For the ones, who need foundational guides towards development activities of Monero, there are actually three pillars, offered by one of the core team members some time ago: privacy, decentralization, scalability.
Monero is true electronic cash. With Monero, you can know that a transaction occured, but not whence, how much and whither, whilst it is getting increasingly easy to trace Bitcoin (mixers, tumblers… do not work). Monero is a cryptocurrency that is based on the CryptoNote protocol and reference code, and that seeks to provide absolute transactional privacy (fluffypony).
But Monero is more than a currency. Its official slogan is “secure, private, untraceable” for a reason. Other transactions than the monetary ones benefit from it. You may not want anyone to know you signed this contract. You may not want the forthcomingblockchain-powered internet of things cloud around you to be accessible by anyone, and this requires an opaque blockchain, that Monero provides.
We hired academic cryptographers to review and improve the security of Monero and started an external audit as well. Even Bitcoin developers and independent cryptographers (Andrew Poelstra/andytoshi, Gregory Maxwell, Nicolas Courtois) speak high of Monero and Cryptonote.
Finally, security is a chain as strong as its weakest link. What is privacy of the transaction worth if your IP is revealed? This is why we are teaming up with Privacy Solutions to have an i2p router implemented in Monero. IP obfuscation, amount obfuscation, recipient obfuscation, sender obfuscation.
May I remind everyone that privacy is more than drugs and illegality? Are you ready to give everyone (EVERYONE) read access to your bank account? Would your like your ex-wife, your son, your boss, your neigbour or (particularly if you are a company) your competitor to know how much money you have, where it comes from and what you doing with it, forever (and no, multiples addresses or mixers or tumblers just don’t work)? Would you like your landlord to know that you just got some money, so s/he can raise the rent? Privacy is also making it possible for journalists fighting for the freedom of press to do their jobs when there are in a dictatorial (or not-so-dictatorial) country. This is also about not being incriminated because your money was tainted (two transactions before, it went from drug dealing, for instance).Countless studies showed that people behave differently when they know they might be watched.
As tacotime (a core team member) said back in April, when Monero was only one week old, Fuck the pump and dumps, we’re here to create something with value that people can use.
You may read the full post on Reddit: http://www.reddit.com/r/Monero/comments/2u4m2u/the_thee_pillars_of_monero/