The privacy coin Monero (XMR) just saw the release of a web wallet for the Tor browser. Although web wallets already exist for Monero using other browsers, they have not been compatible with the privacy-focused Tor browser for security reasons, making this new release of a privacy coin wallet for a privacy browser, a first
Cryptocurrencies have a short but politically loaded history. Among the early adopters of the concept of digital cash were darknet markets, who saw an opportunity to transfer money quickly over the Internet without linking back to personally identifying information like bank accounts.
Even among the now majority of law-abiding crypto enthusiasts, many believe that a large part of the charm of crypto is the freedom from government supervision and interference (and taxation) space has enjoyed in many parts of the world so far.
Do Governments like Taxes?
As the market cap of crypto has ballooned up, so political and regulatory attention has increased. Bitcoin, the first of cryptocurrencies, was also the first used for darknet transactions, as well as for many other trades and payments made over the Internet. As all transactions are permanently stored on the blockchain, however, growing interest from regulators has made it an increasingly poor choice for users who wish to remain anonymous.
Although Bitcoin is once more back to over 50 percent of the total crypto market cap, it is increasingly being used lawfully, and without the expectation that users will be able to escape taxes (Which, you know, is a crime). As for illegal traders, they are moving on to more privacy-focused coins, the most popular of which is Monero, at the moment the 10th largest project in crypto.
To be fair to fans of Monero and other privacy coins, there are excellent reasons to want to use privacy coins. If you buy coffee with Bitcoin at your local coffee shop, the workers there could if they wanted to check how much money is in your wallet, and who else you have done business with in the past. Live in a dictatorship?
The state would not find it easy to track all cash transactions, but they sure can trawl through blockchains to see who has ever done business with political dissidents and other undesirables.
And of course, even in democratic countries, many feel that just like the NSA should not be able to read your mail and snoop on pictures you and your partner exchange, nor should the government be able to trace all your transactions when you are not suspected of a crime.
Monero & Tor
Privacy is only as strong as the weakest link in the chain, however. Although there are web wallets that make it easy to access your Monero from Firefox or Chrome, there has been no such web wallet that works with Tor, the privacy browser of choice.
The strict privacy focus of Tor makes it hard to implement a web wallet using it. However, one such web wallet was recently released on XMRwallet.com, nudging the privacy arms race back in favor of privacy.
Although the wallet is open source, the release is still new and has yet to be thoroughly scrutinized by the Monero community, and many users appear to be sitting back and waiting to see if the wallet is legitimate. If not, it wouldn’t be the first time hackers tried to steal your Monero.
Disclaimer: blockchainreporter and the author of this article do not advocate using Monero or any other privacy coin to avoid taxes or circumvent other restrictions on trade that apply in your country. The release of a first web wallet for a privacy coin for a privacy browser is a newsworthy development in the crypto community, but we cannot guarantee that the wallet is not a scam or insecure, nor do we encourage you to make any purchases with Monero you would not be willing to make with a credit card.