Monero vs Monero Original vs MoneroClassic vs Monero 0
On the 6th April 2018, Monero went through a hard-fork where it changed it's mining algorithm to become resistant to ASIC Cryptonight miners.
Over the 5th & 6th April 2018, several other variations of Monero have appeared causing many people to be confused on which one they should be holding and supporting. This guide will explain what each of these are.
See this earlier guide for a timeline of events leading to this.
Why are there 5 versions of Monero?
Part of Monero's development is that it hard-forks every 6 months, this is completely normal so not a surprise. After one of these scheduled hard-forks Monero retains the ticker symbol 'XMR' as well as the upgrades from the hard-fork; on the 6th April hard-fork it had changes including resistance to Cryptonight ASIC miners. If people disagree with these hard-forks, they can create their own versions of Monero.
That seems to have happened here, where because of strong financial incentives against this hard-fork (discussed below), 4 different entities have created versions of Monero that still support ASIC miners, each with their own new ticker symbols:
- Monero (XMR), the coin supported by the core Monero development team
- Monero Original (XMO), announced on 29th March
- Monero 0 (ZMR), shared on Reddit on 31st March 2018
- MoneroClassic (XMC), first Tweet on 4th April 2018
- MoneroC (CXMR), first Tweet on 5th April 2018
Although this seems very strange, it isn't too surprising due to the controversy around Monero, where thousands of Cryptonight ASIC miners have been sold less than a month prior to this hard-fork, and after the hard-fork these miners no longer work. This means anyone who invested money in one has just lost the ability to earn Monero using it, and is now stuck with a piece of hardware that both has rapidly decreasing profitability and resale value.
The fact that these 4 ASIC-friendly versions of Monero now exist gives people who bought these ASICs a chance to earn their money back, so although on principle they're questionable (in particular because there are 4 versions rather than just 1), they're also beneficial to end users, many of whom were likely unaware of this hard-fork and controversy around ASICs, just seeing the purchase as a way to earn some money.
In-case you're unsure why this ASIC resistance was added in the first place, see this guide (also this Reddit thread gives a good overview). More recently, since this hard-fork happened there seems to have been a big drop in Monero's hashpower/difficulty, with legitimises many claims that ASIC manufacturers have been using these miners themselves before selling them (as they've only recently been offered on pre-orders, so end users don't have them yet). This post also explains this well.
Keep in mind there are other points of view here too, such as this drop in hashpower being because a large Monero-based botnet hasn't updated to the new mining algorithm yet. If this does turn out to be because of ASICs though (which seems likely, as large amounts of hashpower are now mining the ASIC-friendly versions of Monero), this will rightfully harm the reputation of ASIC manufacturers, as this practice of using hardware and then selling it as new is extremely unethical and dishonest.
Should I claim these coins/are they scams?
If you held your coins in a supported wallet/exchange, then after the fork you get both the new coin and XMR; for example HitBTC seems to support XMO, so after the fork you would get XMR and XMO. Many are warning that especially when claiming these coins on a wallet, that you're risking your privacy and security (this effects a later fork for MoneroV moreso, but should still be considered), and others are suggesting that if someone doesn't agree with the Monero development team they're very welcome to fork off and make their own coin, and anyone who wants to can claim these coins. This Tweet explains Monero 0's position for example, who think "The Monero Project's strategy to continuously hard fork is no longer a stable or a sane strategy".
So your opinion is really the deciding factor here. If you support the idea behind the 4 new coins, then consider claiming them. See this post for a summary of the team behind each of these coins, and choose the one you think has the best team behind it.
You do need to be careful of scams here though, where there seem to be multiple Twitter accounts for some of these coins. There are two Twitter accounts for XMC for example, where this one has a very small following compared to this one, and so is potentially a scam. Although it might just be a miscommunication between the XMC team, it's good to be skeptical in this scenario. Charlie Lee, the creator of Litecoin, for example replied to this particular Twitter account saying "Lol, what a scam" (we're unsure if he's referring to this coin in general, or just this specific account, possibly both).
So to summarise, the existance of these coins is normal, if someone disagrees with the development team of a coin they can make their own version of it. But In Monero's case you need to remember that there are strong financial incentives against ASIC resistance, so regardless of if this hard-fork was a good idea long-term for security and decentralisation, many people are against it simply because they'll lose potential mining profit. So do your own research, assume that anything you see posted online is biased, and make your own decision here.
We posted these two guides which are a good place to start your research:
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