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Blockchain Forensics – US Govt. Wants To Crack Monero & Zcash

12/22/2018

DOHS Seeking Blockchain Forensics Specialists

Regulators in the US have been increasing spending on blockchain forensics, seeking to crack down on those using the technology for illicit activity. Siting the success they have had with forensic analysis of the bitcoin blockchain, the Department of Homeland Security has now set its sights on privacy tokens. In their most recent request for proposal the agency is seeking hackers who can:

"Design a blockchain analysis ecosystem or modify an existing one, that enables forensic analysis for homeland security and law enforcement applications for cryptocurrencies, such as Zcash and Monero."
-FY 19 SBIR Pre-Solicitation Topics Page 21

Privacy Protocol in the Press

Recently Cryptosomniac has been able to connect with several privacy projects to get their take on the request for proposal, and whether they thought the privacy protocols are in jeopardy. The Monero Community took the stance that privacy is an arms race in a recent interview with getmonero.org website UX designer Diego Salazar. Believing Monero's Ring Signatures, RingCT, and Stealth Addresses provide enough anonymity that continued development will help it stay ahead of the curve. 

Privacy By Design

The fact there is no way to accidentally broadcast a transaction without privacy features enabled is another factor contributing to the community's confidence. The use of blockchain forensics on the XMR blockchain is severely limited by the fact that the technology conceals not only the identity of the sender and recipient, but also the amount being sent.

Private Alternatives

While Monero focuses on being a currency, other projects seek to offer features to protect user privacy in a variety of ways beyond just transacting. With the release of their Sphere wallet Horizen has taken the first step to encouraging adoption of their ecosystem by giving users a clean interface containing data on the network, news updates, as well as a wallet. Future updates look to add more currencies, as well as the ability to run a full node, or select a lite client. 

Horizen is a fork of the ZCash technology, so Cryptosomniac reached out to co-founder Rolf Versluis to get his take on the proposal and the security of the Horizen technology, as well as discuss the Horizen ecosystem, governance method, and road map. See the full interview above, and read our Technical Analysis of how the recent news has affected the price action in the market, and price predictions. 

Blockchain Forensics

It is often stated "Buy the Rumor, Sell the News" when trading in the cryptocurrency space. It is important when choosing where to invest one's hard earned money to ensure the team is allocating resources wisely, but that they also stay in touch with their community to prevent confidence ebbs. Traditional financial markets are not as widely swayed by news cycles, but the DLT space continues to feel disproportionate influence from FUD and media attention. As the extended bear market weathers further into crypto winter, project who are still moving forward and developing technology despite their token value decreasing should be applauded. 


Disclaimer

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