Major privacy-focused cryptocurrencies jumped on Monday, with monero (XMR), the biggest of the lot, extending its impressive recent run to two-year highs. The move came after a group of countries jointly called for “back doors” into encryption software. That backdoor access potentially diminishes the privacy-safeguarding utility of such software and is driving increased interest in the privacy coins.

  • Monero traded at $135 during early U.S. hours, the highest level since September 2018, according to CoinDesk 20.
  • The 15th largest cryptocurrency by market value has gained 23% this month alone and is up nearly 80% from lows below $75 observed in early September.
  • On a 24-hour basis, monero is currently up 7.6%, while bitcoin (BTC), the number one cryptocurrency, is up 0.75%.
  • Zcash (ZEC), also a privacy coin, is changing hands near $75 at press time, representing a 6.7% gain on the day.
  • Other cryptocurrencies with anonymity features such as zcoin, horizen and harmony are also flashing green, according to data source Messari.
  • These coins are gaining ground in the wake of a demand by the countries of the Five Eyes Alliance plus India and Japan for access to encrypted apps.
  • On Sunday, officials from the alliance – the U.S., U.K., Australia, Canada and New Zealand – signed, with India and Japan, a joint statement supporting strong encryption but with backdoor access that would help lawmakers protect vulnerable sections of society.
  • The statement escalates an ongoing battle between those favoring stronger encryption and companies building security protocols into their apps.
  • Lawmakers worldwide may eventually target privacy coins because they facilitate the hiding of user identity via encryption.
  • Recently, the U.S. Internal Revenue Service hired the blockchain intelligence firm Chainalysis and data forensics company Integra Fec to develop transaction tracing tools for XMR.

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