What is MonaCoin (MONA)?

MonaCoin (CRYPTO:MONA) is a cryptocurrency developed in Japan that is based on an ASCII art character, a cat called Mona. It is one of the oldest cryptocurrencies, dating back to 2013.

Image source: Getty Images

During the first big crypto boom in 2017, MonaCoin was a huge hit. The price rose that year by more than 84,000% and it entered the top 25 cryptocurrencies by market capitalization. However, he was unable to replicate this success in the future, and business dwindled. In this MonaCoin guide, we will see what it does and if it might bounce back.

What makes MonaCoin unique?

MonaCoin is the first altcoin, the term referring to an alternative cryptocurrency for Bitcoin (CRYPTO:BTC), created in Japan. It is designed as a peer-to-peer payment system and offers faster transactions than Bitcoin, with a blocking time of 1.5 minutes.

As a payment coin, MonaCoin is mainly used to transfer funds between users and as a payment method in a small number of Japanese businesses. It is also used to tip people online.

In terms of functionality, there is nothing particularly special or unique about MonaCoin. Although its transaction speeds were good by 2013 standards, there are now many faster cryptocurrencies. Probably the closest comparison to MonaCoin is Dogecoin (CRYPTO:DOGE), another cryptocurrency used for online payments and tips with no real competitive advantage.

Where does MonaCoin come from

An anonymous founder who went by the pseudonym Mr. Watanabe came up with the idea for MonaCoin in December 2013. Somewhat ironically, it was described as a video game currency and not intended to be a cryptocurrency.

MonaCoin was launched on January 1, 2014. The MonaCoin Foundation was also established that year to promote the development of cryptocurrency. There is no other information available about the team behind MonaCoin or who is currently responsible for it. Although a brief technical summary describing the coin has been published, MonaCoin does not have an official whitepaper or feature roadmap.

How MonaCoin Works

MonaCoin, which has a maximum supply of 105.12 million coins, is a hard fork of Litecoin (CRYPTO:LTC), an old altcoin that offers faster transactions than Bitcoin. Like Dogecoin, MonaCoin was created from the forked code of the altcoin – which was originally based on Bitcoin code but designed to be faster.

Much like Bitcoin and Litecoin, MonaCoin relies on cryptocurrency mining to validate transactions and create new coins. Miners run programs that perform calculations to satisfy MonaCoin’s proof-of-work protocol. The miner who accomplishes this first is chosen to validate a block of transactions and add it to the blockchain.

In return, MonaCoin pays miners a block reward for each block added. The block reward is paid in newly minted MONA coins, which is how the coins are added to the circulating supply. The reward amount paid per block is halved for every 1.051 million blocks.


MonaCoin is accepted as a payment method by a small number of Japanese retailers, including:

  • Bitcoinmall, an online marketplace that sells a wide variety of products and only accepts digital currencies.
  • Ark, an electronics store that has both an online store and a physical store.

There is also a MonaCoin community platform, Monappy, which is like a cross between a message board and an online marketplace. Users can interact with each other, buy and sell products, and tip using MonaCoin. It also has a streaming viewer with streams from users who have linked their Twitch channels. However, there doesn’t seem to be much streaming activity.

Unique Risks

The main problem with MonaCoin is that there is nothing that distinguishes it from other cryptocurrencies. The only thing you might call a competitive advantage is its appeal in Japan, but that’s not the only cryptocurrency used there. Japanese stores that accept MonaCoin also generally accept Bitcoin at a minimum.

Other than that, MonaCoin doesn’t have any notable advantages or reasons why you should buy it. You can find many faster payment coins if you want to transfer funds or pay with crypto.

It also looks like there isn’t much going on with MonaCoin anymore, so it’s hard to imagine a comeback is on the way. The MonaCoin subreddit does not have many discussions. The MonaCoin Github had almost no contributions in 2021 and even less in 2022. Its transaction volume also shows a continuous downward trend.

Such little activity is a bad sign in cryptocurrency. It’s a competitive market and inactive projects are quickly left behind.

Is MonaCoin a good investment?

MonaCoin is not a good investment. There are too many red flags to recommend, and there are better ways to invest in cryptocurrency.

Everything indicates that MonaCoin’s best days are behind it. After peaking towards the end of 2017, the price fell. It happened to a lot of cryptocurrencies around the same time, but MonaCoin did not approach its previous high.

There might be reasons for optimism if MonaCoin had unique features, a strong community behind it, and active development, but that is not the case. As we have already covered, it is a fairly common cryptocurrency with little in it.

One last thing to mention is that MonaCoin was never intended as an investment. It was designed to be a payment coin that people can use as digital currency. Although it has occasionally risen in value, that is not its purpose.

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How to buy MonaCoin

Since MonaCoin is not that popular outside of Japan, you won’t find it on many US crypto exchanges. Luckily, there are a few options for those interested. If you are in the United States, you can buy MonaCoin at:

Japanese crypto exchanges that have MonaCoin include Zaif and bitFlyer. Note that bitFlyer only has MonaCoin available on its main Japanese platform, not the US version with a smaller cryptocurrency selection.

For a brief period, MonaCoin was one of the biggest cryptocurrencies in the world. It’s a long way from 2017, however, and MonaCoin has fallen hard since then. While this cryptocurrency may still have some appeal in Japan, it has nothing to offer as an investment.

Lyle Daly has positions in Bitcoin. The Motley Fool has positions and recommends Bitcoin. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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