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What is Monacoin? A Beginner’s Guide

what is monacoin

What is Monacoin?  

Monacoin is a virtual currency designed for peer-to-peer digital transactions.  Dubbed by its creators as “the first Japanese cryptocurrency,” the coin has become somewhat of Japan’s national alternative to Bitcoin or Litecoin.

Like its predecessors, the coin was created purely to serve as P2P electronic cash, a decentralized digital currency aimed at Japanese citizens.  There are a few key differences that set it apart from the coins that came before it, and this guide is dedicated to drawing out these differences.

Monacoin Japancry

Monacoin: A Brief History

Conceived in December of 2013, Monacoin was officially born on January 1st, 2014 with no premine.  A Bitcoin Talk Forum on the same date details the coin’s launch and its specifications.

Monacoin description

A soft fork was executed at block 937440 to implement Segwit, a move made to keep it in line with Bitcoin, Litecoin, Vertcoin, and other payment-focused cryptocurrencies.  In addition, the Monacoin team has reportedly implemented the Lightning Network for their coin.  

Speaking of soft forks, Monacoin is actually a hard fork of Litecoin, something we’ll take into account further as we look into its specs below.

Now that you’ve been briefed on the coin’s already brief history, let’s look at what Monacoin is trying to do differently than its competitors.

How Monacoin Stacks Up

As a hard fork of Litecoin, Monacoin is looking to improve on its parent’s original model.  As Litecoin is to Bitcoin, Monacoin was built to achieve faster transactions than the coin that came before it. Additionally, it has a larger circulating supply (105,120,000 MONA) and runs on a different hashing algorithm entirely.

In fact, a key feature of the coin is its ASIC resistance.  Like Vertcoin, it originally ran Scrypt to fortify itself against ASIC mining until miners built a Scrypt-compliant ASIC and broke the barrier posed by this algorithm.  Monacoin then moved to Lyra2REv2 in order to remain true to its GPU/CPU mining mission.

Monacoin also readjusts its difficulty every block, another similarity it shares with Vertcoin.  To accomplish this, Monacoin employs the Dark Gravity Wave v3 algorithm.

We could keep going through the similarities/differences Monacoin has with crypto’s gold, silver, and bronze starter-pack currencies, but we decided to throw this chart together instead.

Block Time2.5 minutes10 minutes2.5 minutes1.5 minutes
Reward Halving840,000 blocks (~4 year)210,000 blocks (~4 year)840,000 blocks (~4 year)1,051,000 blocks (~3 years)
Difficulty AdjustmentEvery blockEvery 2016 blocksEvery 2016 blocksEvery block
GPU/CPU MiningYesYesYesYes
ASIC MiningNoYesYesNo
Segwit ActivatedYesYesYesYes
Lightning NetworkAlphaAlphaAlphaAlpha
Atomic SwapsIn developmentIn developmentIn developmentN/A

Monacoin Team and Roadmap

Monacoin was originally founded by the pseudonymous Mr. Wantanabe, no doubt in homage to Bitcoin’s Satoshi Nakamoto.  Besides this pen name, the rest of the coin’s team is completely anonymous, so there’s nothing to report on here.  

In addition, the project has no visible roadmap on its site or anywhere else online.  The team does seem to stay on top of updates and upgrades, however, as the Segwit and Lyra2REv2 updates and Lightning Network implementation suggest.  You can keep track of Monacoin’s development on its official Github.


Oh man, where to begin with this one.  Considering Monacoin functions solely as a currency, you can go ahead and queue up Bitcoin, Litecoin, Vertcoin, and Groestlcoin, and plenty of others for competition in the cryptocurrency arena.  Vertcoin and Groestlcoin are more direct competitors than the rest, as both of these focus on ASIC resistance.

When it comes to Japan’s de facto national cryptocurrency, though, no competition here–Monacoin’s got ‘em all beat.

Monacoin Market History

At its absolute peak, Monacoin used to have a market cap of just over $1bln.  At the time of this writing, it’s settled down a bit with a $318bln market cap and a #63 rank on CoinMarketCap.

Where to Buy Monacoin

If you wanted some Monacoin for yourself, the most popular venue would be a Japanese exchange.  Both Bitbank and Zaif exchanges, for example, allow investors to trade MONA for Japanese Yen or BTC, and these exchanges account for almost 70% of the coin’s entire trading volume.  Alternatively, Livecoin, Upbit, and Bittrex all have BTC/MONA trading pairs too.

Where to Store Monacoin

Monacoin’s website lists all available wallets for the currency.  In addition to core wallets for Windows, Mac, and Linux, it also has its own Electrum Wallet and a Coinomi wallet for Android.

Final Thoughts

Simply put, Monacoin operates purely as a digital currency.  It shares similarities with Bitcoin and Litecoin, but it differentiates itself enough from either of these to the point that Vertcoin is a more apt comparison.  

As we’ve alluded to multiple times in this article, Monacoin is functionally Japan’s cryptocurrency.  The first of its kind in Japan, it has become very popular in its country of origin.  So popular, in fact, that it was featured on the Tokyo TV Network, WBS, and a man purchased a plot of land in Monacoin back in 2014.  According to the internet grapevine, numerous retailers and restaurants accept Monacoin in Japan, but because we don’t live there, we can’t confirm or deny this.

TL;DR for Monacoin: an ASIC resistant hard fork of Litecoin that’s popular in Japan and is, at the very least, an entertaining feline counterpart to Dogecoin.

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Colin is a freelance writer and crypto-enthusiast based in Nashville, TN. When he’s not speculating crypto futures, he’s probably letting his hair down and/or heading to a music festival–because stereotypes exist for a reason.