What is known about the creation and history of the CryptoNote protocol?
Who created Monero and what events led to the Monero community takeover from the original developer?
Much of the history of CryptoNote development is in dispute so I will stick to the facts.
CryptoNote is a new cryptocurrency protocol using some of the Bitcoin principles but with new ideas and an entirely new codebase.
The ring signature implementation described in the CryptoNote whitepaper, while unique, is based on established cryptographic principles and has attracted academic research: CryptoNote v 2.0 (Annotated Whitepaper)
Bytecoin was the first coin to use the CryptoNote protocol. The launch time and publication dates of the whitepapers on whose principles it was based are a matter of dispute. See these comments regarding the timestamp and authenticity of the alleged digital signatures.
Largely because of the common disbelief of the claimed 2012 Bytecoin launch there was a large level of support in early 2014 of a new CryptoNote coin without a large premine. Bytecoin had already been approximately 80% mined before it was announced on Bitcointalk.
In April 2014 a developer named thankful_for_today launched
bitmonero. After generally being unresponsive to community feedback, the project (now known as
Monero) was soon forked away from thankful_for_today and has been run by a community based development team ever since.