Verge is a privacy-focused cryptocurrency and blockchain that seeks to offer a fast, efficient, decentralized payments network that improves upon the original Bitcoin (BTC) blockchain. It includes additional privacy features including integrating the anonymity network Tor into its wallet, called vergePay, and providing the option of sending transactions to stealth addresses.
The project describes itself as community-driven, relying on volunteers and priding itself on being open source.
Verge was first launched in October 2014 as DogeCoinDark, a fork of Peercoin (PPC). In February 2016, it was renamed Verge in order to rebrand for easier mass-market adoption and to distinguish itself from Dogecoin (DOGE), with which it has no direct connection. The project is now based on the Bitcoin source code.
Verge was launched in 2016 by Justin Valo, also known as "Justin Vendetta" or "Sunerok," a developer with over 20 years of experience in network security and nearly a decade in blockchain technology. He first developed the cryptocurrency as a fun passion project to empower individuals around the world with a greater sense of privacy.
Valo has stated that he has been programming since the age of 8 and became involved in network administration after high school, working for a Fortune 500 company. After a few years, he decided to start his own network security company.
Valo first became interested in Bitcoin in 2011, later getting involved with Dogecoin after its late 2013 launch. He began working on Verge because he believed that none of the altcoins being developed at the time were adequately functional as digital currencies and that the only other serious privacy coin projects --- Bytecoin (BCN) and Monero (XMR) --- were not sufficient.
In 2017, Valo was appointed to the advisory board of TokenPay (TPAY), a privacy-focused cryptocurrency.
According to its "blackpaper," Verge was created as a way to fulfill Bitcoin founder Satoshi Nakamoto's vision of a decentralized, trustless electronic payment system while also providing more privacy than is available with Bitcoin.
In order to accomplish this goal, Verge relies on a series of key privacy features. It automatically routes all traffic to and from its vergePay wallet through the Tor network, anonymizing the traffic and masking IP addresses. It also offers dual-key stealth addressing, through which senders can create one-time wallet addresses on behalf of recipients to help protect the recipients' privacy, as well as using atomic swaps to power trustless peer-to-peer cross-blockchain transactions.
Verge seeks mainstream adoption, and as such, the Verge Core team pursues strategic partnerships to increase its awareness and use. It sponsors professional athletes and has partnered with platforms such as payments and rewards ecosystem MobiePay, crypto payments platform and ATM provider MeconCash, and blockchain-based online gambling platform Crazy8Token, among others.
The Verge Core team often relies on crowdfunding and community support to be able to scale, market and pursue partnerships. In April 2018, the project raised 75 million XVG (approximately $7 million at the time) to cover the costs of integrating with a major payments processor.
The total maximum supply of Verge is capped at 16.5 billion XVG. According to Verge, the supply cap is intentionally high as a way to ensure that the value of each individual token remains low, allowing users to avoid fractional payments. It also makes it more difficult for any one individual to take control of a large number of XVG in order to manipulate markets.
The cryptocurrency did not have an initial coin offering, nor was there any premining of tokens. As such, the Verge development team has said it does not hold a significant amount of XVG. Rather, all currently circulating XVG was introduced through the Verge blockchain's proof-of-work mining process, which is multialgorithmic and supports Scrypt, X17, Lyra2rev2, Myr-groestl and Blake2s.
Verge undergoes a periodic halving event that reduces the amount of XVG miners receive as a block reward by 50%. Under the current emission schedule, rewards are halved every 500,000 blocks.
The Verge network is secured through a proof-of-work consensus algorithm similar to that of Bitcoin, on which Verge's code is based. At least 51% of all full nodes in the network must agree that a transaction is valid in order for it to be added to the blockchain, and new blocks are created through the mining process, in which users compete among one another to solve complex, energy-intensive problems. However, unlike Bitcoin, Verge supports five different mining algorithms. According to the development team, this makes the network more secure, as more people are able to participate in the mining process.
In April 2018, Verge suffered an attack on its network that used an exploit related to the Scrypt mining algorithm to instamine a reported 20 million XVG. In response, the project initiated a hard fork to patch the issue. While it was widely referred to as a 51% attack, founder and lead developer Valo denied this, saying it was actually a timewarp attack, which involves manipulating block timestamps in order to reduce mining difficulty.