Is Cryptocurrency Mining Worth It? - HedgeTrade Blog

Want to scrap RMT? Reduce cheating and hatcheting? Dissolve the meta? Open your mind and let's talk.

Disclaimer #2: I wrote this early yesterday morning and since then, the podcast happened and FIR Flea Market was announced. I have redacted some sections as a response.
Disclaimer: I know this is a long read and contains many sensitive subjects such as Secure Containers, the Flea Market, and Soft Skills, but it is simply a compiled list of ideas and in no way am I demanding for ultimate order in my favor or holding anybody else's ideas in contempt. I understand that my ideals may drastically differ from others. I only wrote this because of my passion for this game and my desire to see it succeed in the scope of what the devs outlined it to be, or at least how we interpret it: a hardcore looter shooter. I implore you guys to offer your own suggestions, ideas, and pick apart mine. This thread should only serve as the foundation for a greater Tarkov.
First, let's establish some terms to better differentiate between the two types of cheaters. There are consumer cheaters who use programs to gain an advantage over other players simply for the satisfaction of winning. Then, there are commercial cheaters, who are using these same programs but in order to generate an income in real life.
Commercial cheating will always be prolific in any video game that offers players transferable goods, and for as long as there is real money profit to be made, the benefits will continue to outweigh the risks. Any security expert can tell you that no lock is unpickable, no chain is unbreakable, and no password is unsolvable, but that doesn't mean we should all keep our doors unlocked, bikes unchained, and our passwords as "1234". And while a chain might not prevent your expensive road bike from getting stolen, having a chain, a disk lock, lojack, and the front wheel taken with you will certainly deter the grand majority of otherwise would-be thieves, who will of course, make an attempt on the less-protected bike adjacent to yours instead.
Battleye is a good start, the equivalent of a quality bike chain if you will, but of course--enough to stop most consumer cheaters, though not enough to stop most commercial cheaters. So let's ask ourselves: Where should intervention be focused on the most? We could target the cheat providers, but they'll keep writing more cheats. A game of cat and mouse. We could target the (commercial) cheaters, but they'll just buy more accounts and more cheats with the money they made cheating. Cat and mouse. Who else, then, if not the problem? They aren't the problem. Your every-day player. He is the problem. Small businesses are closing for good because the risk of COVID-19 is preventing customers from supporting their establishment. Let's increase the risk for the RMT customer to get the product that they paid for.
How? Make secure containers "read-only". Anything in your container can be "used" i.e. meds, keys, loose rounds for magazine packing, but nothing can be taken out or put in. It will then act as a non-transferable stash that can safeguard your valuables. No more accidentally dropping your S I C C case full of keys and then getting killed. However.. want to drop a keycard, case of bitcoins, or other valuables to a friend or a customer? It has to start and end the raid outside of either persons' secure container. This puts tradeable goods at risk for both the buyer and seller for the entirety of the raid, and not just at the extract when the transaction is made.
This simultaneously makes PVP more rewarding. Now, when you murder that pistoling who risked nearly nothing and put an annoying crack in your shiny, expensive face shield, you'll be able to take the graphics card or LEDX off of his body to remind him that his chances at those items would have been greater had he risked some gear of his own. More gear taken into raids is more gear taken out of the economy. Combined with the current weight system, this is a necessary and intuitive money sink.
On the topic of money sinks, let's consider changing how insurance works. Rather than insure items, we could insure ourself. Pay Prapor or Therapist a reasonable, fixed fee in advance to recover any goods left on our body (only what was taken IN to the raid. I was exploring the idea of having the game take a snapshot of your corpse's entire inventory upon the conclusion of the raid and sending it in the mail, but it would be too easy to abuse for RMT purposes. The seller could give the customer a backpack full of bitcoins and kill him in a bush for example). Because the body is insured and not each individual item, things such as ammo and meds could be returned without the bloat of having an insurance status on each individual bullet in a magazine, the primary reason I believe ammo to not be insurable currently. The fee could scale with the "safety" of the map. For example, Prapor's boys would probably feel less comfortable scouring Reserve for your dead body than a place like Factory, and thus the fee for body recovery on Reserve could be upwards of 100K and unless you were completely stripped, you would still probably make money back on unlooted ammo/meds alone. Factory on the other hand, because of how small the map is and therefore easy to find dead PMCs, the fee could be a reasonable 10K.
This does two things:
First, it stops insurance fraud. Dumping your gear (to ditch a thermal or wear someone else's kit, guaranteeing you get yours back) or your dead buddy's gear into a bush is unimmersive and bad for the economy. The current insurance system unreasonably rewards squad play for the wrong reasons, effectively removing the penalty for death if at least 1 competent person in the group survives (I personally frequent 3-5 man squads and it just feels unfair how much gear I get back when I die).
Second, it sets up a new dynamic in place of insurance fraud. Now, if you want your buddy to get his stuff back, you have to defend his body or extract with his gear. This rewards scavs for properly scavenging, looking for the fruitful casualties of groups that made it out. This is good for the economy, as the punishment for death almost always will result in a transfer of wealth to those who work for it and not a retention of wealth for non-solos.
Next up, the Flea Market.
It has been expressed many times by streamers that the Flea Market has ruined the game and should be removed but on the other hand, there were people complaining that level 15 was too high of a level to access the Flea Market and it has since become available earlier. I believe that the Flea Market is the core reason this game experiences the stagnant meta that it does. Global stock and personal limits from traders mean nothing when you can just visit the Flea Market and stockpile VALs and SR3Ms to run EVERY raid. Of course I am nobody to try and force anybody to play a certain way or use a certain loadout, but I do believe that the game would be more exciting if rare loadouts were actually rare. One solution is to make the Flea Market "find in raid" only. Not only would this be another nail in the RMT coffin (it would prevent customers from selling transacted barter items for exorbitant prices), but it would mark the first true player-driven economy by removing flipped goods from traders.
Traders could offer a (per-person, not global) tailored, but random assortment of goods each restock that you can piece together a kit from rather than a static array of goods unlocked by loyalty level. The (loyalty) level of the player would determine the frequency and strength of their goods. At Prapor LL4 for example, you may see VALs pop up more often, but once you buy them, that's all, and you have to wait until next restock and he might not even have any by then either. You might see a VAL available at lower loyalties as well, but even less frequently. Traders could then scale their prices dynamically to global demand (not the old, abusable system. This one would change the price incrementally based on purchase frequency. Global purchase frequency rising on a specific item? Global price on that item raises accordingly). This is good for the economy and, combined with making the Flea Market "find in raid" only, I believe it to be a solution to stagnant meta. How cool was it when you were new and killed that guy who had an SV-98 that you had to examine because you hadn't seen it until now? You'd get that feeling more often this way. Lastly, if the "find in raid" status is spoofable by cheaters, add a server-side check for the status.
Now on to weapon attachments.
Because of how unusable most stock rifles feel, there is a huge appeal for sticking as many appendages as possible to rifles to achieve that sweet <70, or god forbid, <40 recoil. Many of the attachments in the game go untouched because they don't offer even close to the arbitrary stat benefits of those in the meta. It is such a shame, as one of Tarkov's greatest strengths is the weapon modding system. I believe a step in the right direction would be to improve base weapon stats around the board (excluding weapons with fewer attachments such as the DVL) and and then nerf and bring each attachment more in line with each other, especially some of the outliers. Compare the RK-2 to the VPG for example. As such though, if an unmodded weapon vs a modded weapon wasn't night and day, it would promote significantly more weapon and attachment diversity. Of course some people are still going to min-max no matter how insignificant the benefits are. I would just like to be able to use a shortened SA-58 and be remotely competitive with a BMD'd 21" CASV SA-58. Or be able to C-clamp a Zhukov AK-102 without a foregrip and not lose to an equal-skill player 3/5 times who has the same gun, but with an RK-2.
Soft skill requirements for tasks and upgrades should be removed. They incline people to figure out ways of abusing the system and given people a reason to endorse it in order to progress through the task lines and upgrade their hideout. Soft skills should only be a passive reward for playing the game, not something people feel obligated to abuse. Additionally, PMCs should start at a higher level of soft skills, say... 10, to reflect the training and experience they received during employment. It doesn't make sense that untrained scavs have the same physical and mental capabilities as professional soldiers.
Certain skills as well can benefit greatly from a rework. Let's look at the following:

Strength
The elite perk is incredibly overpowered, but only because of how extreme it is. It could be changed so that each level of Strength increments a small % of the current elite perk, such as 0.5% per level, and then an additional 5% or so for elite, so at level 51, only 70% of the weight from worn gear would be counted. Run speed and Jump height could be reduced, and the leveling speed increased.
On the topic of gear weight, now that the weight system has been introduced and we get slower the heavier we get, could flat movement speed penalties from armor be removed? 6B43 already weighs 20KG. Why does it also slow for an additional 42%? Nobody uses heavy armor anymore because the extra protection is not worth the forfeiture of loot AND lowered base movement speed AND lowered sensitivity/ergonomics. Sensitivity inconsistency is another issue and most consider it a cardinal sin in FPS games.

Recoil Control
Heavily reduce the benefits. -0.3% recoil per level totaling -15% at level 50. As well, -0.4% recoil on the first shot per mouse click. The elite perk could be an additional 5% reduction on the first shot per mouse click. This would be a nice buff to semi-autos and make them more competitive against the current laser beam meta guns.

Search
The elite perk, again, is overpowered. Perhaps starting at Search level 0, we should be able to search two items at the same time, but at 40% speed each if searching two items at once. If only one item is searched at a time, speed would remain at 100%. With each level, search speed for double search increases by 1% and single search by 2% and the elite perk adds an additional 10%, bringing double search speed up to 100% at level 51 without the black and white difference between levels 50 and 51.

TL;DR: No TL;DR because I know some people will draw wild conclusions before fully understanding the content of the post.
submitted by 1199_Panigale_S to EscapefromTarkov [link] [comments]

