The Aeon coin is one of more than a thousand different cryptocurrencies, so what makes it different and worth considering?

Well, the creators and developers of Aeon would have you believe that the coin is not just currency – It is a lifestyle.

That may be catchy, but it doesn’t really tell you much about the coin or the project, so let’s dig a bit deeper into what Aeon is and what it can do.

What is the Aeon Coin?

Aeon was forked from Monero, so is a close relative of the privacy-centric coin. In fact, Aeon is also privacy-centric, but distinguishes itself as being a “lite” version of Monero. Not light in the sense of less privacy, but lite in the sense that it is better for mobile use, and lighter on resource usage.

Expectations of the developers are that Aeon will be used primarily through the mobile app, and that even mining will be accomplished via mobile devices. At this point this is all hypothetical however, as there is a coin, but it isn’t all that focused on mobile devices, and you certainly can’t mine it on a mobile device – yet.

Aeon Coin Overview
Aeon Coin Overview. Source: Aeon.cash

Aeon is certainly an experimental product at this point in its life. It is designed to be anonymous, mobile friendly, scale-able and prune-able, in order to maintain a lean and efficient blockchain, and to be public or private as you like.

Who Uses Aeon

Anyone with a computer can use Aeon now, and in the future anyone with a smart phone will be able to use Aeon. That will open up a whole world of possibilities for the blockchain since far more people in the world have smart phones.

Until Aeon is mineable on a smartphone you’re limited to buying it on an exchange. The primary exchange for Aeon is Bittrex, but it’s also available on HitBTC and TradeOgre. We would expect it to be listed on Chinese or Russian exchanges, since its privacy feature should be most welcome in such countries. Honestly though, soon everyone worldwide might appreciate more privacy as governments become increasingly invasive.

Chances are Aeon won’t be listed on any new exchanges until it realizes its goal of becoming THE mobile-friendly cryptocurrency.

Aeon Vs Monero

Aeon vs. Monero
Aeon vs. Monero. Source: Fotolia

Even though Aeon is being billed as the “lite” version of Monero, it hasn’t caught on nearly the way Monero has. This is similar to Litecoin being the “lite” version of Bitcoin. While Litecoin has at least caught on, it’s nowhere near as popular as Bitcoin.

As long as Monero remains the favored privacy coin, Aeon is likely to remain a distant second…or third or fourth even since other privacy focused coins such as Zcash, Dash, and  Pivx are all more popular than Aeon.

Monero has continued adding value, with many people who appreciate privacy focused cryptocurrencies mining Monero over other privacy coins. If Aeon can add mobile mining support this might change rapidly as literally billions of people could be mining Aeon with their smart phones, and then using the proceeds anonymously to purchase all types of goods and services.

In fact, Aeon could benefit from the increasing popularity of Monero as it will prime users to be more accepting of privacy coins that fly in the face of traditional governments, tax agents, and banks.

Where did Aeon Originate?

Aeon was launched on June 6, 2014 at 6:00 p.m. UTC. Some have speculated that this date was chosen because it was the 70th anniversary of D-Day, but that’s never been proven, and it could have been nothing more than a coincidence.

The coin was created and launched by an anonymous Bitcointalk forum user named “Aeon”. This person indicated that there was no pre-mine or instamine of Aeon, and this appeared to be true. It was also greatly appreciated by the community, who had become tired of what appeared as a cash grab from most new projects, where developers would benefit financially from large pre-mines.

Aeon Coin Launch Bitcointalk
Aeon Coin Announcement. Source Bitcointalk

Aeon remained as the lead developer of the Aeon coin until March 2015. On March 31, 2015 Aeon posted their final message on the Bitcointalk forum, which read simply “smooth you have PM”. Smooth was another Bitcointalk user, and since that time has also been the lead developer of Aeon. Smooth also currently controls the Aeon account on Bitcointalk.

Aeon Developers

The user Smooth remains the lead developer for Aeon, and has been joined by the user “Arux”, who provides Release engineering, Q/A, and support. There is a further developer listed as anonymous, and the project is also looking for additional developers.

Smooth has admitted that he is also a developer for Monero, which could be why he/she was chosen to lead the Aeon project. Interestingly, the README in the Github repository of Aeon reads in part “2014 AEON, The Monero Project”. The footer of the Aeon website reads the same, indicating a close relationship between Aeon and Monero, although no mention of what type of relationship has been mentioned.

Smooth is the one who released the latest goals of the project, which include:

  • A Mobile-Friendly PoW (CryptoNight-Lite)
  • Increased Block time for fast syncing
  • Signature-trimming for SPV-like clients
  • Blockchain pruning for scale-ability
  • Multisig and payment channels for escrow, contract and instant payments

There’s currently no official roadmap (the Aeon website says its coming), but you can get a sense of the development by following this thread on Bitcointalk forums.

