Cryptocurrency with a focus on anonymity: these facts are known about Monero.

The name of the digital currency Monero comes from the artificial language Esperanto and translates as “coin”. However, there is more to the currency than just a simple means of payment. Above all, anonymity is important at Monero – and that also applies to a large extent to the team in the background.

With a market capitalization of currently around 4.37 billion dollars, the crypto currency Monero ranks among the top 30 largest digital currencies. Like other cyber currencies, it uses blockchain technology, but uses a different protocol than Bitcoin and related tokens with CryptoNote. The amount of available Monero is not limited, but grows more slowly from a certain point in time, so that an optimal balance between newly generated and lost coins is established. This is to prevent deflation of the currency.

There is, however, another big difference to Bitcoin & Co .: Monero attaches even greater importance to the protection of privacy and the anonymity of users. The transactions within the currency are also stored in a blockchain, but this is practically invisible. Users can only see their own transaction history with a specific code key. The other Monero users remain secret – unlike Bitcoin, where transactions are anonymous but can be viewed by anyone. Because of this property, Monero, the largest cryptocurrency, has already overtaken the rank of the most popular digital currency for criminal business.

Since Monero attaches such great importance to privacy and anonymity, it is not very surprising that little is known about the developers behind the digital currency. Only two people from the current core team, which oversees the further development of the currency, are known by name. All other members appear under a pseudonym – as does the actual initiator behind the digital token. However, to understand the story behind Monero, one has to go back a step further.

Bytecoin spin-off and rift

Monero was created in 2014 as a split of the Internet currency Bytecoin. The also very successful crypto currency was criticized in various forums at the time, as 80 percent of the available tokens had already been mined before the currency was made known to a wider public. Some members of the crypto community accused the creators of Bytecoin of a lack of transparency, the centralization of an actually decentralized currency and even fraud, as they allegedly only economized in their own pockets. In spring 2014, the user “thankful_for_today” therefore presented the code base for a spin-off from Bytecoin in one of the forums – and quickly found followers. With Monero, which was originally called BitMonero, there should be no so-called pre-mining before the public release, and it should also be possible to mine the currency with normal computers and without special hardware. While there was agreement on these points, there were disagreements on other details shortly after the launch of BitMonero. A dispute arose between the founder “thankful_for_today” and the community about the further development course of the currency, which ultimately ended in a rift. A so-called core team then implemented another fork and launched Monero – with the support of a large part of the community. A core team consisting of seven members is still monitoring the development of Monero today, but the user “thankful_for_today” has disappeared from the relevant forums – at least under this name – and BitMonero is no longer heard.

These people are currently behind Monero

The Monero core team itself does not work on the development of the cryptocurrency, the code is written by other developers and contributors who work for Monero in their spare time or as their main job. Unlike the core team, which is not paid for its work, some of the developers also receive money for it. The core team sees itself as a monitoring authority, whose members stay with them as long as their time allows or the community allows. According to its own statements, the core team is aware that the latter in particular will not last forever – and probably also with a view to the history of “thankful_for_today”.

Two people from the current core team are known by their real names, five others are only listed on the Monero website with their pseudonyms. Most famous in the crypto world is Riccardo Spagni, who appears on the Internet under the name “fluffypony” and is something like the face of Monero. He also regularly takes part in relevant industry meetings and gives interviews.

Anonymity seems to be less important to him than to his comrades-in-arms, because some time ago Spagni revealed an unusually large amount of himself in a contribution to “Steemit”. According to his own statements, he lives in the South African city of Plettenberg Bay and has been married to Saskia since October 10, 2010 – allegedly because this date is particularly easy to remember. Together they have six dogs and in his free time Riccardo Spagni is busy with drones, Lego, his watch collection – and trolling the crypto community as a “fluffypony”. For example, in May 2017 he teased an “IMPORTANT Monero announcement” on Twitter, only to later post a video parody. The fact that he also caused spikes in the Monero course was criticized from many sides, but Spagni did not seem to bother him.

The second member of the core team who is known by name is Francisco Cabanas. He is said to live in Canada and have a PhD in physics. Cabanas, whose nickname is “ArticMine”, has been dealing with cryptocurrencies since 2011 and has extensive business experience, including with non-profit companies.
In addition, “othe”, “smooth”, “tacotime”, “luigi1111” and “NoodleDoodle” belong to the Monero core team. Apart from these names, however, hardly anything personal is known about them or contradicting information is circulating. For example, “luigi1111” is said to come from the American Midwest, have been involved in several crypto currencies since 2013 and work as a system administrator in normal life. On other websites, however, it is said that he tests racing bikes as a full-time job. Such information should therefore be treated with caution.

Monero relies on donations and its own branch of research

The Monero development team also includes more than 200 helpers, some of whom appear under their real names and some under a pseudonym. In addition to the core team and the developers, there is also a Monero Research Lab, which consists of academics, scientists and researchers from the fields of mathematics and cryptography and, among other things, researches the CryptoNote protocol.

The team behind Monero is financed by donations from the community. In the early days, the original core team also gave the project a helping hand when the donations weren’t enough. Above all, investments were made in the infrastructure that keeps the digital currency running and thus forms the cornerstone of Monero.