What is Monero, and why should you care?

In a normal blockchain every transaction and wallet is public information. Anyone with an internet connection can track your wallet's every transaction. Imagine if your bank or checking account was public knowledge. Obviously this can become a problem if you want to retain full anonymity.

Enter Monero:
Monero is a decentralized blockchain (like Bitcoin), except all the balances and transactions are private. This is achieved through a complex set of cyphers and cryptography.
The privacy encryption around Monero is so secure that the IRS has offered a bounty for anyone who can de-anonymize it... To this day that bounty has not been claimed.

Consensus Algorithm

Monero seeks to be truly decentralized. More decentralized than even Bitcoin. It achieves this by structuring the consensus algorithm to only work with CPU mining instead of GPU mining.
In an average PoW (Proof of Work) blockchain such as Bitcoin, mining is accomplished through GPU mining. This means that special chips can be created called ASICs that are built specifically to mine Bitcoin. Over time this favors businesses and industries that have the money and resources to purchase and setup massive mining farms. Slowly this condenses the mining power into a few major players, lowering the decentralization of the network.

However, with CPU mining its much harder to create specialized chips, making it easier for the average person to mine Monero, while making scaling a mining business much harder.

Getting it

Due to its secrecy and privacy, many exchanges don't want anything to do with it.
One of the few exchanges that actually carries Monero (at the time of writing this article) is Kraken.

Spending it

One of the best ways to boost acceptance and distribution is to support the local businesses that accept Monero as payment. Here is one of the best resources to find Monero friendly businesses.