We all knew this day was coming and quite frankly it’s a rather dark day for our right to freedom of choice and discretion. Uncle Sam doesn’t like not knowing what American citizens are spending their money on, while he certainly doesn’t want anyone skipping out on paying their taxes. To this extent, the US government is working on a system that will enable it to decrypt even the most privacy-focused cryptocurrencies in a bid to trace all transactions.
ZCash and Monero in the Line of Fire
According to a report by the US Department of Homeland Security’s Small Business Innovation Research Program (SBIR), it’s actively working on deanonymizing privacy-centric blockchain payments on networks like ZCash and Monero. It wants the ability to forensically analyze all blockchain transactions in what it claims to be for identifying and uncovering crimes that involve the use of digital currencies. However, given the US government’s propensity for surveillance of its citizens, we get the feeling that it’s not just criminal transactions it will be snooping on.
The DEA Already Tracks All Other Transactions
Earlier this year the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) came out and said that it loves when criminals use Bitcoin and other cryptos for illegal transactions, as it can already track these payments. Presumably that just tracking the more public blockchain payment networks isn’t enough for the US. If this new system was for the greater good – such as keeping the world safer – then we wouldn’t mind it at all, but we get the feeling it’s not going to be used so honestly.
Crypto Crime Ramping up in America
Crimes involving cryptocurrencies are on the rise, whether it be theft of cryptos or paying for items used in heists. The US Government simply wants the ability to trace these funds back to the financiers of the operation and cut the head off the snake. In fact, the FBI is currently investigating more than 130 cases involving cryptocurrencies. If it can then track all privacy-centric cryptocurrencies then these cases could be resolved more quickly.
Snooping Coming Early 2019
While the document doesn’t request proposals from businesses, it does ask firms to ask questions about the proposal. The solicitation period ends December 18th 2019, meaning we could see firms offering up a working solution to the US government by the end of Q1 2019. If a working proposal is accepted and utilized by the government, then privacy-centric cryptos could take a huge hit in value, as they would no longer have a purpose.
Despite the fact many people choose to use Monero and ZCash for a little extra privacy – such as when paying for their PornHub subscription – the US government still wants to snoop around in your finances. Many transactions with privacy-centric are honest and legitimate, but all it takes is one illegal transaction to force the government to tarnish the entire network with the same brush. It’s still yet to be seen whether or not someone can crack the code and expose the transactions – there is still hope.