Monero transaction.

Monero also uses a proof-of-work consensus algorithm that is resistant to the development of custom mining hardware, called ASICs, making it more accessible for small miners to participate in the network.

Monero has been used for illegal activities such as money laundering, fraud and ransomware, due to its high level of privacy, making it a controversial cryptocurrency. However, it also has legitimate use cases such as online marketplaces, online privacy, and censorship-resistant exchanges.