Rise and Fall Part 9

Part 8 (has access to parts 1-7 in it)
For some reason it would not post the last day or so.
It is early 2017. I have been carrying on my usual playing 10-20 hours a week to survive. Still lethargic is best term I suppose. I just dont get excited to play anymore. I consider getting a job to remind me how shitty working is so it gives me a kick in the teeth to play poker. Then it dawns on me, I hate playing poker now.
Poker has been tainted. Everything bad that happened to me I can associate with poker. The rise and fall was poker (the fall part). The oxycontin started as a performance enhancer to log more hours. Everything I consider to be wrong in my life I trace back to poker essentially, even if just a butterfly affect reason that had I done something else I wouldnt be here.
Hating poker is not the greatest realization considering its my only means to income outside of grunt labor. I seek a job in a couple places to no avail which was fine, I didnt wanna do that either.
Several months earlier I had started playing on SWC (bitcoin site) and became familiarized with bitcoin. Thought nothing of it, it was just the currency I was winning or losing. I dont read a thing about it, I learn nothing of it. I wasnt playing a ton or even big stakes, my intention for playing online was to just stay sharp in case it ever comes back full fledge. I have 5-6 btc on this site at the most (2-3k) and I flush it playing plo and big o not thinking much of it.
Back to 2017. Its March/April~ of 2017. I am playing cards one night dicking around probably had a couple drinks and was needling the usuals etc. A guy I do not know is in the game. Looks Russian. I bet he interfered in our election... fucking commies. I dont remember how I got to talking to him but crypto had been brought up. I talk about SWC. Tell him I had a few btc but not anymore. The only other thing I remember well from the conversation was bitching about going from an iphone4 (yes I had an iphone4 from 2010-17, the same one. It barely worked. Many oxycontins snorted off the back of that phone, texts dating back to when I got it in 2010) to the 6 or 7 or wtfever I have now, which is bigger and its harder to text and drive. He just responds by saying “first world problems are the worst”. Amen brother, those Africans and Venezuelans have no clue of our struggle.
I end up talking to him a bit and it turns out he mines crypto. Has a website that sells mining equipment. He has a hell of a back story too. I tell him I am interested in mining. I have about 20k to my name at this time and I realized recently that I dont like playing poker so why not? He eventually tells me not to do it. Regardless we become friends and he is ultimately the most important friend I have ever made. I have made more positive strides mentally since meeting him (mostly work ethic, realizations, reality checks and aspirations) As silly as it sounds, when he told me “first world problems are the worst” it stuck with me. He was saying it as a joke but jokes are funniest when true. He is genuinely the smartest guy I have ever associated with also. If you run into him at a poker table youd think he was a high functioning autist. Then you talk to him and go “ohhh hes just one of those Einstein type geniuses”. His hair is usually a mess, he cuts his own hair for or has his girlfriend do it. He wears cheap clothing usually since it all covers your ass or nipples I suppose. He virtually never instigates conversation with people he doesnt know. He is really deliberate with his actions. Talks really calmly and knows exactly what he is saying. He is just on the same level at all times it seems.
Meeting him has definitely changed my life for the better. We become friends pretty quickly. I know I went on a downer after meeting him because I couldnt afford to buy mining stuff and remember wanting to (again, he told me not to do it eventually anyways).
Which will lead me to another good friend to have. Between 2015 and this point in 2017 I have shot myself in the foot not logging hours a couple times. A friend has bailed me out with a loan or short term stake a few times. He is a well off restaurant owner who loves poker more than just about anything not related to him. Every time I see him we talk about hands he played and he just eats it up, has photographic memory and never butchers a hand history which is nice. He is as good hearted of a guy as I have ever met. (Sorry if this is getting long winded giving praise to people close to me, I intend on sharing with a few people and would like them to know what they mean to me as corny as that is because I suck at doing it in real life. Plus it is kinda gay to get mushy sounding in real life, but I digress. Theyve heard virtually none of the content of this whole thread either, a ton of this stuff I have never shared) In fact he is too kind hearted. He has helped people who wouldnt piss on him if he was on fire, and people have burned him on many occasions. My only complaint about this person is he never kicked my ass and told me to log more hours or fuck off. I needed it. If I just logged hours I wouldnt need the help. Its as simple as that. I have no leaks other than the unwillingness to play (leaks as in drugs/pit games/strippers/wtf ever else) and it has hindered me immensely over the these last couple years. (Ok I do have one embarrassing leak that has been fixed for a year and change, mobile games... I have spent like 30,000$ on mobile games between late 2016 and late 2018, Lords Mobile specifically clocked me for 20k. This definitely hindered my ability to build a roll and got me into a few jams. When youre not logging hours playing youre sitting around gaming and these games arent cheap obviously)
It is around May now and my friend who messes with crypto tells me that Bitcoin is going to 10,000$. Its like 800$ at the time iirc. I own a couple from Ignition cashouts. I kind of trust him. I cant argue him on it as I have literally no mental fortitude on the subject, but I essentially shrug it off. I start watching the price on poloniex and am watching prices jump like crazy. Light bulb in head! I can buy the dips sell the peaks and have more BTC! Lets load the 2.5btc I have onto poloniex! Sell peak but it keeps climbing... “FUCK! gotta get it back before it goes to 10k! Whew. Still have 2.45 BTC. FUCK! Its dropping! Get it out before it goes to zero!”
Yea I turned that 2.5 BTC into .4 BTC. No joke. I think I ended up throwing it onto SWC and losing it once it was almost gone. I honestly forget. I had nothing when it finally hit 20k other than some shit alts worth about 800$ at most (worth 35$ now but they still reside in my locked poloniex account, maybe I will give poloniex my ID if they ever become worth more than 1k)
So I am now annoyed I didnt turn every free dollar I had into BTC. I didnt trust the guy enough and to be fair I would have been using the money I play with. Had I met the guy a year earlier (know what I know of him now) I would probably have just locked it all up and sat around waiting.
I never really get my act together in 2017. I continuously log just enough hours to get by. I just dont care. I just want a way out of this. I catch myself saying “I hate playing poker” and sometime around the end of 17 or early 2018 I start trying to censor myself and quit saying that. Saying it will only make it fester deeper. I have to retrain myself to love poker. I remember the days of playing 18-24 hours straight because I love playing. I love watching for everything I can find to get an edge. I love a situation to present itself where I can step out of line. But now I just sit down and count the minutes before I can tell myself “way to go! You put in an 8 hour shift lets pack it in!” I leave good games often times. I celebrate when games break. This is where I am mentally while I play. I cant break out of it.
Late in 2017 a close friend of mine passes away. Will call him J. He was the guy who gave me a place to stay after the shutdown in Joplin. I was still doing oxy and he never once touched the stuff knowing what has happened to me. He doesnt judge me, he is somewhat of an enabler I suppose. He just drinks does shitty coke sometimes and has a script of adderol and xanax. Literally never once does he do any with me (ive warned him xanax and opiates will kill you if you mix, which is likely part of the reason he never did it) He was a marginal poker player (relative to modern game, he was just good enough to beat the rake live but he had too many pit leaks) and took great pride in being my friend (I was the slayer in the area for years leading up to this, anyone considered the best in their area can relate, you just have the respect of the local poker community). One of my earlier live poker memories involved him. I am like 18 or 19 playing a 1-2 game at a small casino and he was there with a friend. They were the good players in the game at the time. They were having a few drinks eating nice food and laughing having a good time. I remember thinking that I want this lifestyle. Care free gambling fast paced lifestyle. I had told him this story years later and he just ate it up, constantly tried to get me to rebound, but as I have stated many many times in the last few of these I have basically waved my white flag and accepted the result of my fall.
