Ethereum is a smart contract platform that enables developers to build tokens and decentralized applications (dapps). ETH is the native currency for the Ethereum platform and also works as the transaction fees to miners on the Ethereum network. Ethereum is the pioneer for blockchain based smart contracts. Smart contract is essentially a computer code that runs exactly as programmed without any possibility of downtime, censorship, fraud or third-party interference. It can facilitate the exchange of money, content, property, shares, or anything of value. When running on the blockchain a smart contract becomes like a self-operating computer program that automatically executes when specific conditions are met. Ethereum allows programmers to run complete-turing smart contracts that is capable of any customizations. Rather than giving a set of limited operations, Ethereum allows developers to have complete control over customization of their smart contract, giving developers the power to build unique and innovative applications. Ethereum being the first blockchain based smart contract platform, they have gained much popularity, resulting in new competitors fighting for market share. The competitors includes: Ethereum Classic which is the oldchain of Ethereum, Qtum, EOS, Neo, Icon, Tron and Cardano. Ethereum wallets are fairly simple to set up with multiple popular choices such as myetherwallet, metamask, and Trezor. Read here for more guide on using ethereum wallet: How to Use an Ethereum Wallet
What is Monero? Monero (XMR) is the top privacy-centric cryptocurrency based on the CryptoNote protocol, a secure, private and untraceable currency system. Monero uses a special kind of cryptography to ensure that all of its transactions are remain 100% unlinkable and untraceable. In an increasingly transparent world, you can see why something like Monero can become so desirable. Origins of Monero In July of 2012, Bytecoin, the first real life implementation of CryptoNote, was launched. While Bytecoin had promise, people noticed that 80% of the coins were already published. So, it was decided that the bytecoin blockchain will be forked and the new coins in the new chain will be called Bitmonero, which is was then renamed Monero, meaning “coin” in Esperanto language. In this new blockchain, a block will be mined and added every two minutes. Why Monero? #1: Unlinkability - Your identity is completely private You have complete control over your transactions. You are responsible for your money. Because your identity is private no one will be able to see what you are spending your money on. When you send funds to someone’s public address, what happens is that you actually send the funds to a randomly created brand new one-time destination address. This means that the public record does not contain any mention that funds were received to the recipient’s public address. In Monero, your public address will never appear in the public record of transactions. Instead, a 'stealth address' is recorded in a way that only you, the recipient, can recognize the incoming funds. #2: Fungibility Fungibility is interchangeability between one asset and another asset of the same type. Suppose you borrowed $50 from your friend, you can even return the money in the form of 1 $50 bill or 5 $10 bill, It is still fine. This shows that the dollar has fungible properties. However, if you were to borrow someone’s car for the weekend and come back and give them some other car in return, then that person will probably punch on the face. Cars, in this example, are a nonfungible asset. What is CryptoNote? CryptoNote is the application layer protocol that fuels various decentralized currencies. While it is similar to the application layer which runs bitcoin in many aspects, there a lot of areas where the two differ from each other. CryptoNote features an entirely new code base and is not a fork of Bitcoin. More info about CryptoNote can be found at their website. CryptoNote uses Ring Signatures to conceal sender identities via mixing and it also has unlinkable transactions that is achieved using 1-time keys for each individual payments. Ring signatures enable ‘transaction mixing’ to occur. Transaction mixing means that when funds are sent, the sender randomly chooses several other users’ funds to also appear in the transaction as a possible source of the funds being sent. The cryptographical nature of the ring signature means that no one can tell which of the funds were really the source of the transaction – not even the person that gave the funds to the sender in the first place. A system of ‘key images’ associated with each ring signature ensures that although no one can tell the true source of the funds, it can be easily detected if the sender attempts to anonymously send their funds twice.