Much like other cryptocurrency communities, the number of Monero (XMR) users has grown considerably in the past several months. For instance, Cryptwerk, an online directory of communities and individuals who accept cryptocurrencies, has indicated that the number of merchants that accept XMR as a form of payment has risen from 41 in July 2018 to 950 in May 2021.
Also, between April 2020 and 2021, the number of XMR transactions per day has increased from 10,000 to 23,000, and the XMR blockchain grew by over 180% while the average size of transactions went down by about 13%.
The indication of increasing interest is a welcome development for the community behind XMR, which is currently the biggest privacy coin in the market.
Released in 2014, Monero is designed for privacy and anonymity, the qualities that the coin’s proponents find lacking in Bitcoin (BTC), the first cryptocurrency. These days, XMR has the third-largest community of developers among digital coins, just behind Bitcoin and Ethereum (ETH).
Scheduled Monero Updates, Release of Oxygen Orion, and Monero Wallet Options
In addition to following protocols that promote transaction privacy and anonymity, XMR sets itself apart from other cryptocurrencies by having scheduled updates.
Every now and then, digital coins go through a so-called fork or an update in the protocol that the currency follows. This often happens when the community behind the blockchain network fails to reach a consensus about the future of the currency.
In the case of XMR, however, these forks also refer to scheduled protocol updates. In 2015, the Monero community decided to make changes to the blockchain network every 6 months.
XMR community members can also look forward to consistent improvements on the coin’s privacy features or changes in verification performance, for example.
If you’ve been mining XMR or using the coins in your Monero wallet to complete transactions, perhaps you may have noticed some changes brought by these scheduled updates.
For example, between April 2018 and March 2019, changes in the proof-of-work algorithm were implemented to preserve the currency’s ASIC-resistance.
The 17th and latest major network upgrade for XMR, Oxygen Orion, was released in October 2020. Patches for this upgrade are still being released to fix minor bugs and implement improvements. Prior to this release, the development team worked on the base protocol upgrade Nitrogen Nebula, which was made available in May 2020.
Best features of Oxygen Orion are the inclusion of support for the Concise Linkable Spontaneous Anonymous Group (CLSAG) transaction format, a new way in which Monero builds ring signatures while enabling size savings and improving verification speeds.
By using CLSAG, a typical Monero transaction that weighs at around 2.5kB only takes 1.9kB of space when added to the blockchain.
Finally, Monero users now also have access to different wallets to store their coins. Monero users can also select hardware, software, lightweight, and mobile wallet options to keep their coins. Users can also use the browser-based storage solutions for their coins, such as XMRWallet.
XMR Predictions and Expectations
The year 2021 has been a pretty good year for the people who invested in XMR early on, as the currency’s value hovered between USD 100 and USD 500 in the past 52 weeks.
Between April 2020 and 2021, the Monero’s blockchain grew by 13.34GB, and the currency surpassed 100,000 miners within the same period. Some online publications claim that the need for privacy will continue to increase the interest in privacy currencies.
At the same time, Monero is expected to reach its “soft cap” of 18.4 million coins in circulation by May 2022, after which, only emissions of 0.6 XMR per block will be released as a reward to Monero miners.
Investors, traders, and miners who are putting their hopes in XMR’s future, then, are very optimistic that the currency will thrive alongside its growing community of users.