Anyhow after living with him we always talk every few months at minimal and have something to eat when we see each other at the casino. He was somewhat disingenuous sounding he was so nice and honestly it got to a point it started rubbing me the wrong way. I still talk to him of course but less frequently. In December of 2017 I get a phone call from my friend who owns the restaurant and he is distraught. He has been at the hospital and J has passed away. The back story on this is he had gotten a phone call from old friend who was getting out of prison in Arizona with no where to go (a female). J being as nice a guy as he is drives the 20+ hours to get her and gives her a place to stay. Well shes a junky and actually convinces J to do opiates/heroin. He overdoses and dies. I hadnt talked to him in a few months. I regret it. Had I known I would have beaten him senseless and got him to quit before things actually get bad.
Going to his funeral hit me up side the head too. The way I started feeling he was disingenuous just got destroyed. I cant fathom as many people showing up to my funeral with as nice of things to say. I wrote something to say but opt out after a few people say everything I had written (except better). I regret not saying them anyways. I think I still have what I wrote tucked away with the card and his money clip that made its way to me. I stumbled across his casino players card in a box one day and it resides in my wallet ever since. This was the first close friend that has passed away in my life, knock on wood. It woke me up a bit and caused a lot of self reflection because I felt I had let him down. I lived a few miles from him and didnt drop in to see him, didnt stay in contact as well as I should have. All because I felt he was disingenuously nice when he was actually just nice, which is actually because I am a cynical hermit who hates social life these days. That was the real reason I didnt stay closer. Him being too nice was just my excuse to blow him off essentially.
Only other thing I can add is that chick he helped out didnt even go to his funeral and on top of that had tried to take his truck and clean his house out. Junkies are the worst. I was a junky but I proudly say I never robbed anyone or cost anyone anything other than emotional distress, which isnt much of a brag obviously.
2018 starts and I have been decreasing my methadone every week for about 3-4 months now. I am on a low dose. Makes sleeping at night hard (get restless legs and sneezy). So I am having a few drinks any time I am at the casino playing (still just two days a week for the most part) to help get through those late night sessions when its worn off and I feel crummy. I get down to 15mg then 10mg and in March of 2018 I get asked if I wanna work for a week with my crypto friend. His friend is setting up a farm with 500 miners and needs help. I agree. The pay is in excess of the work (in my opinion) at 3k and I have no expenses, but I dont argue obviously. Before we leave town I have to pick up my week of methadone (at 4mg now) and so I do that. I never take any of them, I have the box still. Never opened it. They remain at my apartment as a reminder, the box carrying the 6 doses and a stack of receipts for every 75$ week that I kept in the box, several years worth, at least 9-10k worth of receipts, and that shits CHEAP compared to oxy. So I am finally off of opiates. I take kratom still but its essentially non addictive in comparison. Ill cede that I am reliant on kratom but if it disappeared tomorrow I wouldnt panic, I would be fine.
So I fly to Denver with my friend and meet his friends half brother who was instructed to rent a box truck and the three of us were to drive from Denver to Washington carrying like half a million dollars worth of hardware. Its early March, the roads arent exactly great. Half brother of his friend rents a truck with no middle seat though. Its absolutely miserable. Whoever sat middle was sitting like a fem boy legs closed and knees up high from the drive shaft hump. It was un fucking real how uncomfortable the middle was. So like I stated the roads were not great, we drove on ice for 5-6 hours straight (while my crypto friend did about 30 minutes of it before I decided I value my life and banned him from driving, he was literally doing over 70 on this ice sheet when I checked the gauge. I forget what he said, I will fail to make it sound as good but he said that he is protected and can not die, if we wreck he wont get hurt because of some universe stipulation that protects him. He said we would get hurt but he wouldnt. *** Ok here is what he said.
“quantum immortality. if i die in this universe, my conciousness will shift to others where i am still alive”
He just couldnt assure us ours would.
I end up driving like 18 of the 24 (one shot) hours it took as letting crypto friend drive was out. We make it set up a farm over a couple days then we go to Vegas. Not only do we go to Vegas but we fly a private jet. Not only do we take a private jet but his buddy has all four of us our own room at the Bellagio for 5-6 days. I remember having a 4500$ win at Bellagios 500$ cap 2-5 game... ran pretty salty. I only remember one hand worth bringing up, but I closed action and called 400$ pre with 67o with 3 others all in. Just flop 77X and send me the money. (Was drinking, gamble gamble). I cold called that also, some fish had opened massive and a 300$ stack just ripped a 400$ stack rejammed and I had called out of bb knowing fish will call off his 400~. This is actually a leak I have in poker. I will go over it because it has history.
Dating back to online my biggest leak was playing vs short stacks. Everyones biggest leak obv (6m setting). There were a few min buyers on Carbon and I got to the point I put them in pre every time they opened my bb from button, so long as they opened 75%+ from button or close to it. This has carried with me live, if I can gamble 3-4 ways (4 specifically) I will basically do it any time its 100bb~ or less with about 40% of hands if I can close action safely. I am a bit of a degenerate in this sense. I will flip for 1k if I have 10k to my name. It mostly came as a way to loosen up tables (the flipping blind preflop) at my local casino with players who give action. I am pretty snug in general but I cant refuse a flip when it presents itself and I cant refuse a fun gamble with short stacks.
I spend the month in Vegas during WSOP and run absurdly bad. Lose every big pot I play it seems. Switch to PLO the last half of the month and go a week straight without tripling my buy in up at any point. Just insane. Looking back I play rather poorly in PLO. I have been spoiled with my PLO games back home (which have been dead for about a year) and could get away with playing 50% of hands and no one ever bet big draws or anything not the nuts basically. I didnt adjust at all is what the issue was. Was just a frustrating month.
So I return and take a stake from a friend. I barely play still. Same ole same ole.
The last thing I will cover for this section is an incident late in 2018. One of the girls who is the floor at my local casino takes kratom also, we talk about it a fair amount. She has some 10mg percocets (mini oxycontins essentially) she gives me two of them. I havent had one in several years. I have been off methadone for 6-8 months at the time. I am eager to feel what I felt all those years ago, having no tolerance. So I take them home even though I know I shouldnt.
I get home and take both of them. What transpires is almost depressing. It frustrates me to no end that I realized that I have no desire for these. It affirms that all the money I flushed wasnt about the high, it was about the not withdrawing. I basically stated this in an earlier post but this is the event that I learned this from. I dont even enjoy it. I just sink knowing that I gave my life away for these. I have never recovered thanks to pain killers. Never once after 2011 have I ever looked in the mirror and said “finally, I have finally recovered what I fucked off”.
I am going to finish this thread off on the next post most likely. It will likely be long and take me a while to compose as it will cover my current year, and put a bow on it. The story basically climaxes a couple posts back, these surely have slowly lost their luster but I will finish them anyways. Nothing exciting about hearing about a guy who can beat games but wont sit in the chair to do it. Its a bit more upbeat in 2019 though andd I feel my future is bright and redemption nears though. I dont think I would have written these if not for a change of mentality recently, so look forward to a positive summary next post.
submitted by cisheteropatriarchy to poker [link] [comments]

