Monero is the king of stealth cryptocurrencies and it is the only major cryptocurrency that cannot be easily traced. Therefore, if a person wants to have true anonymity when sending and receiving crypto they should use this privacy coin. However, it is extremely difficult to obtain due to increasingly strict regulations in the United States and other countries. Not only do these regulations threaten one of the last bastions of crypto anonymity, but also the price of Monero is lower than it should be, which will be explained in-depth below.
Monero is the Last Truly Anonymous Crypto
As discussed in a previous article on BitcoinNews.com, anonymity in the crypto space is becoming scarce due to the advancement of blockchain forensics. In the early days of the crypto space, Bitcoin was considered nearly anonymous, but now blockchain forensics has made it easy to expose the identity of Bitcoin users. Even specially designed privacy cryptocurrencies, like Dash and Zcash, have had their anonymity almost completely compromised by blockchain forensics.
This leaves Monero as the only major cryptocurrency which is still anonymous. One of the main reasons that this privacy coin is still anonymous is because using its anonymity features when sending transactions is mandatory, so all transactions are cloaked with stealth technology. Compare this to Dash and Zcash, which are only optionally stealth. A large percentage of people choose to use Dash and Zcash without the stealth technology, making it straightforward for blockchain forensics to make inroads into exposing the identities of everyone on the network.
Further, Monero has cutting edge stealth technology including ring signatures, ring confidential transactions, and stealth addresses which fully obfuscates the origin, destination, and amount of a transaction. In other words, the Monero blockchain is fully encrypted, and not even blockchain forensics firms can make sense of the data. Only this network’s users are able to see their own wallet balance and transactions via a secret key.
Also, Monero’s developers are constantly upgrading their stealth technology, with the goal of always staying one step ahead of blockchain forensics. This is perhaps one of the most critical efforts in the entire crypto space, since if the coin’s privacy was ever cracked, then there would basically be no truly anonymous crypto left.
Regulations Have Caused Most Exchanges to Delist Monero
Unfortunately, Monero can be really difficult to obtain due to regulations. Essentially, since its transactions are truly anonymous, crypto exchanges cannot trace where the coins that they sell are going to, nor can they trace where deposits onto the exchange come from. This is a violation of anti-money laundering (AML) protocols, since without being able to trace transactions, crypto exchanges run the risk of facilitating illegal activity. Due to this, practically all regulated exchanges have delisted Monero.
In simpler terms, Monero’s anonymity makes it fundamentally incompatible with crypto regulations, and therefore regulated crypto exchanges don’t list it.
For example, in the United States, Coinbase is the biggest retail exchange, and they do not offer Monero. This alone makes it difficult to find the coin, since most crypto users in the United States don’t have any exchange accounts besides Coinbase.
Even worse, some of the biggest exchanges which offer Monero, like Binance, Huobi, and OKEx, are all prohibited from operating in the United States. The only way to access these exchanges from the United States would be a virtual private network (VPN), and that is not entirely legal. Even Bittrex, which is an exchange based in the United States that is officially regulated, does not allow US residents to purchase Monero.
Further, theoretically, if a United States resident managed to buy a significant amount of Monero from an exchange, their identity would probably be exposed due to the trail of cash and non-anonymous crypto that was used to buy the coin.
Ultimately, the only good way to purchase Monero would be a peer to peer deal, but such deals often involve significant fees, significant risk, and are far less convenient than buying crypto on an exchange.
Zooming out, imagine if Monero was available on exchanges in every country. This would open up the door for mass buying of the token, and the price it would fetch would likely be hundreds of percentage points higher. This is especially true since Monero is one of the only stealth cryptos and therefore highly unique, and practically all crypto traders and investors would have Monero in their portfolio if it was easy to buy.
Conversely, the price of Monero is much lower than it should be due to regulations since the lack of availability on exchanges has cut off market demand. Indeed, Monero is only ranked #16 on CoinMarketCap with a market cap barely over USD 1 billion, which seems incredibly low for a crypto that is so fundamentally unique and useful.
Overall, the tale of Monero becoming effectively unavailable due to regulations is interwoven with the tale of anonymity disappearing from the crypto space. This can be considered a bad thing in the sense that the government is infringing on the right to privacy and anonymity. However, it is not all bad news. Another way to look at it is that the crypto space has evolved into an almost entirely legitimate and above-board economy, and no longer does the crypto space depend on attracting users who are seeking anonymity.
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