Bitcoin may not be the only cryptocurrency of interest to both the FBI and cybercriminals. Monero, which has been outlined as a privacy-focused currency, has drawn the attention of the Federal Bureau due to the possibility of criminal exploits.
The FBI Is Expecting a Rise in Criminal Operations Involving Monero
According to FBI’s Cyber Division special agent Joseph Battaglia, the increasingly popular Monero might impact the way the agency carries out investigations, CoinDesk reports. Battaglia attended an event at Fordham University, New York, where he held a speech in front of law students:
There are obviously going to be issues if some of the more difficult to work with cryptocurrencies become popular. Monero is one that comes to mind, where it’s not very obvious what the transaction path is or what the actual value of the transaction is except to the end users.
A report by the Department of War Studies at King’s College London earlier last year concluded that Bitcoin was still the most popular cryptocurrency on the dark web. Nonetheless, other cryptocurrencies are gaining more users in dark markers, such as Monero.
More about Monero
Monero (XMR) is advertised as a secure, private, untraceable currency. It is open-source and freely available to all. With Monero, you are your own bank. According to Monero’s official website, only you control and are responsible for your funds, and your accounts and transactions are kept private from prying eyes.
Monero was launched in 2014 and has enhanced privacy features. It is a fork of the Bytecoin codebase and it uses identity-obscuring ring sugnatures. This is how the cryptocurrency conceals which funds have been sent in both directions – to whom and by whom.
Monero’s price jumped in 2016, climbing from $0.50 at the start of 2016 to about $12 throughout the year.
Besides Bitcoin, the FBI has detected illegal cryptocurrency payments in Litecoin and Monero. In addition, FBI’s Cyber Division is currently looking into a diverse range of online criminal operations. “We’re going to look at what catches on, and what becomes mainstream, and then we’re going to keep an eye on that, because usually not long after that is when you start to see some of the fraud and some of the more nefarious uses of that technology”, Battaglia said.