Your Guide to Monero, and Why It Has Great Potential

/////Your Guide to Monero, and Why It Has Great Potential/////

Marketing.
It's a dirty word for most members of the Monero community.
It is also one of the most divisive words in the Monero community. Yet, the lack of marketing is one of the most frustrating things for many newcomers.
This is what makes this an unusual post from a member of the Monero community.
This post is an unabashed and unsolicited analyzation of why I believe Monero to have great potential.
Below I have attempted to outline different reasons why Monero has great potential, beginning with upcoming developments and use cases, to broader economic motives, speculation, and key issues for it to overcome.
I encourage you to discuss and criticise my musings, commenting below if you feel necessary to do so.

///Upcoming Developments///

Bulletproofs - A Reduction in Transaction Sizes and Fees
Since the introduction of Ring Confidential Transactions (Ring CT), transaction amounts have been hidden in Monero, albeit at the cost of increased transaction fees and sizes. In order to mitigate this issue, Bulletproofs will soon be added to reduce both fees and transaction size by 80% to 90%. This is great news for those transacting smaller USD amounts as people commonly complained Monero's fees were too high! Not any longer though! More information can be found here. Bulletproofs are already working on the Monero testnet, and developers were aiming to introduce them in March 2018, however it could be delayed in order to ensure everything is tried and tested.
Multisig
Multisig has recently been merged! Mulitsig, also called multisignature, is the requirement for a transaction to have two or more signatures before it can be executed. Multisig transactions and addresses are indistinguishable from normal transactions and addresses in Monero, and provide more security than single-signature transactions. It is believed this will lead to additional marketplaces and exchanges to supporting Monero.
Kovri
Kovri is an implementation of the Invisible Internet Project (I2P) network. Kovri uses both garlic encryption and garlic routing to create a private, protected overlay-network across the internet. This overlay-network provides users with the ability to effectively hide their geographical location and internet IP address. The good news is Kovri is under heavy development and will be available soon. Unlike other coins' false privacy claims, Kovri is a game changer as it will further elevate Monero as the king of privacy.
Mobile Wallets
There is already a working Android Wallet called Monerujo available in the Google Play Store. X Wallet is an IOS mobile wallet. One of the X Wallet developers recently announced they are very, very close to being listed in the Apple App Store, however are having some issues with getting it approved. The official Monero IOS and Android wallets, along with the MyMonero IOS and Android wallets, are also almost ready to be released, and can be expected very soon.
Hardware Wallets
Hardware wallets are currently being developed and nearing completion. Because Monero is based on the CryptoNote protocol, it means it requires unique development in order to allow hardware wallet integration. The Ledger Nano S will be adding Monero support by the end of Q1 2018. There is a recent update here too. Even better, for the first time ever in cryptocurrency history, the Monero community banded together to fund the development of an exclusive Monero Hardware Wallet, and will be available in Q2 2018, costing only about $20! In addition, the CEO of Trezor has offered a 10BTC bounty to whoever can provide the software to allow Monero integration. Someone can be seen to already be working on that here.
TAILS Operating System Integration
Monero is in the progress of being packaged in order for it to be integrated into TAILS and ready to use upon install. TAILS is the operating system popularised by Edward Snowden and is commonly used by those requiring privacy such as journalists wanting to protect themselves and sources, human-right defenders organizing in repressive contexts, citizens facing national emergencies, domestic violence survivors escaping from their abusers, and consequently, darknet market users.
In the meantime, for those users who wish to use TAILS with Monero, u/Electric_sheep01 has provided Sheep's Noob guide to Monero GUI in Tails 3.2, which is a step-by-step guide with screenshots explaining how to setup Monero in TAILS, and is very easy to follow.
Mandatory Hardforks
Unlike other coins, Monero receives a protocol upgrade every 6 months in March and September. Think of it as a Consensus Protocol Update. Monero's hard forks ensure quality development takes place, while preventing political or ideological issues from hindering progress. When a hardfork occurs, you simply download and use the new daemon version, and your existing wallet files and copy of the blockchain remain compatible. This reddit post provides more information.
Dynamic fees
Many cryptocurrencies have an arbitrary block size limit. Although Monero has a limit, it is adaptive based on the past 100 blocks. Similarly, fees change based on transaction volume. As more transactions are processed on the Monero network, the block size limit slowly increases and the fees slowly decrease. The opposite effect also holds true. This means that the more transactions that take place, the cheaper the fees!
Tail Emission and Inflation
There will be around 18.4 million Monero mined at the end of May 2022. However, tail emission will kick in after that which is 0.6 XMR, so it has no fixed limit. Gundamlancer explains that Monero's "main emission curve will issue about 18.4 million coins to be mined in approximately 8 years. (more precisely 18.132 Million coins by ca. end of May 2022) After that, a constant "tail emission" of 0.6 XMR per 2-minutes block (modified from initially equivalent 0.3 XMR per 1-minute block) will create a sub-1% perpetual inflatio starting with 0.87% yearly inflation around May 2022) to prevent the lack of incentives for miners once a currency is not mineable anymore.
Monero Research Lab
Monero has a group of anonymous/pseudo-anonymous university academics actively researching, developing, and publishing academic papers in order to improve Monero. See here and here. The Monero Research Lab are acquainted with other members of cryptocurrency academic community to ensure when new research or technology is uncovered, it can be reviewed and decided upon whether it would be beneficial to Monero. This ensures Monero will always remain a leading cryptocurrency. A recent end of 2017 update from a MRL researcher can be found here.

