Europol has named privacy integrated cryptocurrency mixing services as one of the most gnawing cybercrime threats of our times in the 2020 edition of its IOCTA report. Also, Monero is in the process of becoming the de-facto crypto coin for Darkweb transactions. Zcash and Dash are the next popular alternatives, the agency noted.
Privacy Enhancing Cryptocurrency Wallet Services Are ‘Top Threats’
Europol is out with it’s 2020 Internet Organized Crime Threat Assessment report. In it, the law-enforcement agency has named privacy-focused coin mixing services like Wasabi and Samourai wallets as one of the ‘top threats.’ This is in addition to ‘centralized coin mixers,’ which are already quite popular.
Europol also pointed out other features that are concerning according to the agency.
Samurai, for example, offers remote wipe SMS commands when under distress. These wallets do not necessarily remove the link between the origin and destination of the funds but certainly make cryptocurrency tracing much more challenging.
The report has called out ‘administrators of underground markets’ who use or are trying to integrate these wallet services. Apart from this, Europol has also found that online perpetrators use hardware cryptocurrency wallets significantly.
This is because cold wallets securely store seed phrases and ‘private keys for a wide range of cryptocurrencies.’
Monero Becoming ‘Most Established Privacy Coin For Darkweb Transactions’
In its detailed observation of a plethora of cybercrime activities around the world, Europol brought attention to the use of privacy coins in Darkweb interactions. The agency commented that, initially, it was bitcoin that the shady underground online markets were dependant on. But over the years, the focus has shifted to cryptocurrencies like Litecoin, Ethereum, Monero, Zcash, and Dash.
While Bitcoin still remains the most popular payment method (mainly due to its wide adoption, reputation and ease of use), the use of privacy-enhanced cryptocurrencies has somewhat increased albeit not at the rate expected by their proponents.
However, Europol observed a significant development. Amongst all privacy-centric cryptocurrency assets, Monero is gradually gaining the upper hand when it comes to Darkweb transactions. It is followed in the order of preference by Zcash and Dash.
In the report, Europol commented that dealing with these private digital currencies is difficult.
All these privacy coins may present a considerable obstacle to law enforcement investigations, despite the competing altcoin communities uncritically favouring their implementation over the others.
Monero specifically has been on the radar of other agencies as well. Last week, blockchain analysis company Chainalysis won a $625,000 contract from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to track XMR transactions.
The release of this report hasn’t affected the price of Monero at all, as the privacy coin rallied 19 percent in the last 7 days, and is up 5 percent in the last 24 hours.
Also, Litecoin developers launched the MimbleWimble testnet to fulfill their objective of developing a scalable but private blockchain.
LTC is also green, and other privacy coins such as Zcash 15 percent in the last seven days. However, that may be due to Gemini supporting ‘shielded ZEC withdrawals.’