Monero has been likened to a more “private form” of Bitcoin. This is a very generalised view and Monero has a lot more to it. Unlike many other cryptocurrencies that are derivatives of Bitcoin, Monero is based on the CryptoNight proof-of-work hash algorithm. This algorithm comes from the CryptoNote protocol. It possesses significant algorithmic differences relating to blockchain obfuscation in particular. Monero is highly fungible, by providing a high level of privacy, meaning that every unit of the currency can be substituted by another unit. This makes Monero different from public-ledger cryptocurrencies such Bitcoin. This could for example, lead to addresses with coins previously associated with undesired activity which could potentialy be blacklisted and have the coins refused by other users and services.
In particular, the ring signatures, mix the spender’s input with a group of others, making it exponentially more difficult to establish a link between each subsequent transaction. Furthermore “stealth addresses” are generated for each transaction, this makes it impossible to discover the actual destination address of a transaction by anyone else other than the sender and the receiver. Finally, the a concept referred to as the “ring confidential transactions” mechanism goes ahead and hides the transferred amount.
Monero is designed to be resistant to application-specific integrated circuit mining (ASIC), which is commonly used to mine other cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. It can presently be mined somewhat efficiently on consumer grade hardware such as x86, x86-64, ARM and GPUs.