///Monero's Technology - Rising Above The Rest///

Monero Has Already Proven Itself To Be Private, Secure, Untraceable, and Trustless
Monero is the only private, untraceable, trustless, secure and fungible cryptocurrency. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are TRACEABLE through the use of blockchain analytics, and has lead to the prosecution of numerous individuals, such as the alleged Alphabay administrator Alexandre Cazes. In the Forfeiture Complaint which detailed the asset seizure of Alexandre Cazes, the anonymity capabilities of Monero were self-demonstrated by the following statement of the officials after the AlphaBay shutdown: "In total, from CAZES' wallets and computer agents took control of approximately $8,800,000 in Bitcoin, Ethereum, Monero and Zcash, broken down as follows: 1,605.0503851 Bitcoin, 8,309.271639 Ethereum, 3,691.98 Zcash, and an unknown amount of Monero".
Privacy CANNOT BE OPTIONAL and must be at a PROTOCOL LEVEL. With Monero, privacy is mandatory, so that everyone gets the benefits of privacy without any transactions standing out as suspicious. This is the reason Darknet Market places are moving to Monero, and will never use Verge, Zcash, Dash, Pivx, Sumo, Spectre, Hush or any other coins that lack good privacy. Peter Todd (who was involved in the Zcash trusted setup ceremony) recently reiterated his concerns of optional privacy after Jeffrey Quesnelle published his recent paper stating 31.5% of Zcash transactions may be traceable, and that only ~1% of the transactions are pure privacy transactions (i.e., z -> z transactions). When the attempted private transactions stand out like a sore thumb there is no privacy, hence why privacy cannot be optional. In addition, in order for a cryptocurrency to truly be private, it must not be controlled by a centralised body, such as a company or organisation, because it opens it up to government control and restrictions. This is no joke, but Zcash is supported by DARPA and the Israeli government!.
Monero provides a stark contrast compared to other supposed privacy coins, in that Monero does not have a rich list! With all other coins, you can view wallet balances on the blockexplorers. You can view Monero's non-existent rich list here to see for yourself.
I will reiterate here that Monero is TRUSTLESS. You don't need to rely on anyone else to protect your privacy, or worry about others colluding to learn more about you. No one can censor your transaction or decide to intervene. Monero is immutable, unlike Zcash, in which the lead developer Zooko publicly tweeted the possibility of providing a backdoor for authorities to trace transactions. To Zcash's demise, Zooko famously tweeted:
" And by the way, I think we can successfully make Zcash too traceable for criminals like WannaCry, but still completely private & fungible. …"
Ethereum's track record of immutability is also poor. Ethereum was supposed to be an immutable blockchain ledger, however after the DAO hack this proved to not be the case. A 2016 article on Saintly Law summarised the problematic nature of Ethereum's leadership and blockchain intervention:
" Many ethereum and blockchain advocates believe that the intervention was the wrong move to make in this situation. Smart contracts are meant to be self-executing, immutable and free from disturbance by organisations and intermediaries. Yet the building block of all smart contracts, the code, is inherently imperfect. This means that the technology is vulnerable to the same malicious hackers that are targeting businesses and governments. It is also clear that the large scale intervention after the DAO hack could not and would not likely be taken in smaller transactions, as they greatly undermine the viability of the cryptocurrency and the technology."
Monero provides Fungibility and Privacy in a Cashless World
As outlined on GetMonero.org, fungibility is the property of a currency whereby two units can be substituted in place of one another. Fungibility means that two units of a currency can be mutually substituted and the substituted currency is equal to another unit of the same size. For example, two $10 bills can be exchanged and they are functionally identical to any other $10 bill in circulation (although $10 bills have unique ID numbers and are therefore not completely fungible). Gold is probably a closer example of true fungibility, where any 1 oz. of gold of the same grade is worth the same as another 1 oz. of gold. Monero is fungible due to the nature of the currency which provides no way to link transactions together nor trace the history of any particular XMR. 1 XMR is functionally identical to any other 1 XMR. Fungibility is an advantage Monero has over Bitcoin and almost every other cryptocurrency, due to the privacy inherent in the Monero blockchain and the permanently traceable nature of the Bitcoin blockchain. With Bitcoin, any BTC can be tracked by anyone back to its creation coinbase transaction. Therefore, if a coin has been used for an illegal purpose in the past, this history will be contained in the blockchain in perpetuity.
A great example of Bitcoin's lack of fungibility was reposted by u/ViolentlyPeaceful:
"Imagine you sell cupcakes and receive Bitcoin as payment. It turns out that someone who owned that Bitcoin before you was involved in criminal activity. Now you are worried that you have become a suspect in a criminal case, because the movement of funds to you is a matter of public record. You are also worried that certain Bitcoins that you thought you owned will be considered ‘tainted’ and that others will refuse to accept them as payment."
This lack of fungibility means that certain businesses will be obligated to avoid accepting BTC that have been previously used for purposes which are illegal, or simply run afoul of their Terms of Service. Currently some large Bitcoin companies are blocking, suspending, or closing accounts that have received Bitcoin used in online gambling or other purposes deemed unsavory by said companies. Monero has been built specifically to address the problem of traceability and non-fungibility inherent in other cryptocurrencies. By having completely private transactions Monero is truly fungible and there can be no blacklisting of certain XMR, while at the same time providing all the benefits of a secure, decentralized, permanent blockchain.
