Monero Breaks 2-Year High Amid Rising Concerns Over Online Ransom

Monero's price broke its two-year high Tuesday amid rising concerns over cyber ransom.

Dec 15, 2020 at 7:42 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 10:43 a.m. UTC

Prices for privacy-focused cryptocurrency monero broke its two-year high on Tuesday. It has been rallying since March’s crypto market sell-off.

Monero (XMR) prices, Dec. 15, 2019 to Dec. 15, 2020.

  • The price of monero rose to as high as $157.64 early Tuesday, the highest level since June 2018, according to data compiled on the CoinDesk 20.
  • At the time of writing, monero traded at $152.09, nearly 300% up on a year-to-date basis.
  • Monero has been rallying for the most of 2020 despite regulatory concerns.
  • Launched in April 2014, monero was designed as a private, secure and untraceable cryptocurrency.
  • The protocol behind the cryptocurrency allows users to obfuscate their identities and hide the amounts transferred from third parties, except for those they designate.
  • Analysts said the increased demand for the privacy-focused token could be due to corporates’ growing worries about needing monero to pay ransom to hackers.
  • “While some corporates may have stepped up buying of bitcoin to increase their ability to achieve portfolio diversification ambitions, other corporates have equally stepped up efforts to procure digital assets such as monero, given its prevalent choice of payment by hackers,” Denis Vinokourov, head of research at the London-based prime Brokerage Bequant told CoinDesk in an email response.
  • Although no monero-based ransom was demanded during the hack at the U.S. Treasury and Commerce departments or the Google outage on Monday, these events have made more companies worry about similar hacks, according to Vinokourov.
  • The recent hacks "show the ever-growing sophistication of bad actors,” he said.
  • Globally, crypto exchanges have been delisting many privacy coins, monero included, in order to remain compliant with know your customer/anti-money laundering (AML/KYC) requirements.
  • But Justin Ehrenhofer, compliance analyst at crypto market maker DV chain, told CoinDesk that monero traders may also have become more “optimistic” the continuing growths of monero will “reopen conversations at exchanges” on how they could list privacy-focused coins again.
  • Blockchain analytics firm CipherTrace recently filed two patent applications for technologies it claims will assist regulators in tracking transactions made with monero.

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