Kraken, a global bitcoin exchange headquartered in San Francisco, announced the launch of Monero (XMR) trading, which effectively enables users to trade Monero with bitcoin, U.S. dollars and euros.
In a statement, the Kraken development team expressed its optimism toward Monero based on its strong performance in 2016 in terms of the growth of user base, exponential increase in market cap and rising trading volumes.
The company said:
“Monero is one of the leading cryptocurrencies that has seen huge 40x market cap growth in 2016 and trades with high volume and liquidity. Monero is built on the core principles of privacy, decentralization, open development, scalability and fungibility.”
The announcement comes shortly before Monero’s scheduled hard fork, estimated for January 9 or 10. During a few hours after the fork, Monero users will not be able to make XMR deposits in exchanges.
Monero v0.10.1 “Wolfram Warptangent” is considered to be a vital upgrade to the Monero protocol, as it provides major RingCT performance improvements. The RingCT technology, an invention of the Monero development team, is an essential tool that allows Bitcoin Core developer Greg Maxwell’s Confidential Transactions to work with Monero’s ring signatures. The correlation between the two technologies ultimately anonymizes user transactions, hiding amounts in Monero transactions.
Monero launched in 2014. As opposed to many altcoins, Monero is not based on Bitcoin’s codebase but instead on the CryptoNote reference implementation, an altcoin that was itself designed from scratch.
The altcoin was created by the pseudonymous developer “thankful for today,” but he was quickly “fired” by the community, as the project was forked away from him. It has since been led by a core team of seven developers, including Riccardo “fluffypony” Spagni and Francisco “ArticMine” Cabañas.
Asked by Bitcoin Magazine about Kraken’s decision to add Monero, Spagni said:
"Monero wants to enable people to own and spend their wealth as privately as possible, and so the addition of more fiat gateways, like Kraken, will help users to get on board and use a cryptocurrency that does its utmost to defend their privacy. What is pretty cool is that companies like Kraken are enabling Monero without the need for an upfront payment, promises of volume or even much in the way of interaction from Monero contributors."
A Positive Start to the New Year
The integration of XMR by Kraken and major improvements in RingCT mark a positive start to 2017 for Monero users and investors, following a year of advancements.
The privacy-focused currency also surpassed the value of Litecoin and Ripple for a brief period of time at $230 million U.S. market cap, hinting at the rising demand for Monero.
XMR is also one of the few digital currencies that has an actual user base in the darknet, in comparison to other digital assets and currencies in the market that haven’t seen major commercial success or progress in their user base.
Monero users can also expect to see more, improved ease-of-use as tools for Monero, including the GUI wallet the Monero team is working on. It is already available via Bitsquare and Shapeshift, and Jaxx will be adding Monero to its suite of wallets in the near future.
“We're very excited to be adding support for XMR into Jaxx,” said Jaxx CEO and founder Anthony Di Iorio. “The integration has been a challenge due to the unique nature of the Monero code; however, it’s almost complete and Monero users will soon have the option to manage and send their XMR from multiple devices and platforms.”