The world is moving cashless. Fact. The ramifications of this are enormous as we move into a cashless world in which transactions will be tracked and there is a potential for data to be used by third parties for adverse purposes. While most new cryptocurrency investors speculate upon vaporware ICO tokens in the hope of generating wealth, Monero provides salvation for those in which financial privacy is paramount. Too often people equate Monero's features with criminal endeavors. Privacy is not a crime, and is necessary for good money. Transparency in Monero is possible OFF-CHAIN, which offers greater transparency and flexibility. For example, a Monero user may share their Private View Key with their accountant for tax purposes.
Monero aims to be adopted by more than just those with nefarious use cases. For example, if you lived in an oppressive religious regime and wanted to buy a certain item, using Monero would allow you to exchange value privately and across borders if needed. Another example is that if everybody can see how much cryptocurrency you have in your wallet, then a certain service might decide to charge you more, and bad actors could even use knowledge of your wallet balance to target you for extortion purposes. For example, a Russian cryptocurrency blogger was recently beaten and robbed of $425k. This is why FUNGIBILITY IS ESSENTIAL. To summarise this in a nutshell:
"A lack of fungibility means that when sending or receiving funds, if the other person personally knows you during a transaction, or can get any sort of information on you, or if you provide a residential address for shipping etc. – you could quite potentially have them use this against you for personal gain"
For those that wish to seek more information about why Monero is a superior form of money, read The Merits of Monero: Why Monero Vs Bitcoin over on the Monero.how website.
Monero's Humble Origins
Something that still rings true today despite the great influx of money into cryptocurrencies was outlined in Nick Tomaino's early 2016 opinion piece. The author claimed that "one of the most interesting aspects of Monero is that the project has gained traction without a crowd sale pre-launch, without VC funding and any company or well-known investors and without a pre-mine. Like Bitcoin in the early days, Monero has been a purely grassroots movement that was bootstrapped by the creator and adopted organically without any institutional buy-in. The creator and most of the core developers serve the community pseudonymously and the project was launched on a message board (similar to the way Bitcoin was launched on an email newsletter)."
The Organic Growth of the Monero Community
The Monero community over at monero is exponentially growing. You can view the Monero reddit metrics here and see that the Monero subreddit currently gains more than 10,000 (yes, ten thousand!) new subscribers every 10 days! Compare this to most of the other coins out there, and it proves to be one of the only projects with real organic growth. In addition to this, the community subreddits are specifically divided to ensure the main subreddit remains unbiased, tech focused, with no shilling or hype. All trading talk is designated to xmrtrader, and all memes at moonero.
Forum Funding System
While most contributors have gratefully volunteered their time to the project, Monero also has a Forum Funding System in which money is donated by community members to ensure it attracts and retains the brightest minds and most skilled developers. Unlike ICOs and other cryptocurrencies, Monero never had a premine, and does not have a developer tax. If ANYONE requires funding for a Monero related project, then they can simply request funding from the community, and if the community sees it as beneficial, they will donate. Types of projects range from Monero funding for local meet ups, to paying developers for their work.
Monero For Goods, Services, and Market Places
There is a growing number of online goods and services that you can now pay for with Monero. Globee is a service that allows online merchants to accept payments through credit cards and a host of cryptocurrencies, while being settled in Bitcoin, Monero or fiat currency. Merchants can reach a wider variety of customers, while not needing to invest in additional hardware to run cryptocurrency wallets or accept the current instability of the cryptocurrency market. Globee uses all of the open source API's that BitPay does making integrations much easier!
Project Coral Reef is a service which allows you to shop and pay for popular music band products and services using Monero.
Linux, Veracrypt, and a whole array of VPNs now accept Monero.
There is a new Monero only marketplace called Annularis currently being developed which has been created for those who value financial privacy and economic freedom, and there are rumours Open Bazaar is likely to support Monero once Multisig is implemented.
In addition, Monero is also supported by The Living Room of Satoshi so you can pay bills or credit cards directly using Monero.
Monero can be found on a growing number of cryptocurrency exchange services such as Bittrex, Poloniex, Cryptopia, Shapeshift, Changelly, Bitfinex, Kraken, Bisq, Tux, and many others.
For those wishing to purchase Monero anonymously, there are services such as LocalMonero.co and Moneroforcash.com.
With XMR.TO you can pay Bitcoin addresses directly with Monero. There are no other fees than the miner ones. All user records are purged after 48 hours. XMR.TO has also been added as an embedded feature into the Monerujo android wallet.
Coinhive Browser-Based Mining
Unlike Bitcoin, Monero can be mined using CPUs and GPUs. Not only does this encourage decentralisation, it also opens the door to browser based mining. Enter side of stage, Coinhive browser-based mining. As described by Hon Lau on the Symnatec Blog Browser-based mining, as its name suggests, is a method of cryptocurrency mining that happens inside a browser and is implemented using Javascript. Coinhive is marketed as an alternative to browser ad revenue. The motivation behind this is simple: users pay for the content indirectly by coin mining when they visit the site and website owners don't have to bother users with sites laden with ads, trackers, and all the associated paraphern. This is great, provided that the websites are transparent with site visitors and notify users of the mining that will be taking place, or better still, offer users a way to opt in, although this hasn't always been the case thus far.
Skepticism Sunday
The main Monero subreddit has weekly Skepticism Sundays which was created with the purpose of installing "a culture of being scientific, skeptical, and rational". This is used to have open, critical discussions about monero as a technology, it's economics, and so on.

