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Monero Not as Private as Previously Thought

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Monero’s privacy algorithm has a potential vulnerability that makes it possible for researchers to be able to trace around 80% of Monero transactions, a recent paper states. This is a significant hit on the deep web’s favored privacy coin that claims to offer untraceable transactions that are truly anonymous and cannot be traced along the blockchain.

Source: iStock/irklig

In this paper, titled An Empirical Analysis of Traceability in the Monero Blockchain, researchers from institutes that include the Massachusetts Institute of Technology expose the vulnerability in transactions made before the coin’s privacy tech was upgraded to add Ring Confidential Transactions. Even with its new privacy features, researchers were still able to spot the real coin from the spoof coins used to mask the transaction 45% of the time.

But when WIRED reached out to Monero core developer and spokesperson Riccardo Spagni, he responded to the paper’s findings by pointing out that Monero’s developers have been aware of the problems the researchers point out for years, and have made periodic and ongoing improvements to Monero’s protocols designed to shore up its privacy shortcomings. “Privacy isn’t a thing you achieve, it’s a constant cat-and-mouse battle,” Spagni said.

The community is not persuaded either. On a post about the WIRED report, a Reddit user u/CryptoGod12 commented, “Meh wasn’t that convincing of an article. It’s still extremely hard next to impossible to trace monero transactions.”


Monero price change since Tuesday, when WIRED published the article. Source: coinmarketcap.com.