I started looking into crypto back in 2011. During that time, I really didn’t get too deep into the rabbit hole but overtime the cryptosphere began to take on a bigger part of my life. I was really fascinated with the Libertarian ideals of Bitcoin and the community that was built around it. However, this early community began to fade away over time as Bitcoin became more of a way to get rich rather than its original purpose of circumventing the establishment. To this end, I searched for other coins that could take the role more effectively and seriously. While searching, I stumbled across CryptoNote. Given that Bitcoin was increasingly becoming more and more transparent, I knew that some other technology would come in to the picture to offer a more complete anti establishment cause. Further, CryptoNote was by default private so it was so simple that any layman could use it. To this end, I searched for coins using this technology and over time have compiled a list of cryptocurrencies that I feel offer the truest ideals of the cypherpunk. To be clear, however, I do not offer any financial advice and these are merely my opinions. I think it is wisest for people to talk with people they feel are qualified, do their own research, and go into the space with caution and prudence.
Undoubtedly, Monero (XMR) is the king of privacy coins (at the moment). Monero offers the truest sense of what the original vision of Bitcoin was. To this end, it comes to me as a no brainer to give Monero the respect it deserves. Couple this with legitimate programmers and you have the recipe for long term success. Further, Monero’s ecosystem and tools are organized in an intelligent way that makes it very easy for the average person to get started. Given the heightened risks involved with some of the community’s users, Monero ought to be easy to use so that user errors remain very low. During a speech from the core developer, Ricardo “FluffyPony” Spagni, this ideal was made clear as he acknowledged the absolute need of the community for a developer that understands the nuanced risks involved with using a privacy coin. To me, technology is only half of the battle in the cryptosphere. It is the community in conjunction with the technology that spells out the recipe for success. That isn’t to say that Monero doesn’t have it’s shortcomings but for what it’s worth, the list is miniscule in comparison to its strengths. As for the future of XMR, I’d imagine it will continue to grow and become more popular as it gains more news coverage as a threat to the establishment. In my opinion, any technology that is singled out as being a threat is a good choice as it is clearly shown to have a direct way to combat the status quo.
I started with Masari (MSR) back in 2018. During that time, I was looking around for privacy coins that were similar to Monero in its earliest stages. Long story short, I stumbled across this coin on a random post in a forum from a user named “TacoBond.” After some preliminary research, I found that the developer actually knew about programming (not a joke as many “developers” have no idea about programming) and was serious about experimenting with CryptoNote in a way that had not been done before. Given that the lead developer, Thaer Khawaja, had a background in computer systems, it made sense to me why he would want to experiment with the technology. I did, however, go into the project at this point with a grain of salt since it was deemed an “experiment” and not a full fledged crypto project. Over time, this sentiment started to change as the coin’s ecosystem began to grow. Users began to offer their free time and services to a cypherpunk project with very Libertarian ideals. One of the main problems with the coin has always been the very large shadow of Monero. I’ve always taken crypto as a community event and not a race so this was never really a problem to me personally. I see Masari as slowly becoming more mature over time with users taking more roles to make the ecosystem grow. Thanks to efforts from developers like Gnock, Cryptochangements, and CamtheGeek, Masari continues onward in a sea of crypto with many projects dying. Some projects, which won’t be named here, even began copying some of the achievements of Masari i.e. trustless web wallet, uncle mining, road map. I simply took this as a form of flattery as any crypto researcher worth their salt would eventually find that we were the first to develop those technologies and ideas in CryptoNote. I am still very excited for the future of Masari. I think it will become more utilized in payment systems that require privacy. As other coins fall short, Masari moves forward. This, in conjunction with future developments like BlockTree Sharding, will make Masari a force to be reckoned with in an ever increasing surveillance state.
Iridium (IRD) has always been a little gem of mine that I keep secret. The community is small and at times very quiet but the few faces that are there are friendly and knowledgeable. Steve Brush, the coins founder and core developer, is always upbeat and very Libertarian/free thinking – so much so that at times I am even in awe. In my opinion, an open community is vital to a true privacy coin and I think Iridium surely has this. It’s always baffled me why the project never really grew in popularity. I suppose the crypto winter is still strong (as of Jan 2020) and coins simply aren’t blowing up as they used to anymore. I think Iridium’s wallet and website are its two biggest strengths. It works, there aren’t really any problems, and the developer is committed. What more could you want from a privacy coin? But yet again, what makes it different from any other coin? I’d imagine this is what Iridium needs to figure out before it can make it to the big leagues. To date, users like H0H0H0 have done almost all of the community work behind IRD. I’d imagine this will change as time goes on and more users delegate the work to divide and conquer. Iridium is cheap, easy to use, and pretty fast.
Few people can stir a pot as good as FireIce_UK. Talented, well spoken, and cunning, he is a force to be reckoned with. The success of he and his counterpart, psychocrypt‘s, mining program XMRSTAK, seemed to slowly push them into developing their own coin. I think RYO has some of the best developers in CryptoNote at the moment. Created at a time of rockiness, RYO was born from SumoKoin. To keep things short, Sumo kind of flatlined and RYO began to sprout its community from the ashes. To date, RYO continues development at a steady pace.
Wownero (WOW) is a coin that was built at the height of Bitcoin Tulip Mania. It was a necessary response to the scams and snake oil that were rife in 2017. Looking at the webpage for WOW you can see there is no whitepaper, real avatars, and nothing is professional. This is far from the case with the actual development team. The anonymous developer, Wowario, is actually a talented programmer. The community manager has a background in tech and bitcoin journalism. They actually push out things that work like a playable Wownero game and a usable wallet. I could see WOW becoming a cheap way to tip people but this requires it to grow and pioneer ways to make that happen. I wouldn’t scoff at the notion of just having a tip coin as even Satoshi Nakamoto himself envisioned a future for Bitcoin to be used in the same manner. Time will tell if they can pull it off.