///Speculation///

Major Investors And Crypto Figureheads Are Interested
Ari Paul is the co-founder and CIO of BlockTower Capital. He was previously a portfolio manager for the University of Chicago's $8 billion endowment, and a derivatives market maker and proprietary trader for Susquehanna International Group. Paul was interviewed on CNBC on the 26th of December and when asked what was his favourite coin was, he stated "One that has real fundamental value besides from Bitcoin is Monero" and said it has "very strong engineering". In addition, when he was asked if that was the one used by criminals, he replied "Everything is used by criminals including the US dollar and the Euro". Paul later supported these claims on Twitter, recommending only Bitcoin and Monero as long-term investments.
There are reports that "Roger Ver, earlier known as 'Bitcoin Jesus' for his evangelical support of the Bitcoin during its early years, said his investment in Monero is 'substantial' and his biggest in any virtual currency since Bitcoin.
Charlie Lee, the creator of Litecoin, has publicly stated his appreciation of Monero. In a September 2017 tweet directed to Edward Snowden explaining why Monero is superior to Zcash, Charlie Lee tweeted:
All private transactions, More tested privacy tech, No tax on miners to pay investors, No high inflation... better investment.
John McAfee, arguably cryptocurrency's most controversial character at the moment, has publicly supported Monero numerous times over the last twelve months(before he started shilling ICOs), and has even claimed it will overtake Bitcoin.
Playboy instagram celebrity Dan Bilzerian is a Monero investor, with 15% of his portfolio made up of Monero.
Finally, while he may not be considered a major investor or figurehead, Erik Finman, a young early Bitcoin investor and multimillionaire, recently appeared in a CNBC Crypto video interview, explaining why he isn't entirely sold on Bitcoin anymore, and expresses his interest in Monero, stating:
"Monero is a really good one. Monero is an incredible currency, it's completely private."
There is a common belief that most of the money in cryptocurrency is still chasing the quick pump and dumps, however as the market matures, more money will flow into legitimate projects such as Monero. Monero's organic growth in price is evidence smart money