Monero’s commitment to privacy makes studying it very instructive regarding advanced cryptographic basics, techniques, primitives. Apart from the nowadays ubiquitous Elliptic Curves algebra, you can find a number of “trendy” or “foundational” topics:
- Zero Knowledge Proofs (I guess lately it’s a cool topic even if you aren’t a Zcash guy ;-) ) in Bulletproof flavour, to avoid XMRs creation “from scratch”
- Pedersen Commitments for Confidential Transactions to hide amounts, at the core of Mimblewimble as well
- Ring Signatures to obfuscate payer among a set of UTXOs
- One-time Stealth destination addresses built by payer’s initiative through a Diffie-Hellman-like non-interactive exchange with the payee
Stealth addresses… yes, addresses, the contact point between user experience and inner details, a natural starting point to go deeper. Coming from Bitcoin experience Monero addresses are not an easy topic, so I have tried to summarize them. My schema doesn’t permit to see the “big picture” you can get reading Mastering Monero and it’s not so mathematically detailed as Zero to Monero: its strength, if any, is its focus on relations between the various keys, addresses, scopes (private/public, spend/view, on-chain/off-chain, payer’s/payee’s)… all on a single page cheatsheet. I think it could be a virtual closing table after reading the books I have cited earlier, to put together all the things you have learned about addresses and consolidate their knowledge.
December 8th, 2020 EDIT
The original cheatsheet has been proposed as part of Monero Documentation via PR #1384 on monero-site Github repository. The PR evaluation is still ongoing, but it has already produced useful suggestions by Koe which have led to a new document version (20201206) and to the update of this article (this note, cheatsheet image and featured top image). Please check cheatsheet’s Github repo for its version history
January 8th, 2021 EDIT
Just to record that the 20201206 version of the cheatsheet has been accepted as Monero documentation and published on the Resources/Library section of Monero official site as well
If you like this kind of stuff and you are interested in Bitcoin as well, I have edited an infographic about BTC’s locking and unlocking scripts: check it out!