Why So Much Secrecy?

The full reasons for developer anonymity are unclear, but given that Aeon is a privacy coin, it’s likely that Aeon, Smooth and Arux all value their privacy very highly. You can always reach them on the Bitcointalk forum and Smooth especially is very good at responding to questions, but you aren’t likely to get them to meet you at your local Starbucks.

Consider too that Aeon is eventually looking to replace the current government controlled currencies. If they’re successful they definitely won’t be popular or praised by the powers-that-be. In fact, they could be considered enemies of most centralized governments, and this would put them in grave danger. Better to simply remain anonymous and avoid any potential future problems.

Cryptocurrencies and Regulations

Crypto Regulations
Image via Fotolia

The future of privacy coins is probably shaky at best. Many governments (including the U.S.) see cryptocurrencies as assets that should, can and will be taxed. And they will need to follow regulations in the future you can be sure. Already the major cryptocurrency exchanges are, with few exceptions, following Know-Your-Customer and Ant-Money-Laundering rules.

Aeon will need to comply with regulations and laws too, but will it? How can it maintain its identity as a privacy coin if it follows government regulations that require the release of personally identifying information? It can’t, and that will possibly make it increasingly risky in the future.

Obtaining Aeon might be possible without letting the government know. If you mine it you can remain anonymous. But if you buy it, there are very few exchanges that don’t require personally identifying information already. That will only get worse.

Then you’ll likely want to spend your Aeon at some point. Remaining anonymous while doing that is nearly impossible for almost every good or service you might want. So, you might be able to use Aeon as a store of value, but unless a huge ecosystem develops around the use of Aeon (and other privacy coins), then the privacy factor is all for naught.

World governments have far too much to lose, both in tax revenue and in the control of their own populations, to allow privacy coins such as Aeon to flourish.

How to Purchase Aeon

Currently Aeon is only available on three exchanges according to Coinmarketcap.com

The major exchange offering Aeon is Bittrex, and nearly 98% of the trade volume (which only amounts to roughly $9,000) is through Bittrex. You can also get Aeon from HitBTC and from TradeOgre.

Of course you’ll need Bitcoin to purchase Aeon from any of these exchanges, and given the transparency of the Bitcoin blockchain, there’s a chance that a determined investigator would be able to track you down based on that Bitcoin purchase and exchange. To maintain anonymity you’d have to use a Peer-to-peer solution to purchase Bitcoin before exchanging it for Aeon.

Alternatively you could set up a private transfer with someone you know and trust.

Where to Store Aeon

Aeon Web Wallet
Aeon Web Wallet

There is an Aeon desktop wallet that can be downloaded here for Windows, Mac or Linux. Here’s a web wallet for Aeon that was released by a third party back in January 2018.

Obviously use at your own risk as the web wallet has no legal connection to Aeon. The Bittrex exchange wallet can hold your Aeon as well if you don’t mind not having control of the private keys.

Eventually there will be a mobile wallet available, but there hasn’t been any indication yet of when that might be released.

Keep in mind as well that the Aeon wallet is basically a version of the Monero simplewallet and is far from easy to use if you aren’t technologically inclined.

Aeon Coin Price Performance

Like the entire cryptocurrency markets Aeon rallied back in December 2017 and January 2018, with price hitting a high of $9.04 in early January. Since then price has fallen significantly and as of June 29, 2018 it is all the way back to $1.12. Of course that’s still roughly double the price from a year earlier. The coming months will determine if holding Aeon is a good idea.

Conclusion

As a privacy focused coin Aeon has gathered a small following, but the larger Monero project is far more popular and valuable. In fact, the lead developer for Aeon is also a Monero developer, which has had some users asking if Aeon is nothing more than a test bed for Monero. There’s truly no way to know, but we do know that Aeon follows most of the changes Monero makes, although there have been some changes.

We also know that world governments aren’t likely to allow privacy coins to simply thrive unmolested. We haven’t seen yet how any of these privacy coins would handle an attack from government forces, if in fact it’s even possible for them to fend off such an attack.

From a trading perspective Aeon is pretty much following the broader market, but if it can eventually deliver on its promise of a mobile privacy coin it could see a massive surge. It’s likely that such as development would cause more adoption from exchanges, more adoption from users, and in turn a far higher price.

Aeon is an interesting project, but it has been so wrapped in privacy, anonymity and secrecy that there’s no way to know for sure if it’s even a real project, when it will realize its vision, or if its even anything more than a test environment for Monero.

Featured Image via Fotolia

Posted by Steve Walters

Steve has been writing for the financial markets for the past 7 years and during that time has developed a growing passion for cryptocurrencies.