The darknet has had an undeniable impact on the growth of cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin saw most of its first use cases thanks to the darknet. Unfortunately, this also means Bitcoin and some other cryptocurrencies will always be associated with criminal activity, especially over the internet. Monero falls victim to the same stereotypes, even though it makes more sense to use that currency on the darknet compared to Bitcoin. Then again, Monero is so much more than a tool for cybercriminals.
Monero Is More Than a Darknet Currency
Every type of money that provides either privacy, anonymity, or both will always be associated with criminal activity. Fiat cash is perhaps one of the more obvious examples of this. Every relevant TV show, movie, or book mentions how criminals will only accept cash as it leaves no trace. Using bills and coins is quite cumbersome when moving them in large quantities, though. Bags filled with money will always attract the attention of law enforcement officials, for obvious reasons. After all, no one needs piles of cash for legitimate reasons, in the public’s opinion.
Monero is one of those currencies which provide both privacy and anonymity in the world of cryptocurrency. While it is certainly true both traits make it a perfect tool for the darknet, the currency has a lot of other benefits as well. Monero has been somewhat of a success on the darknet. Unfortunately, the two largest marketplaces dealing with XMR payments were shut down not too long ago. It is unclear how many other platforms have integrated – or will integrate – Monero payments in the near future.
Considering the fact that one cannot trace Monero payments like one would with Bitcoin, its appeal is somewhat different than Bitcoin’s or Ethereum’s. ZCash is also a big contender in this regard, although its developers use a vastly different approach than Monero’s. Competition in this regard is never a bad thing, as different solutions can effectively achieve the same goal. However, Zcash seemingly has less of an association with online crime, as it is not as widespread as Monero.
Being able to transact privately is not just a tool for people who want to hide illegal activity. Monero has some other traits which make it appealing to criminals. However, the number of legal use cases should not be overlooked either. The protocol is perfectly suited for corporations looking to move money around without their competitors knowing. Remittances can also benefit from XMR if they were ever to embrace it. It remains to be seen if that will ever be the case, though.
Law enforcement officials may not take kindly to Monero. It is impossible to say who uses Monero and which amounts they transmit. Regions where government oppression is a big problem will certainly benefit from Monero as well, as those transactions are obfuscated in every possible way. One cannot freeze someone else’s XMR funds unless it is stored in an exchange wallet. Payments with Bitcoin can be analyzed in real time, which is a big problem for people who value privacy.
Additionally, Monero has partnered with the Software Freedom Law Center for legal advice. There is also the Monero Research lab comprised of dozens of researchers working on technology and research. The currency has a lot of advantages Bitcoin will not necessarily have anytime soon. In terms of scalability, XMR is well ahead of the competition by the looks of things. Monero will even have its own version of the Lightning Network, which will certainly heat up the competition with Bitcoin and Litecoin.