XMR workgroup says IRS should study Monero — not try to break it

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XMR workgroup says IRS should study Monero — not try to break it
Saturday, September 19, 2020 By Evan Fitzgerald

Dollars are used for nefarious activities too.

The United States Internal Revenue Service has better ways to spend taxpayer dollars than offering bounties to break Monero’s (XMR) privacy, a Monero working group says.

After the IRS announced it is offering up to $625,000 to anyone who can break Monero, a major Monero-focused workgroup expressed their take on the matter.

A spokesperson for Monero Outreach — an independent workgroup focused on XMR awareness and education — told Cointelegraph that the IRS should learn how Monero actually works instead.

Monero Outreach’s representative emphasized that the crypto’s features in fact provide users with a certain level of transparency, stating:

“$625,000 would be better spent by the IRS to hire a few consultants to teach their staff how Monero works and how its features allow users to opt-in to transparency.”

The spokesperson said that Monero is “designed to function just like cash,” highlighting that the U.S. dollar also has a certain amount of privacy:

“The U.S. dollar is used for a majority of the world’s nefarious activities and yet, it is what denominates the IRS’ balance sheet. [...] The IRS doesn’t know how much cash you earned unless you report it, but you don’t see them trying to break the U.S. dollar.”

The IRS announced its bounty program to trace transactions on Monero and Bitcoin’s (BTC) Lightning Network in early September 2020. The authority stressed that the program is driven by a lack of investigative resources for tracing transactions involving privacy coins used by illicit actors.

The IRS is not the only institution that wants to break Monero’s privacy. In August, a major cryptocurrency intelligence firm, CipherTrace, reportedly claimed that their crypto tracking tool is capable of tracing Monero transactions. Previously, Russia’s Federal Financial Monitoring Service announced that its new crypto tracking tool will “partially reduce anonymity” of Monero transactions.

While authorities and companies worldwide are apparently racing to crack Monero’s privacy, the coin’s protocol has some built-in transparency features.

According to a Sept. 15 report by American law firm Perkins Coie, Monero enables users and virtual asset service providers, or VASPs, to disclose certain transaction details associated with a given account to a third party. According to the firm, these features are part of the key functionality built into the Monero protocol:

“This enables users and VASPs to disclose certain transaction details associated with a given account to a third party without publicly disclosing that user’s transactional information. In addition, VASPs can require up-front disclosures as part of their registration process and on an ongoing basis to meet their obligations.”

Designed to provide a private and untraceable cryptocurrency, Monero is the top privacy-focused coin by market capitalization at publishing time. According to Monero Outreach, the coin also has the third-highest number of code contributors of all cryptocurrencies, behind only Bitcoin and Ether (ETH). Monero is currently trading at $91.41 with a market cap of $1.6 billion.