Launched in December 2013, Monacoin (MONA) is “Japan’s first cryptocurrency” and the outcome of a Litecoin hard fork. Considering that its pseudonymous founder(s)—Mr. Watanabe—created MONA as the native asset for his hash-finding game, the cryptocurrency had a rather “playful” beginning and is often regarded as a ‘joke coin’ similar to DogeCoin.
Over time, however, Monacoin has become increasingly popular among Japanese users, to the extent of being used for day-to-day payments and transactions.
Monacoin’s Cultural Significance
A distinguishing marker of Monacoin is that it’s deeply rooted in the Japanese culture in several ways. First, the project derives its name and logo from “Mona”, an ASCII-based—a standard for encrypting electronic communications—cat which is a popular character on the Japanese online forum named 2Chan.
Second, its creators assume the name “Watanabe”, which is not only a homage to Satoshi Nakamoto (Bitcoin’s founder) but is also linked to medieval literature of the ferryman’s guild. Further, it is one of the most common surnames in Japan.
Third, apart from the technical upsides, Monacoin’s strongest driving force is its cult-like following among Japanese crypto users. The official team plays a minimal role in the project’s development and maintenance, adopting a fully community-driven approach to these aspects. Especially in terms of marketing, Monacoin is literally a community-governed project.
As such, the dedicated community behind the project is one of its essential features. However, despite the pride and loyalty, MONA’s rootedness has been a hindering factor for its international adoption, especially due to language barriers.
Technical Specifications and Their Benefits
Monacoin has a total supply of 105,120,000 tokens, with new blocks being generated every 1.5 minutes. At the time of writing, the reward for miners—specialised users who validate transactions and create blocks—is 25 MONA. Using an algorithm called Dark Gravity Wave (v3), these rewards are halved once in every 3 years, thus making the cryptocurrency scarcer and more valuable.
Unlike Litecoin, Monacoin uses the Lyra2REv2 algorithm for its Proof-of-Work (PoW) consensus mechanism, instead of Scrypt which is used by Litecoin. In doing so, Monacoin intends to resist ASIC-based mining hardware, and thus, contributes to an ongoing movement within the Japanese crypto community. This provides greater security to the Monacoin network, but in general, the ASIC resistance drive speaks to a more fundamental concern—monopoly in cryptocurrency mining.
Simply put, ASICs essentially preclude any competitive possibility for individual miners and hobbyists, while fostering the risks of centralization of power. In turn, this contradicts Satoshi’s original ideal of ‘one computer one vote’.
Through a soft fork at the 937440th block, Monacoin implemented Segregated Witness or SegWit, becoming one of the world’s first blockchains to use this technology. Presently, Bitcoin and Litecoin also use SegWit, among several others.
Notwithstanding complex technical enhancements, SegWit allowed for more transactions to be accommodated per block, thus increasing the network’s overall transaction speed. Furthermore, Monacoin is compatible with the Lightning Network and ensures faster transaction settlement.
In 2018, Monacoin also joined the coveted group of cryptocurrencies that have successfully completed Atomic Swaps—a mechanism for P2P conversions between crypto-assets, primarily by using smart contracts. This expanded the horizons of Japan’s home-grown, “national” cryptocurrency, enabling it to achieve a full range of decentralised financial functionalities.
Monacoin (MONA) on the Exchange
Being a mode of payment is Monacoin’s primary purpose, which the community upholds with immense dedication. Over time, however, several MONA-based applications and services are being deployed, strengthening the coin’s overall market capitalisation.
Despite significant popularity among the Japanese, MONA is available only on select global exchanges, such as bitFlyer. Bringing Japan’s pride to Europe, bitFlyer is the only crypto exchange in the EU to have enlisted Monacoin. To buy, sell, and trade Monacoin (MONA), sign up to bitFlyer today.
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