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To prevent sender identification, CryptoNote groups the sender's public key with several other keys (more precisely, it groups the sender's output with several other's outputs), making it impossible to tell who actually sent the transaction. If ring signatures are used, all possible senders referenced in the transaction are equiprobable and there is no way to determine the exact private key used while signing.
The CryptoNote platform has been used in several cryptocurrencies. The CryptoNote Foundation encourages developers to clone the technology. Transaction confirmation time, a total number of coins and proof-of-work logic are subject to be altered in forks. A detailed map of all CryptoNote cryptocurrencies and their respective fork(s) of origin can be seen at the open source project repository of Forkmaps.
Bytecoin (BCN), not to be confused Bitcoin (BTC), was the first implementation of the CryptoNote protocol launched to the public on July 4, 2012.
The Bytecoin blockchain contains some extra information not directly related to money transfers: several blocks include geographic coordinates of universities, educational facilities among other buildings.
Monero is currently the best known of the CryptoNote-based cryptocurrencies. Forked from Bytecoin in April 2014, it has a 2-minute block target and 50% slower emission speed.
In September 2014, Monero was attacked when someone exploited a flaw in CryptoNote that permitted the creation of two subchains that refused to recognize the validity of transactions on each other.
In 2014 there were several CryptoNote-based fraudulent coin launches, which exploited CrytoNote's open source code and the anonymity it provides in transactions.