Can Etherium make Monero obsolete?

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Ethereum Gold Coins 3d illustration
A closer look at Etherium’s RingCT upgrade, and anaylsis on it’s impact to Monero, a popular dark web crypto-currency.

Monero has been a popular crypto-currency in the dark web marketplaces for some time now.

It exists as a secure, private and untraceable alternative to Bitcoin: seeking to overcome the end point transparent nature of Bitcoin while maintaining the important proof of work concept.

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Bitcoin has always had a problem on the dark net: it isn’t private. The fix has always been additional steps such as services like Helix to tumble coins in an effort to obscure (which in adding another service opens users up to trust issues).

Monero’s inner workings revolve around hiding the wallet associated with your public address in an effort to obscure transactions.

It’s about putting your wallet in the shadow then blending transactions while maintaining verification of the system. We’ve written on the interior of Monero before; however, the Etherium project has since October 2017 been running upgrades succefully which may threaten Monero’s turf.

Ethereum’s core development team met on September 8 last year to discuss the crypto-currency’s future and the inevitable upcoming fork Byzantium. Byzantium contains updates including privacy features inbedded in the implementation.

You get the sense that Ethereum, unlike countless other alt-coins, really does have it’s heart on development.

The wave of ICO insanity that has crashed on our shores will eventually receed when the tides turn. All that will be left is the strongest coins with the strongest communities, strongest adoption, and strongest technology behind them.

The Byzantium fork was successful and Ethereum has been running smoothly since implementation in mid October last year.

It’s clear that Monero hasn’t died away but its had a rough time since December, as the entire crypto-currency ecosystem has, but importantly its continually lost ground against Ethereum more recently.

One thing to remember is that as Ethereum implements technologies that have existed in other crypto-currencies it does so with some forsight, which is godsend in the crypto-currency game where everything seems like a gamble.

As Ethereum continues to change and improve and adopt alt-currencies’ best parts, it’s possible that Monero becomes a coin of the past on the dark web in the times to come.

Etherium could be the new dark web marketplace coin of choice, even taking preference over Bitcoin as the global law enforcement organizations and governments work to reverse track transactions and dream up regulationary contraints targeting specifically Bitcoin.

With that said Ethereum isn’t all of a sudden an entirely private and secure ecosystem on its new fork: just because Ethereum can turn to zksnarks in transactions does not make every ETH transaction private.

Monero symbol on-screen among piles of Monero coins. 3D rendering
Monero has been a popular crypto-currency in the dark web marketplaces for some time now.

This is where Monero has a conceptual upperhand. Monero was designed from the ground up as privacy focassed, as was Zcash, another crypto-currency which uses zksnarks and has garnered attention on the dark web (mostly due to it’s recent preference by criminals in data ransoms), and privacy matters like no other issue when it comes to the dark web.

But the charts don’t lie, except why they do… A conceptual upperhand does not necessarily transate to a real world upperhand. It’s still such early days for all crypto-currencies and adoption/longevity are the biggest issues.

The wider question becomes: how can the alt-coins stand up to the core crypto-currency projects like Ethereum and Bitcoin in the long term? It’s a question I wrestle with quite a bit.

The market itself as a whole is clearly valued. Mere whitepapers are translating into billion dollar valuations. It’s the 2000 tech bubble all over again – this time with a new set of tech.

Sure, Bitcoin might still be the bargin of the 21st century at 10K a coin, but Dentacoin at $500M? Tron at $4B? It’s insane.

In the end, regardless of how much uptake an alt-coin may have, can the coin, individually and in the long term, weather the storms of market volitility, price corrections and pending incarnations of governmental regulatory action? Monero may have it’s place in the market currently but as its big brother Ethereum looks to incorporate some of the technology that set it apart, why then should it continue existing in the long term?

It’s possible that the dominant coin of the dark net marketplaces in the future will be forked version of the current Ethereum.



Con's education background is law, where he's published on crypto-currency regulation. His opinion editorials range across the relationships between people and technology and the societal challenges it presents. His passion is for information security and the intertwining legal issues

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